6.1 Advertising

Advertising a position can help departments and entities to reach a much wider audience than other methods and may attract nominations from unexpected sources. Advertising also helps to ensure greater transparency and accountability in the recruitment process and is the preferred method for informing an individual that a Board vacancy has arisen. Advertisements should not be considered only as newspaper or web based advertising. An advertisement is a public notification of a vacancy and should be put in a broad range of mediums, such as those outlined in Section 6.1.2.

6.1.1 Writing an Advertisement and Instructions for Advertisements

When starting to write an advertisement for a vacancy there are a range of things the responsible governance officer(s) should consider. These are outlined in Table 14.

Table 14: Writing an advertisement
What is the role? Use the role description that has been developed as a guide.
What kind of person would you like to apply?
What are the elements of the role that will attract your target audience?
What information will they require?
Is the advertisement short and clear?

Advertising positions is the responsibility of Ministers and their departments or public entity. All advertisements must be booked through the Master Agency Media Service as outlined in the Appointment and Remuneration Guidelines for Victorian Government Boards, Statutory Bodies and Advisory Committees.1

 Table 15: Instructions for advertisements
Theme Instructions
Instructions for advertisements The advertisements should: 

  • encourage women and other target groups to apply by advertising in mediums they will access
  • specify the number of vacancies
  • outline the duties and responsibilities of the position
  • outline the criteria required for selection
  • outline the average number of meetings per year, the time commitment and locality of meetings
  • be published at least ten working days before the closing date for applications
  • be timed appropriately to receive maximum exposure. Advertisements should not be published during holiday periods, such as December to January, as this has been found to substantially reduce the number of candidates applying for a vacant position.

6.1.2 Advertising Options

There are a range of options, besides using major metropolitan newspapers, for advertising a vacancy. Depending on the target audience, advertisements may be placed in a range of different mediums. Targeted advertising may be required to ensure appropriate candidates apply for the vacancy. This sub-section provides examples of the types of advertising options that can be used.

Table 16: Advertising options
Advertising options
Advertising can be undertaken in the following mediums: 

  • major metropolitan newspapers
  • regional newspapers
  • community newspapers/newsletters
  • community groups
  • industry publications
  • professional women’s networks
  • professional journals or websites
  • professional associations
  • multicultural organisations
  • culturally and linguistically diverse media
  • departmental websites.

6.2 Candidate Referrals

The use of referrals (by Chairs, departmental secretaries, Ministers, industry leaders and others) is a legitimate way of sourcing potential candidates. Individuals referred to a department or public entity should go through the same recruitment process (including interviewing) as all other candidates so they are assessed against the same criteria and to ensure that consistent recruitment processes are followed. This section outlines examples of the individuals and organisations that may refer candidates. These referrals should be requested by the responsible governance officer(s) or the selection panel.

Table 17: Candidate referrals
Candidate referrals can be sought from: 

  • Ministers
  • Board Chairs
  • Board Directors
  • Chief Executive Officers
  • departmental secretaries and senior officers
  • business bodies
  • industry bodies
  • professional bodies
  • community groups
  • many others.

6.3 Executive Searches

There are occasions where advertising, referrals from individuals or the use of databases do not produce suitable candidates. A Minister, department or public entity may decide that for some positions an executive search company may be used to develop a list of potential candidates. Outlined below are the key tasks an executive search company can undertake.

Table 18: What can an executive recruitment consultant do?
Create a role description and assist with identifying the right skills.
Source and attract candidates.
Compile evidence about each candidate’s capacity to succeed in the role in line with the requirements of the role and the key selection criteria.
Communicate with candidates about the process and the progress and broker answers to questions candidates may have about the role or process.
Conduct initial screening interviews.
Compile a short-list of preferred candidates.
Assist with short-listing, interviews and referee checks.
Maintain records and document the process of decisions made.

There are a number of tasks an executive recruitment search company should not be asked to undertake, these are outlined below.

Table 19: What can an executive recruitment consultant not do?
Identify the strategic direction of the public entity.
Conduct all the interviews with candidates or referrees.
Make the decision about who to recruit.
Communicate the recruitment decision to the relevant Minister or department, to the successful candidate or other top-ranked candidates.

Outlined below are some tips on how to engage executive recruitment firms to ensure the best possible results.

Table 20: Tips for engaging executive recruitment firms
Put processes in place to effectively manage and actively engage and brief the executive search company throughout the recruitment process.
Ensure the executive search company has taken steps to understand the public entity and the role of the Board Directors/Chair.
Ensure the executive search company has a variety of strategies in place for seeking candidates who may not actively look for a Board Director position.
Determine if the executive search company has expertise in evaluating Board Director capabilities.
Give the executive search company clear instructions about the role, responsibilities and remuneration of the position. This may include information on the functions and objectives of the public entity as well as and any role analysis that has been undertaken.
Ensure the executive search company has access to relevant stakeholders such as departmental staff or the Board Chair to ensure they have access the knowledge and information they require.
Give the executive search company a detailed checklist outlining the process and procedures to be followed to ensure consistency with government policies and practices.
Advise the executive search company that all applicants must complete a standard application form.
Advise the executive search company that the Department or public entity may be responsible for interviewing candidates, deciding who to recruit, communicate the decision to the relevant Minister, department and the successful candidate.

6.4 Target Groups

To attract target groups, for example, women, young people, candidates from a range of backgrounds, such as, indigenous people, people from multicultural backgrounds, people with disabilities and rural and regional Victoria, targeted advertising may be required.Outlined below is the government policy that may impact on the selection and appointment of public entity Directors.

Table 21: Government policy
It is Government policy to:
increase the representation of women on Government Boards and committees by setting a target of 50 per cent of new appointees will be women. In order to try and increase the number of women on Government Boards, the Office of Women’s Policy (OWP) should be consulted on all full-time and part-time appointments. This consultation should take place at the start of the recruitment process, that is, once the role has been advertised or when potential candidates are being sought through referrals. The OWP should be provided with information relating to the knowledge and skills, personal qualities and specialist expertise required to perform in the role. This will ensure that the OWP is able to provide departments or entities the most appropriate list of candidates.
build the capacity for increasing the participation and direct representation of Indigenous Victorians across all levels of Government. Aboriginal Affairs Victoria may be consulted where specific advice on Indigenous nomination is considered desirable.
ensure that all Government and Government funded services are responsive to and reflect Victoria’s culturally diverse community. The Victorian Multicultural Commission may be consulted on strategies to foster inclusive appointment processes.
give young Victorians a real voice in Government. The Office for Youth may be consulted where the appointment of youth representatives is under consideration.
encourage participation from regional Victoria.
encourage participation by people with a disability.


  1. Department of Premier and Cabinet, as updated, Appointment and Remuneration Guidelines for Victorian Government Boards, Statutory Bodies and Advisory Committees,Department of Premier and Cabinet,Victoria.