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Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C)

  • #7 in Government & public services
  • 1,000 - 50,000 employees

Application Process & Interviews at Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C)

8.2 rating for Recruitment, based on 15 reviews
Please describe the interview process and assessments.
This has changed since my time- The interview process for myself started with an aptitude test, composing a few elements. Following this, we flew up to Canberra, where three "sessions" were held with about 20 other applicants. The sessions were a 'speed dating' format, whereby you had 5 minutes to answer a question and discuss it with two people - not your standard questions either. Then there was a team session, where five people were asked to discuss a policy issue and present to a panel. Finally, there was a "networking" event, where the grads, interviewers and previous grads mingled and you could ask questions and form connections.
1. Application - resume, cv and cover letter. 2. Testing - usual 3 tests 3. Assessment centre - written assessment, group assessment and interview. 4. merit listed and then given offer. Process for grad program took about 5/6 months.
The interview process involved a resume and written answers to questions, online tests and then a half-day assessment centre. The assessment centre focussed on interviews and a group task.
No surprises and a lot of support.
There was an online assessment, selection criteria, and an assessment centre that included an interview and group work.
Initially we submitted a resume and did online cognitive testing. Based on this result you would be invited to respond to 3 questions/scenarios in a one-page pitch format (3 pages total). Following this, there was an assessment centre day held in Canberra which required a session of "speed interviews" (like speed-dating but interview type questions) as well as a group activity of developing and presenting a policy idea to a panel, then finally a social networking event.
There was some online assessments then we were invited in person to a day of interviews. There was a group task we worked on (and which was observed by a panel) and then we did a round of 'speed interviews' where we would answer some questions at one table and then rotate to another.
Security vetting takes a long time.
The interview process is fairly intense and exhaustive; security and vetting requirements are kind of invasive
It is a whole day process. There were couple of interviews, knowledge and personality check.
cognitive test, speed-dating interviews, group exercise
The Graduate recruitment process is pretty arduous. You start with a written application which includes your resume and answering some written questions. The next stage was a 'psychometric test' which is supposed to challenge your critical/lateral thinking. The last stage was an assessment center which involved a group activity, personal interviews and a networking segment.
The interview process was very thorough and assessed colleagues across a range of required skills and attributes. During the assessment process I gained a good understanding of the Department's main areas of work and its culture, which was highly informative and influential in me choosing to accept this offer.
What questions were you asked in your interviews?
Questions included: 1. How useful degree would be to the Department 2. teamwork 3. Communication 4. Conflict resolution
Many questions focussed on our attitudes to diversity, our general skills and our ability to adapt.
Questions about our views on diversity in the workplace, our experiences with overcoming adversity, working under pressure, why we want to work at the Department.
How does multiculturalism function in Australia? What's the most rewarding risk you've ever taken and why? How will your Indonesian exchange experience prepare you for a career in PM&C?
About myself, qualification, skills, interests, future goals.
Name a time you've demonstrated leadership, disagreed with someone in authority, etc. Tell me about a policy problem and how you'd solve it. a Diversity & inclusion question.
There were 7 stations with a separate main question at each station with some follow up questions. Questions were mainly behavioral (teamwork, risk taking etc) with a question on why I wanted to work in government/PM&C.
A large number of behavioural questions were asked, as well as questions which asked candidates to reflect on previous working situations where they displayed relevant skills.
Do you have any specific tips and advice for candidates applying to your company? How would you recommend they best prepare?
1. Read the corporate plan and try to get an overview of the big policy priorities facing the department. 2. Be really clear in your mind why you want the job and how this aligns with the department's culture. 3. Read up on what the Secretary has said recently. 4. be aware of the role of the Department in government. 5. Be really willing to engage positively and openly - good relationships are the core of the Department's business. 6. Teamwork, like everywhere, is highly valued. Be positive, polite and respectful in your interactions.
1. Prepare three questions on the following a. Networks - employee networks (CALD, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, LGBTIQA+, Disability). b. Opportunities for networking, mentoring and career development. c. a question on the kind of work that one part of the company does (i.e. ATO and reviews of objections or PM&C and Indigenous Affairs)
I recommend preparing by becoming familiar with PM&C's role in the APS, given that as a central agency, it does different work to many other Departments.
Be yourself - don't over prepare. Just give honest and realistic answers.
Soft skills have proven much more important in both the interview process, and once starting the job. While it is beneficial to have a good CV, and high grades, being able to work in a team, be social, be responsive, and have a good attitude have proven much more vital to high performance.
Carefully read the selection criteria posted by the Department. Have a few examples from your other work, studies or elsewhere that demonstrate you showing these qualities. Use the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to explain your experiences. Be confident and ensure that in any group activity you demonstrate cooperative skills by not just trying to outdo everyone else, but by welcoming others' views and encouraging input from each person in your team.
See the whole process as a learning experience. I had the mindset that even if I didn't get in the whole process would be valuable experience to prepare for another attempt. So I wasn't overly stressed which made it easier to interact with people.
Be confident in your current ability.
Read up on Indigenous Affairs policies and key government initiatives
Talk to PM&C people. Understand the nuanced role that PM&C plays. Prepare for (mostly) predictable interview questions.
Start by reading PM&C's website as well as any relevant media about what the Department is doing. Try to stay abreast of the most topical policy issues of the time by keeping up to date with the news and perhaps reading the Mandarin. I would also have a clear answer of why you want to work in Government and particularly in PM&C.
I would recommend that candidates research the main areas of focus of the Department, as well as its mission statement and culture.