Before submitting your application

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Before submitting your application

This information provides you, as a potential ONA candidate, with the eligibility requirements for employment with the ONA and gives advice on preparing your job application. You should read this information before submitting your application online.

Application forms are only available for listed vacancies, and must be completed online. Please ensure you follow the instructions provided for this detailed process to ensure the security and integrity of your personal information. Do not include classified information in your application.

Late applications will not usually be accepted. If you are unable to lodge a full application by the closing date, you may discuss your situation with the contact officer. In special circumstances the closing date may be extended at the discretion of the panel chair. If you are granted an extension, a link will be emailed to you that will allow you to apply directly to that position.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for employment with ONA you must be an Australian citizen.  All ONA positions are Designated Security Assessment Positions (DSAPs) and you must be assessed as suitable to hold an Australian Government security clearance prior to being employed by ONA. Staff must maintain the required security clearance for the duration of their employment.

ONA's Selection Process

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.

  1. Selection for employment in ONA is based on merit, which means that from a field of applications, we need to select the best person for the job. We use a range of tools and techniques, including written applications, interviews, referee reports and work sample tests, to collect the evidence we need to make a merit-based decision.
  2. Security vetting assesses your eligibility and suitability to access and properly protect sensitive and classified resources. We do this by completing a range of background checks and interviews with various people, including you, to assess and confirm the security relevance of all information provided by you. Security vetting often takes several months to complete. You will be expected to provide required information according to set deadlines; and to be open, honest and cooperative throughout the process. ONA's security vetting team will assist you throughout the vetting process as required.

ONA is committed to workplace diversity and aims to create an environment that values and uses the contribution of people with different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives.

Stage 1: Application and interview

Preparing your application

Your online application is the first step in the selection process. Interviews may not be held if the best candidate is readily identifiable from applications and referee reports alone. For this reason it is particularly important that your application directly and specifically addresses the key attributes in the context of the duties of the advertised position. If any attribute is not addressed, or is insufficiently addressed, your application may not receive further consideration.

It is a good idea to learn as much as possible about the duties and responsibilities of the role, the work environment and ONA. Information is provided in the candidate information kit, more information is available elsewhere on this website, and you should speak to the nominated contact officer if you have further questions.

Advertised vacancies often attract a number of very good quality candidates, so it is in your best interest to prepare an application that demonstrates to the selection panel you can fulfil the role. Your statement addressing the key attributes is the most important part of your application. It is the basis of the selection panel's list of candidates for further consideration. The candidate information kit covers the duties of the position, the attributes ONA is seeking in a successful candidate and background about ONA.

You will be asked to outline why your skills, experience, abilities, and personal qualities suit you for the position, with reference to the key attributes and the duties of the role, or you may be asked more specific questions. In either case, the panel is looking for specific examples of work you have done, your contributions to a process and/or an outcome, and how these relate to the attribute you are addressing. Your statement should be comprehensive but succinct; your response should not exceed 1,000 words in length.

Your online application must include:

  • The online application summary sheet.
  • Statement of claims against the key attributes - outlining examples and achievements that demonstrate your claims. The statement can be in narrative and/or dot point form (your response will not exceed 1000 words in total).
  • A resumé or CV that summarises your work history, beginning with your most recent employment and working back. You should give dates of employment, company names and position titles. Your academic qualifications should be listed, with dates and institution names.
  • The names of two referees (one of whom should be your current supervisor) who can provide comments on your work performance and possibly assessment against the key attributes. The selection panel may seek detailed written or oral comments from referees. Please indicate clearly if you do not wish your referees to be contacted prior to shortlisting.
  • If required, an example of written work. This could be a publication, a thesis or a report. An example of your written work is generally only required for analytic positions. The requirement for written work will be specified in the advertisement – if it is not mentioned then you do not need to provide it. Examples of written work should be, at maximum, 10 pages – an extract from a larger document is acceptable.

If all the required documentation is not submitted your application may not be considered.

For additional information on preparing your application and writing your statement of claims against the targeted question(s), please refer to the Cracking the Code publication on the Australian Public Service Commission website.


Lodging your application

After you complete the online application and formally submit it online, you will receive an email confirmation that your application has been received successfully. Please ensure that your email address is correct on your application form.


We usually shortlist applicants soon after the closing date for a position. Ensure you provide accurate contact details as only a reasonable attempt will be made to contact applicants for interviews. The time taken for shortlisting will depend on the size of the field, and may be as long as several weeks. The selection panel will assess applications against the key attributes and only those applicants who demonstrate the strongest claims will be selected for interview. Applicants not selected for interview will be notified by email.

Availability for interview

You must be available for an interview from the date applications close, even if you are on leave. The selection panel will try to schedule your interview at the least disruptive time. We will try to give you at least five days' notice for interview. If you are going to be on leave or away after applications close, please provide a contact number where you can be reached. Overseas and interstate applicants will be interviewed by telephone in the first instance but please note that if proceeded into security vetting, candidates are required to attend security vetting interviews in Canberra at their own expense.

After the interview

After the interview round, the selection panel will recommend a further shortlist of applicants who will proceed to security vetting. If you are not recommended for security vetting, you will be notified via email. Unsuccessful applicants may request feedback regarding their candidacy for the position however ONA does not provide feedback about any aspect of security vetting.

Stage 2: Security Vetting

All ONA positions are security designated 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 a lengthy, intrusive process, comprising several stages. If you agree to participate in the security vetting process, you are required to:

  • disclose all relevant and required information;
  • 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.

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 an Australian Government 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.

In addition to meeting security clearance eligibility requirements for employment with ONA, candidates 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. You are required to demonstrate that you are honest, trustworthy, mature, tolerant, resilient and not vulnerable to coercion or exploitation.

Psychological assessments for PV security clearance purposes 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.

A person is considered suitable to hold a security clearance 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 comply with the security clearance process in a timely and cooperative manner, including providing requested information within ONA's stipulated timeframes. You must be open and honest with all information you provide during the selection 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. 

Once issued, security clearance holders are required to maintain suitability to hold that 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 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.

Offer of employment

No offer of employment can be made until you have successfully completed the security vetting process. The delegate will then make a final decision whether to offer employment. If you do not gain a security clearance then you cannot be offered a position and will receive notification advising that you were unsuccessful in your application for employment.

If you are currently an ongoing employee in another Commonwealth Government agency tenure options include promotion, ongoing movement at level or temporary transfer, depending upon successful completion of security vetting.

Salary rate

Your salary on engagement will be at the minimum pay level for the advertised role, unless you negotiate a higher salary point (normally within the range prescribed in the ONA Enterprise Agreement) based on your experience, qualifications, skills and immediate effectiveness. Our Enterprise Agreement lists ONA salary rates.

Attachment Size
PDF iconOffice of National Assessments Enterprise Agreement 2016-2019 844 KB


New ongoing and non-ongoing APS employees at ONA serve a 6-month probation period. During this time your conduct, work performance and security consciousness are assessed to determine whether they meet the standards required by ONA of its employees.

The probation period starts on your first day at work. If your performance and/or behaviour do not reach the required standard during your probation, your employment will be terminated.