Australian Taxation Office


Large public organisations sometimes have a reputation for bureaucracy. The Australian Tax Office (ATO) is breaking that mold, thanks to Acendre’s cutting-edge recruitment software that allows the ATO to continuously innovate and improve.

With around 18,500 permanent employees, the ATO regularly processes large volumes of candidate applications for advertised vacancies. Facilitating recruitment can be incredibly complex,
and the ATO is committed to delivering a premiere experience for candidates and hiring managers.

After implementing Acendre’s eRecruit in 2008, the ATO noticed a significant improvement in its hiring processes with the introduction of automation. But that’s just the beginning of ATO’s journey with the technology: A strong partnership with Acendre has enabled ATO to take eRecruit to the next level, driving benefits ranging from recruitment and onboarding through to offboarding, as the organization supports key objectives of government.

Going paperless

Before implementing eRecruit, the ATO used a paper-based process for managing recruitment, which presented a range of challenges considering the scale of the agency’s recruitment.

The ATO can receive up to 6,500 applications for its graduate program alone, and at least 5,000 people typically apply for entry-level positions each year.

In bulk recruitment the ATO has been able to streamline processes so candidates applying for multiple roles or levels can be screened and interviewed once instead of multiple times. This has significantly improved efficiency experience for candidates and selection committees.

With eRecruit, the ATO can track these duplicate candidates and assess them for multiple roles simultaneously. In addition to this benefit, the following objectives were of primary importance
to the agency when transitioning to an automated recruitment system:

  • Reduce time to fill and cost per placement
  • Improve the candidate and delegate experience and
  • Provide a high level of transparency
  • Use of Analytics to gain greater insights into talent and redeployment pools as well as application and hiring processes

“Until we had access to eRecruit, we had very limited visibility across metrics to even estimate what recruitment was costing,” said Donna Ross, Executive Director at the ATO. “With Acendre,
our ability to refine our process really added to the candidate and delegate experience, and improved overall efficiencies in terms of time to fill and cost. But that’s just the beginning.”

With a successful e-recruitment strategy in place, the ATO decided to see where it could make other operational improvements.

Beyond recruitment: An IT platform

Working closely with the specialists at Acendre, the ATO developed an onboarding process. This enabled candidates with the ability to access pre-engagement paperwork and processes, including:

  • Security clearances
  • Police checks
  • Information required to commence pay (such as bank details and tax file numbers)
  • Conflict of interest and other declarations
  • Ability for candidates to accept Letter of offer online

“Our whole pre-engagement process is now online and incorporated into Acendre. That’s been just absolutely fabulous,” Ms Ross explained.

Faced with the government-driven challenge to reduce staff numbers by over 3,000 in six months, the ATO leveraged eRecruit to make this process as administratively easy and streamlined as possible. Acendre helped develop an offboarding workflow to support a large-scale voluntary redundancy program. This enabled the ATO to see who was interested in participating, assess who qualified for the program, and administer all requirements associated with finalization of employment.

This innovative process meant the ATO was able to use Acendre from recruitment to pre-engagement on boarding, all the way through to off-boarding within an integrated system.

Flexibility and partnership

In addition to these processes, the ATO has also been able to assist other agencies with their recruitment needs through eRecruit by hosting vacancies. They can even brand forms in the system for other agencies and for a full range of delegates.

For Ms Ross, the good working relationship her team has with Acendre has made all the difference – in addition to the flexibility and scope of the software.

“With the flexibility and capability we’ve been able to leverage off, and our working partnership with Acendre, we have been able to maintain a strong focus on development and control. We’re able to manage the cost of all this innovation affordably which delivers great return on investment.” Ms Ross noted.

“We’ve been able to achieve highly successful outcomes in a short period of time and with very minimal disruption to business as usual. So it’s been very highly successful.”

Conclusion: Ongoing improvement

As a whole, Acendre’s eRecruit has given the ATO far more than streamlined, cost-effective recruitment processes. In addition to improving the candidate and delegate experience, the platform enables candidate tracking and analysis of metrics, providing an unprecedented ability to leverage data.

Encouraged by these successes and the support it receives from Acendre, the ATO has continued to explore new possibilities. It’s currently working on more system enhancements such as enabling selection committees and delegates to directly upload data into e-Recruit as they assess candidates.