On this page
- Advertising across the public service
- Assessment centre
- Assessment requirements
- Behavioural indicators
- Capability-based assessment
- Casual employment
- Comparison group
- Comparative assessment
- Complementary capabilities
- Conditions of engagement
- Core capabilites
- Critical roles
- Descriptive rating scale
- Disqualification question
- Essential requirements
- External advertising
- Fit-for-purpose assessment
- Fitness to perform the duties of the role
- Flexible working
- Focus capabilities
- Government sector
- Gross negative disqualifier
- GSE legislative framework
- Identified role
- Inherent requirements
- I work for NSW
- Job advertisement / ad
- Job evaluation
- Key accountabilities
- Kinds of employment
- Knowledge and experience
- Merit principles
- Mobility of non-executives
- Mobility of senior executives
- National police check
- Non-executive employment
- Occupation-specific capabilities
- Ongoing employment
- Pre-established standards
- Public sector
- Public service
- Reasonable adjustment
- Recruitment pool
- Role description
- Score (for assessments)
- Senior executive employment
- Suitability assessment
- Talent acquisition scheme
- Talent pool
- Targeted question
- Targeted role
- Temporary employment
- Term employment
- Validation study
- Workplace adjustment
Assessment requirements for recruitment are set out in the GSE Rules. These include:
- comparative assessment (rule 17); and
- suitability assessment (rule 18).
An assessor is someone involved in the recruitment process in the capacity of evaluating candidates against the pre-established standards for the role. Assessors are sometimes referred to as ‘panel members’, indicating their involvement as part of a team of assessors or assessment panel.
Behavioural indicators describe the type of behaviours expected at each capability level and illustrate effective performance. The behavioural indicators in the NSW Public Sector Capability Framework are indicative behaviours; they are not an exhaustive list, nor is every indicator necessarily relevant to every role.
Transferable knowledge (theoretical or practical understanding of a subject), skills (proficiencies developed through training, experience or practice) and abilities (qualities of being able to do something) for a role as set out in the NSW Public Sector Capability Framework and any other relevant capability sets.
GSE rule 3 describes a capability-based assessment as the process that assesses a person’s capabilities at the appropriate level against those required for a role. A capability-based assessment does not include the pre-screening parts of the recruitment process, such as targeted questions or screening for essential requirements, nor does it include referee checks.
A comparison group or ‘norm’ group or is a reference group for comparing psychometric test performance. The comparison group consists of large representative samples of individuals from specific groups. Some comparison groups are quite general, such as adult Australians or university graduates. Others relate to specific groups, such as sector (e.g. Public Service), industry (e.g. engineers, science and technology), role level, role type (e.g. manager and professional).
The comparison group should be specific to the role.
GSE rule 17 defines the minimum requirements for a comparative assessment, which must include:
- screening for essential requirements;
- reviewing and application and resume;
- at least 3 capability-based assessments, one of which is an interview; and
- referee checks.
A comparative assessment is the standard requirement for ongoing, temporary or term employment over twelve months. A key feature of a comparative assessment is that it assesses an individual against the pre-established standards for the role and against any other claimants for the role.
The GSE Rules set the minimum requirements for the number of assessments and assessors but agencies can choose to use additional assessments or assessors.
Complementary capabilities are identified from the NSW Public Service Capability Framework and relevant occupation-specific capability sets. They are important to performing the role. They contribute to employee performance and career development.
Conditions of engagement
The GSE Act establishes that the engagement of a senior executive or a non-executive may be subject to conditions of engagement.
In the GSE Rules, Part 2 General Public Service employment provisions sets out these conditions, including: probation, citizenship or residency requirements, formal qualifications, security and other clearances and health clearances.
Core capabilities are the 20 capabilities in the NSW Public Service Capability Framework in the Personal Attributes, Relationships, Results, Business Enablers and People Management groups. The capabilities in the People Management group are only for roles with manager responsibilities.
Critical roles are those that have a significant impact on achieving the organisation’s strategic directions and priorities.
Descriptive rating scale
A descriptive rating scale for assessing capabilities uses definitions to explain each rating level. Having good descriptions for each rating level enables assessors to evaluate performance consistently.
See: Gross negative disqualifier
In the context of assessment for recruitment and selection, fit-for-purpose indicates that an assessment method is well suited to what is being assessed (i.e. the capabilities at the level required for the role) as well as the context of the role (i.e. functional or subject matter area).
