Factsheet: Applying for the 2017 Graduate Development Program

The Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development (the Department) would like to see each applicant perform at their best through the assessment process for the 2017 Graduate Development Program. This information sheet is designed to provide you with information on how you can present your best self at each stage.

The assessment process for the 2017 Graduate Development Program will include:

  1. Application including three selection criteria questions;
  2. Assessment Centre; and
  3. Reference Checks.

General tips

  • Most universities have Career Centres that provide a wide range of support services to help you improve your resume and application writing skills. You should contact your university's Career Centre to see what services they can provide.
  • Make sure you do some research on the Department so you understand the work we do, and tailor your resume and application to our work where possible.
  • Remember to include any work experience or extracurricular activities that may be relevant. Don't assume your work experience is irrelevant because it is very different to the work of the Department. You can still provide examples of core skills that are transferrable across many different roles and workplaces.

Information on understanding the requirements of working in the Australian Public Service (APS) and tips on applying and the recruitment process are available in the Australian Public Service Commission's (APSC's) Cracking the Code document.


  • Applications open Monday 29 February 2016 and close Monday 4 April 2016.
  • Positions advertised in the APS often use core competencies that are outlined in APS wide standards called the Integrated Leadership System (ILS).
  • Throughout the recruitment process for our Graduate Development Program, we will be assessing the competencies outlined at the APS3 level in the ILS, including:
    • Supports strategic direction;
    • Achieves results;
    • Supports productive working relationships;
    • Displays personal drive and integrity; and
    • Communicates with influence.

More information about each of these competencies can be found on the APSC's website.

  • Many APS applications include Selection Criteria. Selection Criteria are a set of questions, usually behavioural, that are designed to assess your past behaviour for a number of competencies (usually based on the ILS).
  • The 2017 Graduate Development Program application form will ask you to complete three selection criteria questions, with a maximum of 300 words for your response to each question.
  • The preferred method for structuring responses to Selection Criteria across the APS is the STAR method:

    Situation—Set the context by describing the circumstance where you used the skills or qualities and gained the experience.
    Task—Explain your role and what were you required to do.
    Actions—Explain what you did, and how you did it.
    Result—Explain the end result and how it relates to the job you are applying for.
    Examples of the STAR method can be found in Cracking the Code
  • Make sure you extract the key words from the question and ensure that your response answers the whole question.
  • This year we are advertising the programs under two streams:
    • 2017 Graduate Development Program: open to all eligible Australian Citizens
    • 2017 Graduate Development Program —Special Measures: open to eligible Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
    The Department will also be participating in the APS RecruitAbility scheme for both streams. For more information on Special Measures or RecruitAbility, please click on each to link to their respective factsheets.

Assessment Centre

  • Assessment Centres will be held in Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne in May.
  • There will be two sessions per day, with each session running for just over 4 hours.
  • The Assessment Centre will involve the following assessment activities:
    • Panel interview—you will be interviewed by two panel members (these are usually senior employees from the Department). You will receive the questions 10 minutes prior to the interview to give you time to think about how you will respond to the questions. You should structure your responses at interview using the STAR method.
    • Written exercise—you will have 1 hour to complete a written exercise, using an iPad with a keyboard attached. The hour comprises of 15 minutes reading time for you to understand the activity and 45 minutes to complete the task.
    • Group exercise—The group (there will be up to 8 candidates in each group), will have 45 minutes to complete the exercise, including 5 minutes for you to read through the activity as an individual, 35 minutes to discuss the scenario as a group, and 5 minutes for the group to present their findings to the panel.
  • The whole Assessment Centre is designed to assess the five competencies within the ILS.
  • A past graduate will be present on the day of your assessment centre for you to talk to and ask questions, and HR representatives will ensure the day runs smoothly and to time. Conversations with the past graduate and HR representatives are not assessed.


  • Applicants who are invited to the Assessment Centre will be provided with a referee report template for their two referees to complete. You will need to submit the completed referee reports at the Assessment Centre. We will verify referee reports directly with your referees following the Assessment Centre.
  • Make sure you have a conversation in advance with your referees to check they are happy to provide a reference for you. Your referees should know prior to you submitting your application that you are listing them as a referee. You might also like to provide them with a copy of your application.
  • Choose referees who can best support the claims you have outlined in your application and during the assessment centre.

More information

More information is available on our website and Facebook page:

If you have any questions about the recruitment process or the 2017 Graduate Development Program after accessing these resources, please contact our Recruitment Programs Coordinator on 02 6274 6161 or email entrylevel@infrastructure.gov.au.


Last Updated: 7 March, 2016