Difference in public and private sector job search process

Finding a job in the public sector is slightly different from the normal job search process.
When you conduct a job search for a private sector position you normally follow these steps:

Step 1
Browse through the yellow pages, online career sites, news ads and follow up on the leads provided by network contacts. This is the identification of employers in a specific industry step.

Step 2
Conduct research on the selected employers via the Internet, annual reports and marketing material from the companies.

Step 3
Make contact with people who work at the companies or have worked there in the past to get a feel for the corporate culture and to act as references.

Step 4
Either apply for a job through a network contact or by sending your CV together with a cover letter to a specific person at the company. As an alternative you may also react on an advertisement.

Step 5
Prepare for the interview through further research, brushing up on your skills and by conducting mock interviews.

Step 6
Attend the interview and follow up after the interview. You will be required to complete an application form and in many cases, pass aptitude and drug tests.

Step 7
Negotiate salary and accept employment in the private sector.

When you search for a job in the public sector, you will not normally browse through the yellow pages, but identify the department that you want to work for by either browsing the specific government sites or using the telephone directory. Once you have identified the correct department, you enquire about the hiring process and the relevant person to speak to.

The next step is to obtain an application form and make copies of all your qualifications, letters of recommendations, driver's license, identification document and any other proof of experience as required on the application form. Once you have returned the application form, you follow up to make sure that the correct person has received it.

Unlike with the private sector, the process can become lengthy. It can even take up to three months before your application process is completed.

A note on the interview process: the public sector normally makes use of panel interviews where several persons from different departments interview you. IQ testing, aptitude testing and physical health examinations may be required in certain jobs.

Unlike with the job search process in the private sector, you don't have to conduct research on several companies. Be warned though, you will need to have a good background knowledge on the specific division or department to ensure that you apply within the most relevant department.

The job search process for government related employment is less complicated than for the private sector, and since the public sector constantly employs new workers, you have a good chance of getting employment in this sector. If however, you have a criminal record, the government sector is rather difficult to get into as most countries adhere to strict policies regarding civil servants, police force, and army etc. employment. It is also important to note that you will normally make use of a reverse chronological CV for the public sector jobs.