Careers FAQs

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Careers FAQs

Do I need qualifications to apply?

ONA positions do not generally require specific qualifications, however depending on the level and type of work the position engages in, there may be certain knowledge and experience requirements that can only result from a relevant qualification.  If a position requires certain qualifications it will be clearly stated in the job specific Candidate Information Kit.

If I am applying based on my tertiary degree, what type of degree does ONA require?

ONA employs both 'specialists' and 'generalists', and therefore employs people from a wide range of disciplines, including but not limited to arts, science, IT, finance/business, economics, international studies and language studies.

Do I need to speak other languages?

For analytical positions it is not essential for you to be able to speak other languages, but it can be advantageous.  If a position requires the ability to speak a certain language, this will be specified in the Candidate Information Kit.  Language training is provided if you are working in a position where language proficiency is necessary to achieve your work objectives.

There are many positions in ONA that do not require other languages including the enabling and support branches and some analytical branches.

Does ONA have a graduate program?

ONA does not run a graduate program however does recruit recent graduates to certain positions in the Open Source Centre and to some positions in our enabling and support branches.  ONA also has a generous study assistance program which means you may be able to continue your studies on a part-time basis while working full-time or part-time with ONA.

What does the selection process involve?

ONA has a two-stage selection process. Stage one is job-specific; your skills, experience and abilities are measured against the job requirements and the key attributes listed in the candidate information kit. Stage two comprises security vetting, where we assess your eligibility and suitability for a security clearance. Both stages must be successfully completed.

What is merit?

ONA recruits staff based on merit, which means that from a field of applicants, we need to select the best person for the job. To do this we compare and weigh-up the skills, experience and abilities of each candidate. We use different tools and techniques, such as written applications, interviews and/or work-sample tests, to collect the evidence we need to make a merit-based decision.

What is security vetting? What is a security clearance? What is involved?

All ONA positions are designated security assessed positions. This means that you are required to be deemed eligible and suitable to hold an Australian Government security clearance to work at ONA for the duration of your employment. Security vetting is the process by which we assess your eligibility and suitability to be issued with a security clearance. Security vetting is a lengthy, intrusive process. If you agree to participate in the security vetting process, you are required to:

  • disclose all relevant and required information within stipulated timeframes;
  • cooperate in the collection of personal documentation and corroborating evidence;
  • answer questions fully and honestly;
  • provide accurate information and personal documentation;
  • participate in face to face interviews, generally in Canberra, at your own expense
  • understand and accept that ONA does not provide feedback to applicants on any aspect of the security vetting process.

Eligibility for a security clearance

Only Australian citizens with a checkable background are eligible for an Australian Government security clearance. You must provide evidence of Australian citizenship. Periods of greater than 12 months (cumulative) spent outside of Australia must be verified by independent and reliable sources. For an individual to be eligible for a security clearance, background checks should generally be able to be undertaken in Australia. It is expected that eligible applicants will have strong, established ties to Australia.

Suitability for a security clearance

In addition to meeting security clearance eligibility requirements, applicants requiring a Positive Vetting (PV) security clearance or a Negative Vetting Level 1 (NV1) security clearance must also be assessed as suitable to obtain and maintain an applicable security clearance. ONA is required to resolve any doubts about suitability in favour of the national interest. This means if you are not considered suitable to hold a security clearance for whatever reason, the delegate is not authorised to issue you with a security clearance.

A person is considered suitable to hold a security clearance at any level only after it is established to the appropriate degree of satisfaction that a person demonstrates appropriate integrity. In a security context, integrity is defined as a range of character traits an individual must demonstrate in order for the Australian Government to have confidence in an individual’s ability to properly protect security classified resources. You are required to demonstrate that you are honest, trustworthy, mature, tolerant, resilient, loyal (to Australia) and not unduly vulnerable to coercion or exploitation. The minimum mandatory checks and actions for establishing PV security clearance suitability include:

  • Suitability screening questionnaire;
  • Security interview;
  • Digital footprint checks;
  • Psychological assessment;
  • Financial probity and history checks;
  • Financial statement and supporting documents;
  • ASIO assessment;
  • Qualification and documentation verification;
  • Referee checks (including 1 professional and 1 un-nominated)
  • Police records check (full exclusion)
  • Background checks;
  • Official secrets declaration;
  • Statutory declaration;
  • Identity verification; and
  • Other checks as required.

Psychological assessments for PV security clearances are conducted by a registered psychologist in accordance with relevant legislation and registration board requirements. You will be required to complete psychometric tests and attend an in-depth, face to face interview.

The minimum mandatory checks and actions for establishing NV1 security clearance suitability include:

  • Digital footprint checks;
  • Financial statement;
  • Suitability screening questionnaire;
  • ASIO assessment;
  • Qualification verification;
  • Police records check (full exclusion);
  • Financial history check;
  • 10 year background check;
  • Official secrets declaration;
  • Statutory declaration;
  • Identity verification; and
  • Other checks as required.

You are required to comply with security vetting processes in a timely and cooperative manner, including providing requested information and attending interviews within ONA's stipulated timeframes. You must be open and honest with all information you provide during the vetting process. Failure to do so may impact adversely on your suitability to hold a security clearance.

Please note face-to-face interviews are a mandatory part of the security vetting process. All face-to-face interviews are conducted in Canberra.  If you reside interstate or overseas, you likely will be required to travel to Canberra at your own expense to undertake face-to-face interviews.  Face-to-face interviews cannot be conducted by video link or Skype. 

Security clearance holders are required to maintain suitability to hold the designated security clearance for the duration of employment with ONA. Security clearance suitability is re-evaluated at various times and clearance holders are also required to comply with security clearance reporting obligations including reporting changes in personal circumstances and notifying of overseas travel. ONA staff are paid an allowance in recognition of the unique requirements attached to working in a high security environment.

ONA will assist and provide advice to applicants in respect of fulfilling vetting requirements. However ONA does not provide feedback to applicants about any aspect of the security vetting process.

ONA treats your information with respect and confidentiality. If you feel uncomfortable about providing detailed personal information or participating in intrusive checking procedures, ONA may not be the right fit for you.