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The inside story: how to get a job in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Human Services

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 Fedora Burke, Manager – People & Culture at Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Health Service Brisbane. ATSICHS Brisbane have a diverse range of role, including Aboriginal health workers, Registered Nurses, Transport Drivers, Medical Receptionists, Administrative and Management roles, and other Health Care and Allied Heath roles.

Hi Fedora, thanks for chatting with us! To start off, can you tell us a bit about what the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Health Service Brisbane does?

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Health Service (ATSICHS) Brisbane is a not-for-profit community owned health and human services organisation delivering on the unique health and wellbeing needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in greater Brisbane and Logan.

We are the largest, most comprehensive Aboriginal medical health service in Queensland and Australia’s second oldest. We are determined to reinstate the wellbeing of our people—person by person, family by family, generation by generation.

We pride ourselves on providing health and human services, our way—supporting our people and community in our ongoing commitment to create a flourishing future and lasting legacy for them and their families.

What are some of the things that might attract candidates to apply to work at the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Health Service Brisbane?

  • Passion to work for community or not for profit organisation
  • Eager to work with mob and culture
  • Be part of a leading medical service
  • Work for a growing organisation
  • Access to salary sacrificing

What impact has the COVID-19 pandemic had to your organisation?

We have a lot of frontline health and human services staff who have been our #frontlineheros throughout the pandemic and have continued in their position despite the challenges. Those who could, transitioned to working remotely. Our human services programs have recommenced and the majority of staff have returned to work onsite.

So can you walk us through the recruitment process at the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Health Service Brisbane?

First, the Hiring Manager will review and shortlist candidates, then shortlisted candidates will be invited to a first round interview with the Manager and a Subject Matter Expert.

Then we do second round interviews with a Senior Manager and the People and Culture team.

Finally, reference checks and offer!

What are the top things you look for when assessing a candidate application?

We look for whether they meet the requirements of the position including experience, qualifications and skills. We also look at each candidate’s motivation for applying for the role and the individual’s alignment with our values and goals.

What’s the most common mistake you see candidates make in their applications?

We often get applications where the cover letter provided is not individualised to ATSICHS Brisbane. Another mistake candidates often makes is when they do not describe their transferable skills.

And if they make it to interview, who is a candidate most likely to meet on an interview panel at the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Health Service Brisbane?

All interviews will have a panel of at least two managers or a member of the Senior Management Team.

What advice would you give candidates to improve their interview skills?

  1. Authenticity is key – be yourself
  2. Do you research – know the company & the position
  3. Be results oriented – provide examples of how your skills match the position
  4. Attitude is everything
  5. Ask questions

Finally, what advice would you give to someone who wants to work at the ATSICHS Brisbane but perhaps doesn’t have the right qualifications or experience?

Look at lower level or entry level positions to get your foot in the door. This way you can gain experience at ATSICHS Brisbane and look for a pathway to transition into different roles. ATSICHS Brisbane is focused on employee progression and learning and provides a number of development opportunities, including 10 days per annum paid leave and scholarships.

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