Original on Transparent

You’ve seen the government job advertisement.

You’re interested in it.

You’ve downloaded the role description.

You read the selection criteria and are confident you can meet it.

So…what’s next?

Coffee of course.

Why Coffee?

Coffee - Criterial




For hiring managers/recruiters, the whole process is distinctly impersonal. You read all about 40 or 50 people; meet a few of them at interview but otherwise its all on paper. Meeting an actual flesh and blood, living human being in a recruiting process for a government job is actually somewhat refreshing. So start with a coffee, or at least a chat.

Make contact with the contact person and say g’day. I discuss this in detail in the selection criteria course here. It’s an opportunity to make a first impression before the process even starts.

Hopefully that’s a inkling into why you do it. It’s a head start. Everyone else will put their pieces of paper in when the job closes and a few days later. You however have already met them and had a chance to pitch yourself.

I’m Currently Applying for a Job


The Preparation

Aside some relief in other roles, I have been in the same government job for the last 11 years. The role has changed about five times but I haven’t had to do an application or an interview. It has prompted this blog.

The first thing I did, days out from the applications closing I called the contact person and said g’day. In truth, I Skype stalked them but they were busy so I dropped a quick email that literally said

Morning Brydie. I’ve had you tagged for status change alerts on Skype to call you to see if you’re available to chat about the EOI in message centre currently, but, haven’t had a notification so thought I’d drop a quick email in case you’re busy all day. If you have 10 or 15 minutes today before 3’ish, or, on Monday to chat about the role I’d like to ask a few questions and pick your brains if that’s ok?”


The conversation

Fast forwarding to when we chatted… I introduced myself, my background in a few highlights that were relevant to the role (call it an elevator pitch). I then said I had an interest in the role and wanted to ask some questions.

If you’ve done my online courses you’ll know I focus on being prepared and finding out about the context of the role and what the challenges are. So I started with that as an open question. What I found out was that the program for the next 12 months was pretty well set, That was pretty much expected.

I also found out there were things they were interested in exploring more, around data analytics for reporting and auditing. Bingo. That was part of my elevator pitch as to what my skills were. That wasn’t entirely by chance mind you, it was an educated guess. It’s 2021, data is a thing, auditing using data and conducting quality/compliance assurance processes should be a thing. Having experience internally in the department I knew it wasn’t a thing we do well. So I had positioned myself with a point of difference, which I’ll discuss in my next blog.

With some Skype stalking and a 10-minute phone conversation, I identified, positioned and connected myself to solving the challenges of the role. All before anyone has even applied!

Okay, so it wasn’t a cup of coffee because they were busy, but, had it been over a cup of coffee I would have done exactly the same.

Is it a guaranteed formula for success to apply for a government job?

Of course it’s not.

I was taking a risk by positioning myself, I may have been exactly the person they didn’t want . That’s okay. Why? Because if my skills and interests and goals aren’t what they want, then that’s probably not the job for me!  Guess what that does? Saves me the time writing an application and interviewing for a job I potentially won’t like or stay in long!

This blog may not fit your personal circumstances

If you’re in the position that you need A JOB, any job at all, then devoting the time and effort to understand every single position you’re applying for, and contacting or meeting the contact person may not be possible or practicable.

Don’t dispense with the advice completely though. If there are roles you are particularly interested in and you would like to be particularly competitive then definitely consider at least making contact.



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