Communities and Justice

Tips for applying for DCJ jobs

Applying for a role in the NSW public sector may seem like a lengthy process so the tips below are designed to help you prepare your application.

Before you apply

Watch the video below to learn more learn who the Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) NSW is, what we do and why you should join us.

  • review the job ad to ensure you are eligible to apply – some of our roles require certain qualifications, membership of industry bodies, citizenship/permanent residency requirements that are not negotiable
  • ensure you meet the essential requirements – please note, even if you do not meet all the listed requirements, we still encourage you to apply
  • review the role description thoroughly for the focus capabilities that will be assessed. To properly comprehend a role description, you will need to understand each capability in the NSW Public Sector Capability Framework. The PSC Capability Tool can be used to conduct a self-assessment to decide if you have the capabilities at the required level for the role.

If you answered yes to all the above and are ready to submit your application, following are some tips on how to showcase your skills, knowledge and abilities.

Cover letter

A good cover letter is brief (usually 1-2 pages), well-structured and is specific to the job you are applying for.

Your cover letter should:

  • include any specific information requested in the job ad
  • address the targeted questions (if applicable)
  • showcase your achievements in past jobs
  • explain why you want the job
  • show us how your current skills are transferable to new situations
  • demonstrate why you are a good fit for DCJ.


Your resume is a summary of your qualifications, experience, skills and qualities. It should be up-to-date, clear, concise (up to 5 pages), well organised and tailored to the role you are applying for.

Targeted questions

If the advert requests responses to targeted questions, these are built around the focus capabilities for the role which are listed in the role description. You will need to describe how you used your knowledge, skills and abilities in a certain situation.

To answer this type of question you should:

  • review the role description to help you understand the capability and other important things about the job. The following are especially helpful:
    • capability description explains what the capability covers
    • behavioural indicators describe the behaviours or actions at different levels for each capability
    • key accountabilities give a high-level summary of the outcomes the role is expected to deliver.
  • use the behavioural indicators to help you think of a relevant example of what you did in other jobs or contexts
  • be specific – tell us what you did
  • use full sentences, check your spelling and grammar, and stay within the word limit.

Need an adjustment to your recruitment process?

At DCJ, we are committed to providing adjustments in the recruitment process for our candidates with disability, to remove barriers and provide equal access for all so they may fully participate in the recruitment journey.

These adjustments include accessibility in all of our recruitment stages to ensure everyone has an equal opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge, capability and experience.

Your Talent Acquisition (TA) Specialist will work closely with you and the hiring manager to ensure any recruitment adjustments you need are accommodated in a sensitive, confidential and respectful manner.

Once you are advised of the assessments that will be used and how they will be administered, please liaise with your TA contact regarding your accessibility or adjustment requirements. You may be asked what would be most helpful for you or what has worked well in the past. If you are unsure of what adjustments are available, your TA contact will go through the options with you.

We also provide workplace adjustments once you are successfully appointed to a role to ensure everyone can achieve their full potential.

Visit Recruitment adjustments for more information.

DCJ - A disability confident recruiter

Did you know that the Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) NSW is a disability confident recruiter? Watch this video to learn what this means and how it can help you.

Interview at DCJ

At DCJ, we use a variety of different questions to explore what you have done in the past, what you may do in certain work-related situations and what job-related skills and experiences you bring to the role. We make sure that our interview process is fair and standardised by asking all candidates the same set of questions.

The most common type of interview questions we use are behavioural-based questions.

These questions will invite you to provide an example on how you approached a situation in the past, including what you did and what results you achieved. You are encouraged to respond to these questions using the STAR Method.

What is the STAR method?

Situation - describe the situation you were working within, including key details that will provide important context to your assessor

Task - define the tasks that you were required to undertake to address the situation

Action - describe the specific actions you took to address the situation and task 

Result - describe the outcome of your actions and what results you specifically were able to achieve

Before you attend the interview, we recommend that you thoroughly review the capabilities outlined in the role description and have a think about work related examples from your past that you can share with us during the interview.

Other assessment activities at DCJ

Work Sample Tasks

You may also be invited to participate in a work sample task. Work sample tasks are designed to give you a realistic preview of the job that you have applied for.

Work Samples can include assessment tasks such as written exercises, role plays, group-based activities and presentations. The tasks may be given to you before, after or on the day of your interview. Your TA contact will guide you through the tasks and provide clear instructions around time limits, completion dates, technical requirements, or additional resources/materials that you need, to complete the task.

Psychometric Assessments

In some instances, you may be asked to complete psychometric assessments as part of your application. There are two types of psychometric assessments:

Cognitive Ability Tests

Cognitive ability tests, also referred to as aptitude tests, explore your capacity to think critically, reason and problem-solve.

Occupational Personality Assessments

Personality assessments provide information about your natural behavioural tendencies or preferred ways of working.

In either case, you will be sent an email with specific instructions on how to complete these from the assessment vendor. The vendor will also have sample assessment questions on their website. You are encouraged to use these to get a feel for the assessment before you begin. Most psychometric assessments can be completed using a computer or tablet device. If you require any adjustments, please reach out to your TA contact.

Last updated:

03 Aug 2023