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Australian National Audit Office (ANAO)

  • 100 - 500 employees

Insider tips on getting a graduate job at the ANAO

Craig Shepherd

When it comes to the Australian Public Service, the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) is one of the most sought after employers.

Reporting to Federal Parliament and located within the Prime Minister and Cabinet portfolio, the ANAO offers graduates an exciting and varied start to their career and a broad understanding of how government works. If you’re looking to be hired as an intern or graduate at the ANAO, here’s everything you need to know.

Advice for graduates

Know why you want to work with the ANAO

One of the first things you should do when considering an internship or graduate position with the ANAO is find out exactly what the agency does, and work out why you want to work for them. Importantly, their graduate program runs for 12 months and you need to be based in Canberra. It’s an intensive 12 months of learning and development, so it’s essential that you’re really interested in the work.

‘Know what you're after. Know what the Audit Office does. The work is unique, so just be prepared to think outside a standard career format.’

– Graduate, Canberra

According to the ANAO, their role in the public service can be summed up as ‘to drive accountability and transparency in the Australian Government sector through quality evidence-based audit services and independent reporting to Parliament, the Executive and the public, with the result of improving public sector performance.’ Their work shines a light on aspects of public administration for the benefit of all Australians. 

The work is incredibly varied, and it gives you the opportunity to see behind the scenes of government programs and initiatives. Because their roles are so varied, the ANAO will consider hiring graduates and interns from a range of different degrees such as sciences; teaching, education & human welfare; engineering, maths, IT & computer sciences; finance, accounting, economics & business administration; health & medical sciences; humanities, arts & social sciences; law & legal studies; property & built environment.

So, if the ANAO sounds like a great opportunity for you, we recommend thoroughly researching what they do and what types of qualities you could add. As one graduate in Canberra said, ‘Look in detail at some of the work produced by the organisation, familiarise yourself with the 'Capabilities Framework' and consider how the work and required skills align with your own skill sets, personalities and experiences.’

You can find out more about what the ANAO does by checking out their website here

Know what to expect from the recruitment process

When it comes to the selection process, the ANAO’s own website says it best: ‘Prepare carefully for your interview. Questions will be based on the six core ANAO capabilities relevant to the position you are applying for. Be prepared to tell us how your skills, knowledge and experience will help you meet the challenges of the job. We will advise you in advance if there is any preparation required or tests to be undertaken at the interview.’

Preparation is always the key, however, you should first understand what to expect from the recruitment process. The ANAO’s graduate recruitment process follows three main steps:

Firstly, you’re required to submit an online application. If shortlisted, you’re then invited to participate in a ‘one-way video interview’, where you provide recorded video responses to pre-recorded video questions. If you’re successful here, you’ll be invited to attend an assessment centre. The ANAO’s assessment centres are considered some of the best in the APS, with a heavy focus on personal qualities and teamwork more than technical skills. You should be prepared to demonstrate your unique personality and your approach to problem-solving, both in groups and independently.

‘Out of all the assessments I went through while looking for Grad programs, the ANAO offered the most comprehensive and detailed assessment I had been through. The other thing I liked was the personal touch. Everyone from the organisation participated. Nothing outsourced. All kept in-house. Big ticks for me!’

– Graduate, Canberra

At the ANAO, values are important

The work you’ll be doing at the ANAO is incredibly important for both the government and the public. As such, you’ll need to be able to show that you hold the right kinds of values. 

‘Read up on the values of the organisation. The values are the metric by which candidates are measured.’

– Graduate, Canberra

Employment with all public service entities requires adherence to a Code of Conduct and the APS Values, which covers behaviour and how you perform your job. The ANAO is no different, and they pride themselves on upholding the values expected by the public. In addition to the APS values, the ANAO places particular focus on its organisational values of respect, integrity and excellence — values that reflect its unique work and its focus on objectivity and impartiality.

Social inclusion, diversity and equity are other key values expected, and the ANAO even has a network of Diversity Contact Officers who help to grow a culture of respect, fairness and inclusion. By showing that you share these values, you’re giving yourself a great chance to gain a position.

Show your flexibility

Work at the ANAO is more diverse than your average public sector role. Rather than working at one public sector entity, you’re actually getting exposure to a range of agencies and programs. With this comes a need to be flexible and adaptable to new situations. 

When asked what type of person succeeds in a career with the ANAO, Data Analyst Dung Chu said, ‘A person who is open to change and is receptive to new ideas. The way Commonwealth entities operate is always changing, so as auditors we need to be open-minded in order to be responsive. The ideal candidate should have a willingness to learn new things, with a touch of creativity as to the potential applications of this learning.’

Likewise, ANAO Auditor Cherie Atchison, advises, A person best succeeds in this type of role when they are comfortable with adapting quickly to change, as your work location is always changing and you are often working on multiple audits of different departments.’

A graduate program with the ANAO teaches you how to provide advice and report on the financial functions of numerous government departments, agencies and programs. To do this, you need to be comfortable embracing new environments and learning what they do. So, if you’re the kind of person who learns quickly, is resilient and adaptable, these are the qualities you should be highlighting at your assessment centre.

Find more information about ANAO’s graduate program

We hope this information puts you on your way to being hired for the ANAO’s graduate program. For more in-depth information, and to read some reviews and stories from actual graduates, check out the ANAO’s employer profile right here at GradAustralia. You’ll also find plenty of useful information about the ANAO’s work on their website. If you’re keen to work for a public service employer that’ll give you a bit of a career edge, keep an eye out for opportunities on our jobs page, keep an eye out for your next opportunity!