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Circular 2006/4 - APS staff selection exercises - Use of external providers

This circular provides additional advice to agencies in respect of staff selection exercises. Regardless of whether the process is conducted within the agency or with the assistance of a recruitment company, agencies need to ensure that staff selection exercises are conducted in a way that complies with the legislative requirements.

2. Recruitment companies can add value to a selection exercise, including in specialist areas or in assessing people with a disability (there are companies that specialise in this field). As well as bringing expertise to the process, the use of recruitment companies can reduce the workload on line managers who would otherwise undertake the work.

3. Where an agency chooses to use the services of a recruitment company it is important that the agency ensures that the company is aware of, and complies with, both the legislative framework and any agency-specific policies, procedures or guidelines throughout the selection process. In particular, any process designed and utilised by a recruitment company should satisfy the specific requirements of section 10(2) of the Act (assessment of merit) and the associated Public Service Commissioner’s Direction (Direction 2.3).

4. Agencies should also ensure that any arrangements agreed with a recruitment company allow for adequate feedback to applicants and for the possible future use of the information gathered during the process, if such a need were to arise (e.g. a requirement to move further down the order of merit or to contact applicants for further information).

5. Where the services of a company result in a recommendation to an agency, the delegate must be satisfied that the process and recommendation are appropriate and supported by documentation, before exercising his or her power to engage or promote an employee. As with all selection recommendations, the delegate is not bound to follow the recommendation. However, if the delegate does not accept the recommendation of a recruitment company or an APS selection committee he or she would need to document the reasons for that decision and refer to any supporting material.

6. Details of the legislative requirements that must be met in order to properly conduct an APS staff selection exercise may be found in the Australian Public Service Commission publication Ongoing employment – Recruitment and related issues.

7. Further information on the matters raised in this circular is available from the APS Commission’s Employment Policy Advice page. It may be appropriate for more complex or sensitive queries to be dealt with in writing.

Georgia Tarjan

Group Manager

Policy Group

31 August 2006

Last reviewed: 
29 March 2018