Ever wondered what hiring managers are looking for when they recruit for Australia’s most sought-after NFPs?
In this series, we interview the people who hire at the organisations where you want to work — and we’ll give you the inside knowledge you need to make your next job application amazing.
This month we speak to Lisa Ryan, Talent Acquisition Specialist at Goodstart Early Learning — Australia’s largest early learning provider with over 665 centres, almost 15,000 employees and more than 70,000 children in their care.
Hi Lisa – thanks for chatting with us! To kick us off, can you tell us a bit about what Goodstart Early Learning does?
At Goodstart, we’re all about laying the foundation for better lives through great early learning experiences. We’re entirely Australian owned and not-for-profit with every dollar we spend directed towards helping children reach their full potential. Everything we do is about contributing to a better outlook for Australia’s children and a happier, more prosperous society.
What are some of the things that might attract candidates to apply to Goodstart Early Learning?
While our network is big, our heart is local. While we have more than 665 centres across Australia in every state and territory, each centre is unique and is passionate about embracing the diversity of their local community. Our centres work hard to bring diversity to life, from creating partnerships with local Aboriginal elders and culturally diverse groups, to tapping into the rich knowledge and customs of their staff and families.
Last but not least, our employees are at the heart of what we do. A real benefit of our size and scale is that we have incredible learning and professional development opportunities available for our employees. From secondments and study tours to specialist training, we give our staff the skills and knowledge to fulfil their potential. We even have our own Registered Training Organisation which offers a Diploma in Early Childhood Education and Care. Goodstart employees also enjoy significant discount on their own childcare, the ability to purchase additional leave, flexible working options and much more.
Can you walk us through the recruitment process at Goodstart Early Learning?
A candidate responds to one of our job vacancies, if they have the right skills and qualifications we then engage with the candidate.
We have an initial conversation and explore the motives behind their interest in Goodstart and ensure their values align to Goodstart’s vision.
We then ask candidates to complete some Gateway tasks that explore the candidate’s innate talent and key skills of the role they have applied for.
The candidate then meets with the hiring manager who explores their experience, passions and why they are interested in the role before finally selecting the candidate that is the best person for the role and who would be a great fit for their team.
Once the offer is accepted from the candidate, they then officially join our Goodstart family and induction begins! Before their first day there are some online training modules to complete to ensure they can start confidently already having an understanding of some of our fundamental policies and procedures, particularly around safety.
What are the top things you look for when assessing a candidate application?
We have the most amazing people in our Goodstart family. As well as relevant experience, transferable skills and qualifications we also actively seek new team members who are as passionate as we are about making a difference in the lives of children all across Australia. A key way we do this is to encourage candidates to submit a bio to express who they are as an individual, what their career aspirations are and to ensure our values align.
What’s the most common mistake you see candidates make in their applications?
There are a few common mistakes such as order of previous employment. It’s helpful to start with the details of your most recent job and make your way down. Spelling mistakes are another. Make sure to proof read your cv before submitting. It’s your first impression that you make to the employer so make sure you set off on the right foot.
And if they make it to interview, who is a candidate most likely to meet on an interview panel at Goodstart Early Learning?
They would meet the hiring manager which would be the person you will be reporting directly to and then maybe a colleague or someone from the departments leadership team.
What advice would you give candidates to improve their interview skills?
Always do your research on the company you are interviewing for. This will help you prepare to be the best candidate. Think of examples of achievements you have done previously, provide highlights of what work you have done in the past that correlates to the new role, let us know what makes you stand you out from the rest. Try not to get too nervous, let your personality come through and be confident with your answers. Easier said than done but practice does help build your confidence. Lastly, prepare some questions about the role at the end of the interview.
Finally, what advice would you give to someone who wants to work at Goodstart Early Learning but perhaps doesn’t have the right qualifications or experience?
We are always looking for great people to join our team. It depends on the role, but sometimes, if you have the right motivation, the right attitude, transferable skills and experience, that could win us over. I would also suggest doing some volunteer work to build on your experience.