Assessments allow you to show how your knowledge, skills and abilities suit the job.

They are the next stage in the process after the job application. They help us to learn about how you are likely to perform the job.

Let us know you have a disability and need an adjusted or alternative assessment as we want all people to be able to perform at their best and compete with others equally.

Assessment processes

We use at least 3 different assessments to help you to show you can do the job and use 2 main approaches to structure our assessment processes.

Types of assessments

All our assessment processes involve at least one interview. Other assessments vary depending on the job and what is being assessed.

The main types of assessments you will be asked to do may include interviews, psychological assessments, work samples and skills tests.


Our common interview format is the structured behavioural interview. This is where we ask all candidates the same set of questions. We invite you to share examples of specific situations from your own experience including:

  • how you approached each situation
  • what you did
  • what the results were.

We use more than one assessor in an interview to help us:

  • reduce bias
  • bring different perspectives and experiences to the process
  • capture everything you communicate.

We often use an extra 1-on-1 interview at the end of the process to help decide who is the right person for the job.

Psychological Assessments

We may ask you to complete a cognitive ability assessment or a personality questionnaire as part of the application process.

Cognitive ability assessments measure your potential and ability to solve work-related problems and learn new job knowledge.

Personality questionnaires are useful to gauge how likely you will fit in a job or team. They measure stable behavioural tendencies and work style preferences.

Work sample exercises

Work sample exercises ask you to complete a piece of work that is typical of the day to day work you would complete on the job.

Group exercises

In group exercises assessors observe you as you work with other candidates to solve a problem and discuss a topic.

Examples of a group exercise are:

  • a group discussion on an issue such as a policy matter or current news item
  • a case study exercise where your group responds to a brief on a realistic business scenario.

Role plays

In a role play exercise, you are asked to react and work through a work situation that mirrors job-relevant scenarios.

Examples of role-plays include

  • dealing with a question or complaint for a customer service-focused job
  • providing coaching to a team member for a manager role.

Case study exercises

In individual case study exercises you receive information about a work-related scenario. You then need to:

  • examine the situation
  • analyse the material
  • present your findings, in writing or verbally.

Case interviews

In case interviews you receive a scenario in advance (for example, 1 to 2 days ahead). You can use this time to research and prepare your proposal, analysis or response. You then present this to assessors when you attend for interview.

Case interviews often:

  • use a real business situation such as the start-up of a new program
  • need you to develop and present your strategy (for example, for the design and implementation of the program).

In-tray exercises

In-tray exercises simulate administrative aspects of a role. They usually involve you in the following:

  • assume you have a role in a fictitious organisation
  • work through the documentation in your in-tray
  • complete tasks such as:
    • prioritise the importance of the in-tray contents
    • decide how to respond to correspondence.

Written exercise

In a written exercise you review information, for example a case study, position paper or business problem. You then prepare a response in the form of a letter, email, memo, or briefing. You usually have a limited time to do the task.

Technical skills assessments

A technical skills assessment measures your professional or occupation-specific skills. The purpose is to determine if you can do a technical part of a job.

Situational judgement tests

Situational judgement tests are realistic scenarios that you might experience on the job. They may be written or presented through video or audio format. Each test measures something different according to the scenarios they contain.

Assessment centres

Assessment centres are often used:

  • when we are filling a few jobs at once
  • to establish a talent pool
  • when we expect a large number of applications.

They usually involve completing several assessments over a part or whole day. This is likely to involve:

  • an interview
  • other activities, such as group exercises or role plays.

Assessment stages

We generally use a staged assessment approach when:

  • the job needs specialist skills
  • we expect a small number of applications.

This means completing assessment tasks, one at a time over 1 to 2 weeks.

You may not proceed through every stage of the assessment process. Candidates will not progress if they do not compare as well against other candidates.


Preparing for assessments

Give yourself the best opportunity to show how you suit the job. Before your assessments you should:

  • Review the role description:
    • become familiar with all aspects of the job
    • be ready to describe your interest in the role or in working for the agency or the NSW Public Service.
  • Review your previous work (paid and volunteer) and study experiences. Have relevant examples and situations that you can draw on to respond to questions.
  • Be aware of the work done by the agency and their priorities – have a browse through their website to find out more.
  • Tell us about any adjustments you may need for the assessment process.

Interviews tips

Before your interview you can prepare by practicing your interview skills with a friend, family member or colleague. Focus on providing specific and clear responses.

Tips for online assessments

  • Try to get a good night’s sleep beforehand.
  • Set aside time in your day to do the assessments so that:
    • you're not rushed
    • you’re thinking clearly.
  • Find a quiet location away from distractions and disturbances.
  • Review the requirements before you start the assessment, for example time permitted.
  • Test your computer equipment before you start. If you do not have access to a home computer, please let the assessors know so alternative arrangements can be made.

If offered, do a sample assessment before completing the formal assessment.