Ever wondered what hiring managers are looking for when they recruit for Australia’s most sought-after ethical organisations?
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 Wende Marsh, Manager, People & Culture at Leisure Networks, an organisation that provides a wide range of NDIS services and programs, focusing on building life-skills, confidence and social connections.
Hi Wende! Thanks for chatting with us. To kick us off, can you tell us a bit about what Leisure Networks does?
Leisure Networks is a not-for-profit community organisation providing disability support for over 30 years. Our guiding mission of connecting people with community is present in all of the services we offer.
We provide a wide range of disability supports including support coordination, financial plan management, group and individual supports, and independent living.
We also work with community sporting clubs, leagues, state sporting bodies and other key partners to tailor programs and resources to support the development of strong sustainable clubs and inclusive community activities.
What are some of the things that might attract candidates to apply to Leisure Networks?
We find that candidates are attracted to Leisure Networks due to our direct impact in the community. Candidates relish the opportunity to create that impact and improve outcomes for the people we support.
Leisure Networks offers a range of career opportunities from direct support to working behind the scenes in our enabling roles. Our values include Make It Fun and Show Respect and we believe that these values and our high focus on culture empower staff to bring their best self to work every day.
We provide a fun and inclusive work environment while also having a flex first approach to our work that allows us to work with staff to enable the best results for our customers. We conduct a staff engagement survey every February and a smaller Pulse survey every August to check in with staff and provide them with an opportunity to provide feedback about their work, our culture and our organisation.
So walk us through the recruitment process at Leisure Networks
We at Leisure Networks like to make the recruitment process as enjoyable as possible for everyone. We like to look for the positives in all of our candidates and look for reasons to hire you. The first step is submitting a resume and cover letter. If your skills and experience match what we are looking for, a member of our People & Culture team will contact you for a pre-screening phone call to find out more about you and what you are looking for in an organisation.
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If everything aligns in the pre-screen, we will arrange an interview between you, a People & Culture member and your future team leader or manager. After the interview you’ll be notified if we are moving on to the next step which is reference checks and then we officially move to the offer stage which is typically made by your future team leader to welcome you to the team and Leisure Networks.
What are the top things you look for when assessing a candidate application?
We look for people who can bring a positive contribution to our culture and embody our values. Some roles may require formal qualifications or previous experience which can make a candidate stand out when applying for roles.
At the interview stage, we like to see candidates who are prepared and know who we are and what we do. A little bit of research can go a long way! To help with this, we always send candidates booked in for interview a copy of the position description and our culture code. For other positions, we also provide a copy of the interview questions for candidates to prepare and to take away some of the nerves involved with interviews.
What’s the most common mistake you see candidates make in their applications?
For us the most common mistake is not reading the position description prior to applying for a position and then applying for a position when you don’t meet the selection criteria set out in the position description. It’s also a good idea to tailor your application for the specific role you are applying for and showcasing your skills and experience for that role rather than using a generic application that doesn’t show us how perfect you are for us and the position.
And if they make it to interview, who is a candidate most likely to meet on an interview panel at Leisure Networks?
Typically, our interviews are conducted with the hiring manager for the position you have applied for and a representative from our People & Culture team. Sometimes when teams work closely together, you’ll also have another team leader included in the interview if they are someone that you might be working with on a day-to-day basis.
Occasionally and for certain positions, we might bring you back for a second interview where you might meet the team you would be working with or a member of the executive team. These are usually informal and held in a relaxed environment so that you have a chance to get to know the people without the stress of a formal interview.
What advice would you give candidates to improve their interview skills?
The most important thing will always be to read through the information we send you prior to the interview including the position description and culture code. Our relentless focus on culture means we are always looking for candidates who are also highly invested in our culture. Use the position description to ensure you are aware of the requirements of the role and how your skills and experience match those in the position description. If we have provided you with the interview questions in advance, read through those and think about how you will answer those questions but try and keep your responses natural.
Finally, just be you! We like to ensure our interviews are a positive space that provide candidates with the opportunity to find out more about us and make sure that we are an organisation that you want to work for. Show us your personality and what makes you the best person for the role.
Finally, what advice would you give to someone who wants to work at Leisure Networks but perhaps doesn’t have the right qualifications or experience?
While some of our roles will require specific experience or qualifications, we also look at transferable skills and personal qualities that we may need at any time. Above all, we are looking for team members who are passionate about making a difference. While skills and experience are important; enthusiasm, flexibility and creativity are essential.
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