Fitness to perform the duties of the role
Fitness to perform the duties of the role, in relation to health assessments under GSE rule 9, includes the ability to carry out the role without endangering the health and safety of the public, other persons employed in the Public Service agency or the person concerned. It can also include a person’s ability to carry out the inherent requirements of a role.
Flexible working means re-thinking the way we plan and arrange work – when it takes place, where it takes place and how we arrange it.
A note on agile/activity-based working: agile work in the government context generally means activity-based working (or hot-desking) and refers to the physical workplace environment. While some concepts may overlap e.g. remote working – agile work is not the same as flexible working.
Defined in GSE rule 3, focus capabilities for a role means the capabilities, of those required for the role, decided by the employer as being the most important for the effective performance of the role.
Gross negative disqualifier
A gross negative disqualifier (or disqualification question) is a screening tool that allows candidates to self-determine their eligibility for the role against an essential requirement (e.g. the right to work in Australia). Ineligible candidates are screened out immediately, preventing them from unnecessarily completing the full application process.
GSE legislative framework
The GSE legislative framework includes:
- Government Sector Employment Act 2013
- Government Sector Employment Regulation 2014
- Government Sector Employment (General) Rules 2014
- Government Sector Employment (Health Service Senior Executives) Rules 2016
- Government Sector Employment (NSW Police Force) Rules 2017
- Government Sector Employment (Transport Service Senior Executives) Rules 2017
- Government Sector Employment (Senior Executive Bands) Determination 2014
An identified role is a role where being a member of a particular group is a genuine occupational qualification as specified in the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977. For example, an Aboriginal person involved in the delivery of services and programs that have an impact on Aboriginal people or involve dealing with Aboriginal communities.
I work for NSW
Job advertisement / ad
A job ad is an announcement of a job opportunity designed to attract suitable job seekers to apply. The job ad emphasises:
- key features of the role
- organisational context
- benefits of employment
- any essential requirements.
An analysis of a role compared with other roles in the organisation or market to determine the classification of work.
The key accountabilities in the role description refer to the outcomes the role is expected to deliver with a focus on the most important aspects of the role.
Kinds of employment
Kinds of employment for senior executives are ongoing employment and term employment.
Kinds of employment for non-executives are ongoing employment, temporary employment and casual employment.
Knowledge and experience
Knowledge and experience are different to qualifications or certifications required to practice and should only be included in the role description where they:
- are needed for successful performance in the role
- cannot be met by transferable capabilities demonstrated in other roles
- cannot be developed on the job in a reasonable timeframe.
Mobility is the movement of a government sector employee through assignment, transfer or secondment, including secondments and temporary assignments at a higher or (with the exception of temporary assignment) lower grade or band than the employee’s ongoing employment.
Mobility of non-executives
The mobility of non-executive employees refers to their movement to other roles through the following means:
- Assignment (GSE Act section46) or temporary assignment (GSE rule 11) – movement within the same NSW Public Service agency; and
- Secondment (GSE Act section64 and GSE Act section66) or transfer (GSE Act section64) – movement to a different government sector agency (including to a different Public Service agency) or between a government sector agency (including a Public Service agency) and an employer outside of the NSW government sector.
Mobility of senior executives
The mobility of senior executive employees refers to their movement to other roles through the following means:
- Assignment (GSE Act section38) or temporary assignment (GSE rule 11) – movement across Public Service agencies; and
• Secondment (GSE Act section64 and GSE Act section66) or transfer (GSE Act section64) – movement to a different government sector agency or between a government sector agency and an employer outside of the NSW government sector.
See: Assignment to role guideline and Mobility guideline - Transfers and secondments for more information.
National police check
A national police check (or criminal records check) may be required for employment in the NSW government sector.
Non-executive employment in the NSW Public Service may be ongoing employment, temporary employment or casual employment under section 43 of the GSE Act.
Once a non-executive is employed in ongoing or temporary employment in the Public Service they are assigned to a role under section 46 of the GSE Act.
Professional knowledge, skills and abilities required by individuals working in a specific occupational group, which:
- are transferable between roles in the function, but may have limited transferability to roles in a different functional area; and
- must be developed to progress within the function.
Ongoing employment is employment that continues until the senior executive or non-executive employee resigns or his or her employment is terminated.
A percentile is often used in psychometric testing to standardise raw scores against a comparison group. The percentile indicates the percentage of the comparison group who gained a score at the same level or below that of the individual test-taker. For example, a score that falls at the 70th percentile means that the individual’s score is the same as or higher than the scores of 70% of those who took the test.
