The Guides to Social Policy Law is a collection of publications designed to assist decision makers administering social policy law. The information contained in this publication is intended only as a guide to relevant legislation/policy. The information is accurate as at the date listed at the bottom of the page, but may be subject to change. To discuss individual circumstances please contact Services Australia. Adequate job search


Assessment of whether a job seeker has undertaken adequate job search is undertaken in 2 parts. First, assessment is made regarding whether a job seeker has undertaken sufficient quantity of job search. Where job seekers have undertaken sufficient quantity, assessment can also be made regarding the quality of those job searches. This is intended to ensure that job seekers are genuinely looking for work, and not submitting non-genuine applications solely to meet their requirements.

Assessment of quantity

Job search cannot be considered adequate if job seekers do not undertake the number of job search efforts specified as part of their requirements.

Job search efforts include contacting employers (by telephone, in person or in writing), submitting written or online job applications, acting on a referral to a job or attending an interview. When a job seeker contacts a potential employer with the goal of finding work, this may be counted as a job search effort regardless of whether the contact is in relation to a particular job or whether the employer has advertised any vacancies.

Example: Woody contacts a local cattle station and asks if they need any workers. Even though the station has not advertised any positions, this counts as a job search effort.

However, when calculating the quantity of job searches undertaken in a period, only one job search will be counted if a job seeker contacts an employer regarding a single job more than once, or contacts a potential employer multiple times asking if any jobs are available. But, if a person contacts a single employer regarding multiple jobs, this may be counted as multiple job searches.

Example: Woody does not hear back from the cattle station, and contacts them again asking if any jobs are available. As Woody has contacted one employer within the one job search period, and it is not in relation to multiple jobs, this only counts as one job search.

Example: Alexander contacts a local employer to apply for an advertised position as a horse-trainer. Later the same period, Alexander contacts the same employer to apply for a management position. As Alexander has contacted the employer in regard to 2 separate positions, this counts as 2 job search efforts.

Assessment of quality

Even if a job seeker has applied for a sufficient quantity of jobs, this may not meet their job search requirements if they are not of sufficient quality. There are a number of factors that must be considered by the delegate (usually an employment services provider) when assessing if job search quality is adequate.

Delegates are required to consider whether the job seeker has looked for work:

  • at a variety of levels and pay
  • in a variety of fields
  • using a variety of methods.

However, these are not criteria that a person must meet in every period. The delegate must consider these factors holistically, taking into account the particular circumstances of the person and the previous job search efforts of the individual.

It may be inappropriate for job seekers to meet the above criteria in some circumstances and the delegate must use their judgement. For example, if the job seeker's employment services provider encourages the job seeker to focus their job search efforts during a period to the narrow field in which they are qualified, it would not be reasonable to assess that job search quality was inadequate, because they did not apply for jobs in a variety of fields.

Example: Antony has previous work experience in management roles. When he first becomes unemployed, all his job search is concentrated on management positions in the area he has experience. Antony's provider considers that this is appropriate, as it is Antony's best chance of finding sustainable employment. However, Antony is not successful in finding work, and so his provider directs him to broaden his job search to other areas, such as entry-level roles and roles in other industries. If Anthony continues to apply only for management roles in his field of experience, his provider may decide that he has not undertaken adequate job search efforts in a variety of fields and at a variety of levels.

Example: Johannes prefers to apply for jobs by mailing printed letters. However, he has had limited success with this approach, and his provider asks that he also apply for positions online, and by contacting employers in person.

Overall, the quality of job search efforts is generally adequate if the applications increase the likelihood of the job seeker finding suitable employment, relative to other search methods.

In addition to the considerations above, job search is also of inadequate quality if a job seeker submitted inappropriate or incomplete applications or evidence, deliberately sabotaged the application process or applied for positions for which they lack the relevant skills, experience or qualifications.

Example: Rick uploads a spreadsheet as evidence that he has met his job search requirement. When opened, this document does not contain the required information and instead plays a popular music video. These applications would not be considered adequate quality.

Example: Adam applies for a cashier role with Woolworths using an online form on their recruitment webpage, which he submits as evidence of his job search efforts. In the online form, Adam says that he is only applying for the role to keep receiving his Centrelink payment. Adam has sabotaged his prospects of getting the job, and his application would not be considered adequate quality.

Example: Amber is considering applying for a position as a Geologist, which requires specific tertiary qualifications and 5+ years of experience. Amber does not possess the required qualifications and does not have the required experience. Therefore, if Amber applied for this job, that application would not be considered adequate quality.

Example: Joan applies to work as a messenger, which requires a drivers' license. Joan is unable to drive, and realises that she would not be considered for the role. Therefore, Joan’s application would not be considered adequate quality.

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