A NSW Government website
Public Service Commission

Attracting and encouraging applications

An effective attraction approach is one that encourages all suitable candidates to apply.

Advertising requirements depend on the kind of employment being offered:

•    GSE Rule 20 sets out the advertising requirements for ongoing employment,
•    GSE Rule 21 and GSE Rule 22 for temporary and term employment

NSW Public Service agencies must advertise on the I work for NSW public website to meet the legal requirement for external advertising.


Attracting interest from job seekers requires you to shift your thinking from what you want from candidates (i.e. requirements of the role) to what you have to offer prospective candidates.

Use the role analysis and role description as key reference tools but also think more broadly to:

  • identify your target audience
  • write an effective job ad
  • opportunities for attracting the widest pool of candidates using various channels
  • what you can offer the candidate.

A key principle in designing your attraction approach is to encourage all suitable candidates to apply. This means thinking about the content and language you use in the job advertisement so you do not inadvertently discourage people who could perform the role from applying.

Identifying the target audience

The key principle here is quality over quantity – you want to attract people that are interested in the role and likely to be suited to the role requirements (including with a workplace adjustment). You need to think about what appeals to your target audience and effective communication channels to attract them to apply.

If you have essential requirements in your role description these will help you to identify the distinctive features of the role that can be used to attract suitable candidates. Here are some examples:


Essential requirement Type of role Target group
Aboriginality as a job requirement Aboriginal identified role Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
Completion of a law degree and admission or eligibility for admission as a legal practitioner in NSW Legal Officer role Qualified solicitors
Completed undergraduate degree or postgraduate degree in the last two years Policy Graduate Recent university graduates
Experience in providing high level executive support and administrative services Executive Assistant to CEO People with experience in providing administrative or secretarial services at executive level


Think about how you can attract candidates from diverse backgrounds who could bring different skills, experiences and perspectives. Consider your agencies’ goals, values, vision and culture and how these could help to attract the right candidates. Also think about highlighting opportunities for flexible working to make the opportunity attractive to a broader range of candidates.

Once you have identified your target audience you can work on advertising and marketing to encourage these candidates to apply.

Designing the job ad

An effective job advertisement (‘job ad’) is one that accurately represents the job opportunity. It should be clear and concise and written in plain English using inclusive and non-discriminatory language. See: How to write job ads

There is a clear distinction between the role description and the job ad. The role description has important information about role requirements and the outcomes to be achieved. The job ad is about why suitable candidates should apply for the role. The job ad needs to emphasise:

•    key features of the role
•    organisational context
•    benefits of employment
•    any essential requirements.

The job ad is also an opportunity to inform candidates the application and assessment processes. Letting candidates know if you will be applying the minimum standard of assessing focus capabilities, knowledge and experience or will also be assessing complementary capabilities will help candidates tailor their application and prepare for assessment tasks.

Advertising the role

You must advertise on the I work for NSW public website for any employment decision requiring external advertising.

I work for NSW also has a separate website for agencies to advertise an expression of interest to meet the requirement for advertising across the Public Service. You can also use your agency’s intranet to notify internal candidates of a vacancy, in addition to meeting the advertising requirement.

For roles with strong supply or roles that are common across the sector, advertising on I work for NSW may be sufficient to attract a suitable pool of candidates.

You can also use other jobs boards in addition to I work for NSW. Refer to the Media Agency Services Contract and government advertising policy for information about suppliers for recruitment advertising.

Proactive approaches

For specialised roles requiring specialised technical or professional knowledge, hard to fill roles such as professions where there are skills shortages, or critical roles you may want to consider using other approaches alongside I work for NSW. This may include proactively inviting applications from potentially qualified candidates that you find through online professional networks, online career boards and social networks.

Candidates should be given the opportunity to contact the hiring manager (or contact person listed in the job ad) to discuss an advertised role and get a sense of their likely fit. This conversation can help candidates decide whether to invest their time in applying for the role or decide to self-select out at this point. An effective hiring manager (or contact person) is open to being approached by candidates because it can result in a more suitable candidate pool from the outset, and leaves a positive impression of your organisation on job seekers who may apply for other opportunities with your organisation in the future.