Getting a Job With the Hong Kong Government
Finding employment with the Hong Kong government can be a very successful and secure career path for many with an interest in public service. The positions within the government sector can be challenging yet rewarding and can even offer tremendous room for growth and advancement. There are typically a wide range of job openings available with various branches of government to cover a multitude of skills and interests. Unfortunately, finding a way in for an interview may not be as easy or as straight-forward as in the public sector. If you’re interested in pursuing a fulfilling career with the government in Hong Kong, the first step is to pass the Civil Service Examinations Unit, which consists of the Common Recruitment Examination, the Basic Law Test, and the Government Standard Examination.
Notifications for examination dates are typically mailed out to applicants either by post or email roughly two weeks ahead of the test date. The notification includes all the details regarding the time, location, and duration of the examinations. The Civil Service Bureau is strict with their examination policies and do not allow for alternate arrangements to be made so it is crucial that you make yourself available to attend your scheduled examination as requested.
The Common Recruitment Examination, or CRE, consists of three 45-minute exams to test for proficiency in English, proficiency in Chinese, and basic aptitude in reasoning. Applicants must pass all three sections in order to qualify for work as a Hong Kong government civil servant.
The Basic Law Test is a multiple choice exam of fifteen questions over a twenty minute period that ensures future government employees have a clear understanding of Hong Kong basic law. There may also be an oral examination of the Basic Law Test for certain civil service jobs. Although the test result of the BLT will be factored in the overall assessment of a job applicant, the exam score will not affect the eligibility of a candidate to apply for any particular government position. Because of this, the BLT is conducted independently of the recruitment process for the Civil Service Bureau and completion of the BLT itself will not necessarily imply that the candidate has met the basic requirements for employment with the Hong Kong government.
The Government Standard Examination is a two-part Chinese proficiency examination to guarantee that prospective employees are at a minimum Form 5 level. The first half of the exam tests the applicant’s knowledge on Chinese usage and grammar over a two hour period. The format includes filling in the blanks, sentence completion, comprehension, word and sentence correction, and practical writing. The second half of the exam is 90 minutes and requires candidates to write an essay in Chinese with a minimum of 600 words.
As the Government Standard Examination is a rather extensive and comprehensive test, it is best to practice in advance of the actual exam in order to avoid failure. The Civil Service Bureau provides sample questions for the composition portion of the exam that candidates can use as practice questions. Sit with the necessary stationery and time your writing for the allotted 90 minutes. Do this several times during the weeks and days leading up to the examination date in order to get used to the time requirement and elude any stress that may arise from the time constraints when you sit for the real exam.
Although applying for a government position may require a few more steps than a normal job in the private sector, the benefits of making a professional career as a civil servant has its man rewards. In order to make it through the application process, make sure you study up on the Basic Law of Hong Kong and your Chinese. The examinations required to work with the Hong Kong government are not necessarily hard, but they do need applicants to prepare for them well in advance of the examination date. Start your preparations early and get as much practice as possible, especially with the timed portion of the the exam. Get comfortable with the timing and format of the examinations and when you sit for the real test, you’ll be ready to claim your seat as a future employee of the Hong Kong government.