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De-Identified Government Job Applications

De-Identified Government Job Applications are becoming more common for Australian Public Service job applications. In 2017, certain Government departments commenced a blind recruitment trial that requires all applicants to submit de-identified resumes, cover letters and/or statements and key selection criteria. But what sparked this trial? The Australian Public Service (APS) values and celebrates diversity and is committed to ensuring equality of opportunity for all. Diversity, whether it is cultural, religious, gender, sexuality, age or ability, is highly celebrated within the APS and they pride themselves on being an equal opportunity employer committed to fair and merit-based recruitment and selection. With these principles in mind, the APS is taking steps to remove barriers to recruitment based on the fair evaluation of a person’s skills, experience and qualifications. Research conducted in Australia and other countries over the years has revealed that preconception and social prejudices affect interview rates, recruitment processes and employment outcomes. Therefore, the de-identification process has been put in place to ensure fairer APS career opportunities with the APS and some private enterprises.

It is commonly proposed that removing names and other information from job applications before shortlisting to hide traits like age, gender and ethnicity should result in fairer, more merit-based outcomes. Many recruiters demonstrate unconscious bias when shortlisting for job applications and it is no different within the APS. But what exactly is unconscious bias and how significant is it? Unconscious bias refers to judgements, decisions, and assessments of other people that we are not aware of making. Bias is often founded on pre-existing social stereotypes and mind sets and can lead to a disregard for an individual’s unique set of skills. Unconscious judgements, decisions and assessments, whether biased or not, are the product of knowledge developed through socialisation, education, and life experiences. This kind of bias can impact hiring practices. For example, it is well known that candidates from culturally diverse backgrounds need to apply for more jobs to get as many interviews as an applicant with an Anglo-Saxon name. Moreover, history shows recruitment barriers to the appointment of women, particularly in senior executive roles.

De-identifying applications is one approach to recruitment that has been shown to effectively increase awareness of the problematic nature of unconscious bias, and reduce the occurrence of it during recruitment. But how exactly do you de-identify your application? To assist you with this, the team at Public Service Resumes have researched and put together some information below. It is important to note that certain departments may have their own specific guidelines so be sure to read the application information pack thoroughly.

De-Identified Government Job Applications » Statements | Key Selection Criteria 
  • No personalised personal development comments are included – it can suffice to provide a summary of high-level feedback received. However, it must not include a supervisor’s or your own name
  • Name, personal details, age, gender or indirect reference to any of these aspects are not included
  • Specific references to colleagues or supervisors you have worked with are not included
  • Operation, project or program names are not to be included – you can note the type, but no specific names or details
De-Identified Government Job Applications » Resumes | Cover Letters
  • Awards/Certificates etc. can be provided but not the date of receipt nor the activity that resulted in the award being conferred
  • Specific reference to educational/leadership specialised programs, but not the date of participation
  • No headers or footers that include personal information included
  • Qualifications can be provided, but not the date of completion
  • Contact details and/or other unique identifiers not included
  • Name, address and date of birth not included
  • No photographs to be included

In a nutshell, completing de-Identified Government job applications is really not that complex of a thing to do, and the benefits seem to far outweigh the negatives. Blind recruiting supports recruitment processes where, in line with the merit principle, personal traits like gender or race are irrelevant to selecting the best person for the job. As well as reducing discrimination, a fairer recruitment process has the potential to lead to a better, more productive workforce. Studies of teams show that if there is a diverse team working together, they solve complex problems more quickly and they come up with more innovative solutions. The APS is leading the way with these initiatives.

If you are currently seeking a role within the APS and have come across de-Identified Government job applications and you are still unsure of how to approach it or perhaps you need some assistance appropriately selling yourself, then contact the team at Public Service Resumes today. We can offer you a free appraisal and quote.