The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet has abandoned the bureaucracy's widely despised job selection criteria, telling prospective recruits to offer a "one-page pitch" instead.
It will also stop advertising the salaries of vacant positions, because it wants staff who are attracted to a role "based on job fit, rather than because it is at a particular classification level".
PM&C adopted the new approach last week, but its secretary, Michael Thawley, has been pushing for recruitment changes since shortly after he was appointed almost a year ago.
The department is the first large Australian Public Service employer to jettison selection criteria, which are criticised regularly because they can take up an enormous amount of candidates' time and are often only partly relevant to the job.
Almost all agencies ask applicants to complete claims against criteria, which usually involves writing several thousand words about their ability to "support strategic direction", "communicate with influence" or meet other, similarly generalised requirements.
The head of PM&C's corporate services division, Ben Neal, said the main reason the department ditched criteria was that "we don't want to let the recruitment process drive who applies for our jobs".
"We think that model, which is very much understood by public servants but maligned by non-public servants, limits the pool of available talent we have," Mr Neal said.
"We want to reach much more widely into the private sector and the not-for-profit sector ... instead of just getting public servants in Canberra applying for jobs."
The department says prospective staff will instead "submit a resume and a 'one-page pitch' telling us why you are the best person for the job".
Mr Neale said the new process would be more efficient for everyone but still lead to merit-based hiring decisions. The Public Service Commission had confirmed that PM&C's approach complied with relevant legislation.
"We can't see a downside to doing it this way and we can see a lot of upside," Mr Neal said.
Among the other changes was the removal of a salary and a specific classification from job ads, which will be free of "public service jargon and duty statements".
Mr Neal said job levels and wages would be negotiated with the right recruit, but what was more important was ensuring that as many candidates as possible considered applying.
However, salary and a classification range would be available with the job's description on the apsjobs.gov.au website.
"What we found is that people applied for a job based on the classification, because they were looking for a promotion or they were trying to enter the public service at a certain level," Mr Neal said.
"We don't want the process or the classification to determine what the outcome will be, or who might apply. We want to give ourselves the widest field of people with a range of skills and capabilities [that suit the work]."
The department is currently advertising five specific jobs and four roles with multiple vacancies, as well as its temporary employment register.
Last month, Public Service Commissioner John Lloyd told a conference he "hardly ever read the claims against criteria" when he assessed job candidates, and preferred to just read their resumes.
"Some of them are extraordinarily long," he said, adding needless job criteria was an example of the public service allowing red tape to proliferate.
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