The Number One Question to Ask: Getting into the Public Service

The Number One Question to Ask: Getting into the Public Service

One little question could save you hours.

Jacquie Liversidge

By Jacquie Liversidge

So you’ve found a great job within the public service and you are feeling confident with your understanding of how to approach the application material. Great!

At this stage you want to look for the Contact Officer on the position description and give them a call.

The Contact Officer will likely have both an email and a phone number listed, and although it is much easier and much less scary to send an email, you get to make far less of an impression and can lose the opportunity to establish a rapport.

Though it might seem daunting to give them a call, there a few questions you should ask that are *really* going to help.

Some optional questions:

  • I see the application only specifies a resume and selection criteria, would this position warrant a cover letter?
  • What length of responses are recommended?
  • How would you like the documents formatted?

And… *Drumroll*

*Breathes in*


Government roles, dependent on the level and agency, will have rules around externally advertising roles, in place to avoid nepotism and discrimination.

For this reason, roles are frequently advertised for fixed-term roles in which there could be the current applicant applying for the role you are too.

Which means a whole lot of selection criteria… and not much chance!

Generally (or in the experience of the author here who has made this call about 15 odd times), the Contact Officer is tactfully forthcoming in letting you know whether there is someone acting in the position.

Phone calls are daunting; but you never have anything to lose, and only everything to gain from making the call.

We hope that helps with your strategizing, and as always, happy hunting!