External advertising in the first instance - clause 25
Clause 25 (previously clause 291) of the JSE Recruitment Policy (JSE Policy) states:
“25. If a job is advertised on external jobs boards in the first instance, in parallel with advertising on the JSE, JSE-eligible applicants must, where reasonably practicable, be considered and assessed using the RA Guidelines, prior to consideration of external applicants. For guidance on how clause 25 applies, please refer to the Guidance Note.”
Rationale for revising clause 29
Previously, VPS employees and other eligible applicants2 who applied for a role via external recruitment platforms, were not considered a JSE applicant for the purposes of the JSE Policy. The term ‘JSE candidates’ was strictly interpreted to include only those applicants who applied via the JSE jobs board. The revised clause includes the term ‘JSE-eligible’ applicants to remedy this situation.
What does ‘JSE-eligible’ mean?
A ‘JSE-eligible’ applicant means any applicant who is eligible to apply on the JSE jobs board (whether they choose to apply that way or not). This includes current VPS employees and any people with JSE access specified in Section 2.5 of the JSE Policy – ‘JSE access and eligibility’. These applicants are defined as ‘JSE-eligible’.
‘External applicants’ are not eligible to apply via the JSE and must apply on external jobs boards e.g. careers.vic / SEEK, etc.
Fair and reasonable treatment of VPS employees
The Standards for the application of the Victorian Public Service Employment Principles (Employment Standards) are based on legislated principles included in section 8 of the Public Administration Act 2004 (Vic) which require that Public Sector body heads must establish employment processes that will ensure that the Employment Standards are met.
One such standard requires VPS employees to be treated fairly and reasonably. The new clause endeavours to better meet this standard by disregarding JSE-eligible applicants’ method of application and placing emphasis on their eligibility.
What does ‘where reasonably practicable’ mean?
For the purposes of clause 25 of the JSE Policy, ‘where reasonably practicable’ is intended to permit a recruiter/hiring manager to take into consideration all relevant circumstances and information when seeking to identify and include JSE-eligible applicants in the priority consideration phase.
Examples of relevant circumstances and information that may be taken into consideration include, but are not limited to:
The time and effort required for recruiters/hiring managers to make a ‘good faith attempt’ (see page 4 of this Guidance Note) to identify JSE-eligible applicants who may apply on an external jobs board, noting that:
The recruiter/hiring manager may have the time to review the application source and email domain (on Springboard) but not have sufficient time to review all application materials (including cover letter and résumé) to identify any JSE-eligible applicants, particularly if there are several external applications.
If there are only a few or limited number of external applications, reviewing the application material may be considered reasonable, depending on the circumstances.
The stage of the recruitment and assessment process that the recruiter/hiring manager becomes aware that a JSE-eligible applicant has applied via an external jobs board. For example, a recruiter/hiring manager may not have identified a JSE-eligible applicant in their initial screening of external applicants but is later notified by an applicant of their JSE-eligible status late in the recruitment process, such that it is impractical for the recruiter/hiring manager to include them in the priority consideration phase.
It is at the discretion of the hiring manager to include a JSE-eligible applicant for priority consideration where it is reasonably practicable for them to do so.
The inclusion of ‘where reasonably practicable’ acknowledges:
The difficulty recruiters may have manually identifying all eligible applicants who apply from external jobs boards; and
The challenges faced by the JSE digital team to create an automated solution at the Springboard backend to identify all categories of JSE-eligible applicants.
If a JSE-eligible applicant applies for a role on an external jobs board, they must be considered a JSE applicant for the purposes of the JSE Policy, if:
The recruiter/hiring manager either identifies or otherwise becomes aware of their JSE-eligibility, or is informed by the applicant, within a reasonable timeframe, and
It is practical for the recruitment/hiring manager to include them.
VPS employees and other eligible applicants (e.g. former VPS employees who have extended JSE access) continue to be strongly encouraged to apply for roles on the JSE jobs board in order to receive priority consideration.
Should a JSE-eligible applicant apply on an external jobs board, they should notify the prospective employer of their eligible status, as early as possible in the recruitment process.
Employers should undertake the following steps to ensure a fair and reasonable recruitment process:
Encourage JSE-eligible applicants to apply on the JSE jobs board.
Include the following suggested notification on the relevant job advertising material (including job advertisement and where possible, the position description):
“VPS employees and other JSE-eligible applicants are encouraged to apply on the Jobs & Skills Exchange (JSE) jobs board”.3
Encourage any JSE-eligible applicants who have applied on an external jobs board, to notify them of their eligible status, as early as possible in the recruitment process.
Recruiters and hiring managers should make a good faith attempt to identify any JSE-eligible applicants (particularly VPS employees) in the external applicant pack. Not to do so raises the risk of a Review of Action (by current VPS employees).
What is a good faith attempt?
A good faith attempt includes undertaking an initial screen of external applications, before reviewing any internal applications received on the JSE, to include any applicants who have:
ticked yes to the question “are you a current VPS employee?” on the application form
applied using a vic.gov.au email domain
indicated either in their cover letter, email, application form or résumé that they have JSE-eligibility (where it is reasonably practicable to check this).
We recognise that it will not always be possible or practical to review all external applications to determine if there are any JSE-eligible applicants. Determining what is “reasonably practicable” is at the employers’ discretion and depends on the relevant circumstances for any given role.
For example, if there are only a small number of applications received, it might be reasonable and practical to screen application materials to identify any JSE-eligible applicants. For large/bulk recruitment processes, where multiple applications are received, this may not be reasonable or practicable, as it may significantly slow down the recruitment process and delay filling vacant positions.
Discretion to include / exclude applicants from priority consideration
If a recruiter/hiring manager makes a ‘good faith’ attempt to screen external applicants and, later in the recruitment process becomes aware of a JSE-eligible applicant, the hiring manager/recruiter can use their discretion to include/exclude them from priority consideration, depending on the relevant circumstances.
For example, if they become aware of a JSE-eligible applicant when shortlisting for interview, it would seem reasonably practicable to include that applicant and consider and assess them when shortlisting. Conversely, a successful candidate may already have been identified from the JSE-eligible candidates and the hiring manager deems it too late to include the identified applicant in the priority consideration phase.
How does this apply to recruitment processes already underway at the time of implementation of JSE Policy (version 10.0)?
Recruiters/hiring managers should use their discretion when applying clause 25 to recruitment processes already underway at the time this policy version is published. They are encouraged to use their judgement to ensure that JSE-eligible applicants are treated fairly and reasonably.