What you what you need to know to get into a disability service job

Posted on Nov 16, 2017 01:52 PM |

Have you ever wondered what hiring managers are looking for when they recruit for Australia's most sought-after NFPs?

In this series on the Ethical Jobs Blog, we interview the people who hire at the organisations where you want to work – and we'll give you the insider knowledge you need to make your next job application amazing.

This month we speak to Jason Stojkovski, Recruitment Specialist at Northcott. Northcott is one of Australia’s largest not-for-profit disability service organisations, and has been operating for more than 85 years in NSW and the ACT. It employs around 1,000 staff who service more than 13,500 people each year, and who work in areas like support work, as well as “back office” jobs like admin, marketing and more.

Hi Jason – thanks for chatting with us! To kick off, can you tell us a bit about what Northcott really does?

Northcott is a not-for-profit disability service provider that works with customers to realise their potential.

As one of Australia’s largest not-for-profit disability service organisations, we’re a registered NDIS provider and we deliver services from metropolitan and regional locations throughout NSW. Our customers receive personalised and dynamic support that’s delivered by our highly committed team of almost 1,000 staff.

Our experience and expertise gives confidence to our customers that they are in good, trustworthy hands. Our commitment to innovation and pushing boundaries also allows us to tackle any challenge currently creating barriers for our customers to reach their potential.

Sounds inspiring! Can you walk us through Northcotts recruitment process?

We are always on the hunt to recruit passionate and dedicated candidates to join our team!

Our recruitment process is as follows:

  1. Shortlisting suitable candidates who match the relevant job criteria;
  2. Hearing more about what the candidates have to offer with a brief phone screening process;
  3. Once a candidate has been successful through the phone screen stage, we then invite them in for an interview. The interview may either be a one-on-one interview or a group-based interview;
  4. If the candidate progresses to the next stage, we then begin the probity checks. This includes collecting police checks, Working With Children Check, establishing working rights and completing reference checks, as well as organising a functional assessment;
  5. Once the candidate has successfully completed all probity checks, an offer of employment is made;
  6. The final step in the process is to undergo relevant inductions and training prior to commencement in the role. We believe that this is a critical step, as we want all staff to be prepared and feel supported in their role.

So what are the top things you look for when assessing a candidate’s application?

Northcott is a values-based organisation that strives to foster a workplace culture based on our core values of being:

  • Friendly and Considerate
  • Committed and Enthusiastic
  • Innovative and Responsive
  • Ethical and Courageous
  • Professional and Competent

In our non-frontline roles, we look for experience, training, education, attention to detail when addressing the selection criteria, and why the person is attracted to working at Northcott.

However, not all of our roles require a candidate to have experience and for our frontline recruitment process this is guided by the above values. During our group recruitment, we have fun activities that assess candidates on the above values.

Our main objective is to support customers to reach their full potential, so we are always on the hunt to find the right candidates who have the ability to work well in a team that displays strong cultural and organisational values.

Still on the application process, what are some of the most common application mistakes candidates make?

Not providing a descriptive resume and cover letter – having a detailed resume/cover letter is essential, as you need to sell yourself to the recruiter.

Think of it this way: there are several candidates who will be applying for the same role, so we are always looking for candidates who stand out from the rest.

Who is a candidate most likely to meet in an interview at Northcott?

The candidate can expect to meet someone from the recruitment team and/or the hiring manager. We also like to include some of our customers in the process, especially for our frontline roles.

And what are some of the main mistakes candidates make in interviews?

Some candidates arrive at interviews not knowing much about Northcott or the role that they have applied for.

Candidates that arrive at interviews prepared and focused instantly gain our attention. Enthusiasm, commitment and passion are a few elements that we look for in a candidate.

Which roles do you find the hardest to fill at Northcott?

Northcott is growing rapidly and we need great staff to support the organisation. We are continuously seeking talented allied health professionals and support workers.

Accredited speech pathologists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, behaviour support practitioners are some of the most in demand for our expanding team.

And just to finish, what advice would you give to someone who wants to work at Northcott but might not have the right qualifications or experience?

Give the HR team a call and we can give you a detailed description on what we are looking for. You might be the candidate we are looking for!

Volunteer with us! This will provide a great opportunity to build your knowledge and skills about the industry.

Not all our roles require a candidate to have experience! Northcott also recruits candidates who might not have experience in the industry but still have what we are looking for. For example, we often recruit support workers who don’t have experience in the field but have the ability to display strong work ethics.

Thanks so much, Jason!


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