This particular client applied for the role of ABS Field Interviewer in the Australian Public Service (APS) – Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). Five criteria required addressing at a maximum page length of half page each. They included Interpersonal Skills, Communication, Achieving Results, Technical Aptitude, and Past Experience. My client was called up for a job interview but was unable to attend due to a pre-planned overseas trip she could not change. Needless to say she was disappointed but also very satisfied in that she presented well on paper and was selected for a job interview from a very large pool of candidates. Following are part excerpts from three of the criteria.

Interpersonal Skills:

During my tenure within the Department of CCC, I was involved in providing community recovery outreach services which involved door knocking in far north Queensland after the advent of Cyclones Oswald and Yasi. Along with three other team members – two from CC, one from Red Cross and another from Life Line – we door knocked every house in the area on a daily basis over the course of a week for both natural disasters. I dealt with distressed and traumatised members of the public (residents); I was the first point of contact for them, the face of the recovery effort. I sat and talked with them and listened to their experiences in order to identify their needs to start the process of obtaining government assistance – financial, physical and psychological. Overall, this was a sensitive and highly-charged information-gathering exercise to identify residents’ needs; discussions with residents ranged in duration from 15 minutes up to 2 hours. Essentially, as much time as was needed was spent with the residents to obtain the necessary details to help them.


During my tenure within the Department of DHHH, I negotiated for deadlines in relation to monthly reporting; it was mandatory for investors to provide monthly reports to State (Queensland) Government – a contractual requirement for NNN participation. I negotiated with investors who did not have adequate resources or time to fulfil this requirement. Compromises were made in providing them with additional time, and conditions and consequences were verbalised if the end-of-month deadline was not met. During the negotiation process, I adopted a supportive approach by offering them my help and guidance in reviewing their business processes to determine if changes could be made to ensure deadline delivery. This approach was fundamental in maintaining strong working relationships with stakeholders. Moreover, feedback on processes was taken on board which led to a review of processes; State Government acted on this by streamlining processes to make them less onerous on stakeholders.

Past Experience:

Across all my roles in the public sector, I dealt regularly with members of the public, and other external stakeholders such as staff from private business corporations and Federal and State government agencies. My last role within the CCC involved visiting sites (state-owned caravan parks) to conduct tenancy audits. I liaised with members of public (tenants in the parks) regarding their complaints and safety issues on the premises. When engaging in conversation with the public, I facilitated the process of gaining a strong understanding of their requirements; and when relaying information, I responded in a clear, courteous and professional manner. I adapted my communication and demeanour when dealing with individuals from different cultural backgrounds or spoke/understood minimal English.

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Annie Cerone