ato logo
Search Suggestion:

Our recruitment process

We choose the type of assessment to suit the job type and the specific business environment.

Last updated 26 April 2023


Our selection processes are merit-based. We use a competitive selection process and assess a candidate's suitability based on their skills, experience, knowledge and the attributes required for the role.

We also assess personal qualities such as honesty, integrity and cultural fit.


Usually, a selection panel of 2 or 3 people assess the merit of each application. The methods they use may include:

  • written applications
  • video interviews
  • online testing
  • behavioural interviews
  • assessment activities in assessment centres
  • referee comments.

We choose the type of assessment to suit the job type and the specific business environment.

The process

Our most commonly used process is to:

Complete the online application

We advertise all our positions on our ATO CareersExternal Link portal.

To apply for a position, complete our online application form on the portal. This asks for:

  • your personal details
  • a written response that  
    • outlines your skills, knowledge, experience and attributes that match the role description and ‘our ideal candidate’ information in the job ad
    • considers the work we do, the core skills we seek and any job specific skills and knowledge capabilities
    • we recommend you write following the STAR modelExternal Link to increase your chances of success
  • your resume.

For more information, view our Careers page.


Our selection panel assess the applications and create a shortlist of candidates suitable to move to the next stage. This will usually be an interview, but it may be another form of assessment.

Next-stage assessment process

If you have been included on the shortlist, we may then invite you to a further assessment such as:

  • an interview
  • an assessment at a centre
  • online testing
  • giving us more written information.

All candidates undertake the same assessment so that the selection panel can make a fair comparison. If you are suitable to progress, we will give you more information about what to expect.

The selection panel then considers all the information provided in the written and other assessments and makes an informed assessment.

Contact referees

We may contact referees to confirm our assessment of a candidate’s suitability for the role they applied for.

Choose 2 referees (preferably including your current supervisor) who can comment effectively against the role requirements on your:

  • skills and abilities
  • experience
  • work performance.

We may seek referee reports either:

  • during the recruitment process
  • after we contact you to find out if you are interested in a specific job.

Create a merit pool

After the recruitment process, we place successful candidates in a merit pool. The pool is not ranked. If you're placed in a merit pool, you could be offered the vacancy you applied for or a similar vacancy in a similar location if one becomes available.

We consider the following location groups to be similar locations:

  • Brisbane, Upper Mount Gravatt
  • Sydney, Parramatta, Penrith
  • Melbourne, Box Hill, Dandenong, Moonee Ponds.

Creating, using and sharing merit listsExternal Link is a common practice in the Australian Public Service (APS) for similar vacancies. This means that if you are in our merit pool, we may contact you about a job opportunity in another agency.

Merit pools are valid up to 18 months from the advertised vacancy date.

Notify candidates about placement in the pool

Successful candidates

If you have been selected for the merit pool, it is not a job offer. We will let you know in writing that you are in the merit pool.

We recommend you find out about our pre-engagement checks, so you can start getting your documents ready.

Unsuccessful candidates

If you weren't placed in the merit pool, we will let you know in writing.

Select the best candidate

When there is a vacancy, the vacancy manager reviews all candidates in the merit pool. They use the evidence gathered during the selection process to decide which candidates have the work-related qualities and ability to fulfil the duties of the position.

Contact the successful candidate with a job offer

If you have been selected from the merit pool for a job, we'll let you know by phone. You will need to complete and satisfy our pre-engagement checks.

Once the approvals and checks are complete, we will send you an email with details on how to access your letter of offer.