Graduate recruitment process

How do I apply?

Typically, applications open each March on the AFP vacancies page. However, to be certain that you do not miss the opportunity to apply you should start checking the website in February.

You must apply through the online portal as we do not accept applications through any other medium.

What are the stages of the process?

The AFP refers to the stages of a recruitment process as "gateways". There are a number of gateways in the graduate recruitment process.

Gateway 1: Application and Employee Suitability Questionnaire (March/April)


The application form requires your response to a number of demographic questions, to select which business areas you believe to be the best fit for your skills and for you to write responses to selection criteria.

You are also required to upload the following documents:

  • academic transcript/s, for a university degree (not a diploma or certificate) either scanned or electronic version.
  • Proof of Australian citizenship and
  • Résumé / Curriculum Vitae (CV).

Your academic transcript must include both your grades and a marking scale, code, or key so that we can interpret the document.

Failure to provide any of these documents will result in an unsuccessful outcome for your application.

Business areas use your selection criteria responses, résumé and transcripts to determine whether they will invite you to an Assessment Centre. We recommend that you look at our Application Tips page and the Band 3 Work Level Standards before writing your application.

When responding to selection criteria, you are being asked to describe how you meet the requirements of the job and provide examples to support your claims. For each criterion you only have 350 words to explain why you are the best person for the job, so choose your words carefully.

It is not compulsory to select business areas that directly align with your qualification. However, if you decide to select a business area that is vastly different to your skillset, you should assume that you are competing against candidates who do have those skills because they have studied that discipline.

Consequently, your selection criteria responses will need to clearly demonstrate your suitability for the role.

Employee Suitability Questionnaire (due date stipulated in the application information)

The Employee Suitability Questionnaire is emailed to you upon submission of your application and is due by the close of applications. It is your responsibility to ensure that emails are not caught in a spam filter or assigned to junk mail. If you do not receive the Employee Suitability Questionnaire email please contact the AFP Recruitment Systems Team ([email protected]) as a matter of priority.

All AFP employees are held to a high standard of integrity. You must complete this document in order to progress in the recruitment process. You can find more information about the integrity requirements in the AFP Character Standards (PDF, 55KB).

As a part of the Employee Suitability Questionnaire you will be required to provide your traffic history. Information on this requirement is available on the Traffic History page.

Assessment of the Employee Suitability Questionnaire responses will be conducted in parallel to other gateways.

Gateway 2: Online Cognitive Assessment (March/April)

All candidates who have submitted both the application and Employee Suitability Questionnaire will be invited to complete an online cognitive assessment.

The cognitive assessment tests your abstract, numerical and verbal reasoning skills. We use this test because it has high predictive validity for employee success in the workplace. Read about the cognitive assessment on the Revelian website.

Every year there are some urban myths that circulate about the cognitive assessment. Some people think that the AFP recruits only the candidates with the top 5%-10% of scores. Others suggest that we cut the strongest and weakest performers from the process. Neither of these scenarios is true, in fact, every candidate who meets or exceeds our minimum score is progressed. The result required for progression is a reasonable benchmark and it is consistent with the minimum requirements of other government agencies.

Gateway 3: First Round Shortlisting (May)

An initial assessment of applications is conducted.

Candidates who have submitted applications that do not include required documentation, do not meet the minimum qualification standard, or who have provided selection criteria responses that lack sufficient detail to assess will not be progressed in the process.

Gateway 4: Second Round Shortlisting (June/July)

The business areas that you selected in your application will be provided with your application. If a business area would like to see candidates with your skill-set then your application will also be provided to them.

Representatives from the business area read the responses to the selection criteria, CVs and academic transcripts in order to determine which candidates they would like to invite to an Assessment Centre.

This process can take a long time, as some business areas receive hundreds of applications to assess.

Gateway 5: Graduate Assessment Centre (August/September)

Candidates selected by the business area will be invited to attend an Assessment Centre. You must be able to attend the Assessment Centre in person. There are a number of activities to be completed on the day, and as such no telephone or video interviews can be conducted.

You will need to bring a passport photo, your academic transcript/s, photographic identification and a completed security pack. Please ensure that you check the documents required for your security pack and bring these too.

During the day you will participate in several assessments such as an interview, a supervised cognitive assessment, a writing test and a group discussion.

Gateway 6: Merit Pool (October / November / December)

All candidates who are found suitable for a role as an AFP Band 3 are placed into a merit pool. This pool will be used to select the Graduate Program cohort.

The merit pool is valid for 12 months. Consequently, every year a number of candidates who were found suitable but not selected as graduates are offered positions in the AFP.

Gateway 7: Offers of Employment (December / January)

Business areas select their preferred candidates from the merit pool. If you accept a verbal offer then our Recruitment Team sends you a Letter of Offer.

In accordance with Section 24 of the Australian Federal Police Act 1979 there are several conditions that must be met in order to ensure suitability for employment with the AFP:

  • obtaining satisfactory security and medical clearances
  • successful completion of mandatory drug testing (urinalysis test for illicit drugs) and
  • provision of fingerprints (collected when you present for mandatory drug testing).

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