The pre-established standards for a role refer to the capability, knowledge and experience standards needed to perform the role.
Probation is where a person who is new to the NSW Public Service completes an initial period to ensure they satisfy the requirements for the role in which they are employed.
The term public sector usually refers to the government sector, State owned corporations and a range of other quasi-government entities, although as a term of general usage it is not defined in the GSE legislative framework.
See Workplace adjustment.
See ‘Talent pool’.
A resume (or curriculum vitae/CV) is a brief account of a person’s education, qualifications and experience in previous roles.
A role is the duties and responsibilities of an employee.
A role description is a written statement that describes a role or role type in terms of the outcomes to be delivered. Role descriptions typically include information about the organisation, the primary purpose of the role, key accountabilities, key challenges, key relationships, capabilities needed to perform the role, dimensions of the role and any other essential requirements.
Score (for assessments)
A score is the rating assigned to a candidate for each assessment activity. For some assessments, such as psychometric tests, the raw score is converted to a percentile and compared to a relevant norm group.
GSE rule 18 defines the minimum requirements for a suitability assessment, which must include:
• screening for essential requirements;
• reviewing a resume;
• at least 2 capability-based assessments, one of which is an interview; and
• referee checks.
A suitability assessment is the minimum assessment requirement for employment in short-term (up to twelve months) temporary or term employment and for certain movements of employees within and between NSW Public Service agencies.
A key feature of a suitability assessment is that it assesses an individual against the pre-established standards for the role and not against any other persons.
The GSE Rules set the minimum requirements for the number of assessments but agencies can choose to use additional assessments.
Talent acquisition scheme
The Talent Acquisition Scheme is a scheme of pre-qualified suppliers who can be engaged by agencies to provide a suite of products and services to source, assess and select talent for executive and non-executive roles.
A talent pool is a group of candidates who met the pre-established standards for a role through a comparative assessment. See GSE rule 19.
A targeted question is a question that is relevant to the role and allows candidates to provide evidence of how they meet the requirement. Targeted questions are usually based on focus capabilities or a person’s motivations in the work context.
A targeted role is designed to help people from specific diversity groups who experience disadvantage to access employment opportunities.
Public Service agencies can use GSE rule 26 to nominate a role as a targeted role for eligible persons from a designated diversity group. This means that the role is targeted to be filled by a person from that diversity group. The employment decision is made on the basis that the person to be employed is suitable for the role and has the greatest merit of the eligible persons seeking to be employed in the role. Agencies may also modify recruitment processes to facilitate the employment of eligible persons in targeted roles.
Term employment is senior executive employment that is for a specified period or for the duration of a specified task (unless the executive resigns or his or her employment is terminated before the end of the term).
A validation study provides evidence for the job-relatedness of an assessment method. It generally involves correlating assessment scores with some form of performance criteria.
Under the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977, employers are obliged to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate an individual’s disability, unless that adjustment would result in unjustifiable hardship. Reasonable adjustments are also often called ‘workplace adjustments’.
A workplace adjustment is a change to a work process, procedure or environment that allows a candidate or employee to:
- perform the inherent or essential requirements of their job safely in the workplace;
- have equal opportunity in recruitment processes, promotion and ongoing development;
- experience equitable terms and conditions of employment; and
- maximise productivity.
A workplace adjustment is whatever is considered achievable to enable the employee to perform their role efficiently and to the best of their abilities. Workplace adjustments may not require any expenditure; they may relate to working arrangements or working methods.
Recruitment and selection guide
Filling a role
Planning a recruitment and selection approach
Assessment centre fact sheet
Setting the assessment standards and rating approach
Designing the assessment process
Descriptive rating scales
Examples of assessment components for different roles
Examples of a multi stage assessment
Designing the application form
Selecting fit for purpose assessments
Predictive validity of assessment methods
Work sample exercises
Designing work sample exercises
Deciding the recruitment and selection approach
Writing behavioural interview questions
Matrix for capability based assessments
Capabilities commonly assessed using work samples exercises
NSW Government talent acquisition scheme
Matrix for capabilities commonly assessed using work sample exercises
Conduct pre screening
Administering and scoring assessments
Consolidating results and making selection descisions
Reviewing the resume and application
Developing a shortlist
Example of a candidate’s consolidated results (all capabilities assessed)
Example of a candidate’s consolidated results (focus capabilities assessed)
Administering and scoring psychometric assessments
Practical guide to interviewing
Administering and scoring work sample exercises
Deciding and appointing
About recruitment legal requirements