Excited about improving the lives of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander kids? Here's how to get a job at peak body SNAICC
Have you ever wondered what hiring managers are looking for when recruiting for Australia's most sought-after NFPs?
In this series on the Ethical Jobs Blog, we’re interviewing the people who hire at the organisations you want to work in – and we'll give you the insider knowledge you need to make your next job application amazing.
This month we spoke to Susan Kay, the Organisational Services Coordinator at SNAICC. Based in Melbourne, SNAICC is the national non-government peak body representing the interests of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families. It works across fields as diverse as policy and research and education and training.
Hi Susan – thanks for chatting to us! To start off, can you give us a brief rundown of what SNAICC actually does?
SNAICC is the national non-government peak body in Australia for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. We work for the fulfilment of their rights and, in particular, to ensure their safety, development and wellbeing.
SNAICC’s key roles are to undertake research and policy development; deliver training and resource design, development and delivery; and undertake resource development, communications and publications.
Can you walk us through the recruitment process at SNAICC?
Our recruitment process is fairly intimate, as we are a small organisation employee-wise.
Firstly, team managers will notify me of a position they would like to advertise. Then, a position description is reviewed or created and we manage the recruitment ourselves, usually advertising on two or three job websites.
As we are an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisation, and are growing our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff numbers, we also ask staff to circulate and promote SNAICC vacancies amongst their professional and personal networks.
During the application stage, what are the top things you look for when assessing who to bring into an interview?
We particularly encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicants – they're highly desired.
But more generally, we look for candidates who meet the key selection criteria!
Beyond that, it's also vital they have a broad knowledge and solid understanding of the issues impacting upon Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, and a commitment to their rights, needs and aspirations.
We also look for experience working with – and the ability to liaise with – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, communities and services, in a respectful and culturally aware manner.
Excellent interpersonal, written and verbal communication skills are also really important, as are workplace skills like the ability to work as part of a team comprised of people with diverse cultural backgrounds.
So what are some of the common mistakes candidates make in their applications?
The most common error candidates make is failing to submit written responses addressing each of the selection criteria, and providing short examples.
There are a few others that come to mind: incorrect spelling and grammar; submitting applications that aren’t targeted at or pitched to the position advertised; and not following the application instructions or supplying the requested documentation.
And what are some of the most common mistakes candidates make at the interview stage?
Not listening to the interview questions, and not addressing the key selection criteria in their responses!
Another mistake is not taking the time to relax or take a few deep breaths before answering a question – that often means they end up talking too much.
Who would a candidate likely meet at an interview at SNAICC?
The interview panel usually consists of the manager or coordinator of the team the position sits within and an Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander staff member. For senior positions, we also include a SNAICC board member.
So what kinds of qualities do people need to succeed at SNAICC?
There's a lot we look out for: we want candidates with initiative who are self-motivated and self-directed. You need to be willing to try new things and be challenged – to go the extra mile.
It's also important that candidates are team players, have good verbal and written communication skills, and strong public speaking abilities.
And obviously, we need candidates to be committed to and passionate about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs.
Which roles are the hardest to fill at SNAICC, and why?
It's not so much a specific role, but recruiting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff is always a challenge – even though we are an Indigenous organisation.
And finally, what advice would you give to someone who wants to work at SNAICC but might not have the right experience or qualifications?
Research SNAICC – understand our organisation and what we do, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs and issues in general.
Promote your strengths and transferable skills regarding the job you are interested in. If you do your homework, apply yourself well and demonstrate your enthusiasm and drive, you may well get a foot in the door. Volunteering with us is also a great way in.
Thanks for your time, Susan!
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