What is the merit principle?

The merit principle reinforces quality, open and transparent selection decision-making. It is shorthand for APS recruitment processes where:

  • vacant positions are publicly advertised
  • role-based skills, attributes and requirements are identified
  • role-based assessment criteria are identified and known in advance by candidates
  • decisions are based on relative assessments of candidates against assessment criteria.

A simple approach to check for merit is to seek evidence that suggests:

  • the process is open and people given a reasonable opportunity to apply
  • the recommended candidate is the best person for the role
  • the decision stands up to scrutiny and there are no obvious conflicts of interest or undue influences.