Government Employer panel – February 2019

Monday 25th February -10am the Skills & Jobs Centre were fortunate to have three experienced People and Culture professionals from large Government employers in Geelong to talk about the job market, what they are looking for in potential employees, relevant information pertaining to applications for their workplaces, possible opportunities with their workplaces, and specific tips and tricks for job seeking and interviewing. It was a solid hour of valuable information, and the three presenters were generous with their time, sharing their unique insights into the growing and ever changing Geelong job market.

Panel Members:

  • Liz Taylor – TAC – Shared Services Team Manager – People and Culture
  • Sarah Greeney – Worksafe – Talent acquisition specialist
  • Ashely Shaw – City of Greater Geelong (COGG) – People and Organisational Development

Career Story of the presenters;

Liz currently holds a leadership role at TAC in People and Culture. Her career history was not however a direct path to HR. Liz kindly shared her background in administration, which lead to management of a contact centre. Liz spent some time working in the music industry, and then she was drawn into agency recruitment in Melbourne for a period of time. Liz has now been with TAC for 10 years and worked across both the People and Culture division and the client facing division. She shared that she has followed her heart, not necessarily her career in her career choices, this has lead to broad skill development and learning to be agile in her career.

Sarah loves working with people and commenced her career in administration in a recruitment agency, before she went on to work in EA/PA roles in the banking sector. From here she found herself in a recruitment assistant role. Following a move interstate she went on to work at a large casino recruiting all roles end to end including corporate and entry level hospitality roles. She then went to a University to provide career counselling services to students, and is now working as a Talent Acquisition Specialist with the Worksafe recruitment team. Sarah has focussed on building transferrable and employability skills, she has not focussed on her technical or academic qualifications to build her career.

Ashley has had a similarly diverse background to the other presenters, representing development of transferrable skills, rather than a focus on a direct career path with technical knowledge acquisition through formal avenues. Ashley worked in administration/accounts for a family business franchise, and worked in other administrative roles following this family business. He has faced two redundancies in the past and drove Taxi’s for a period of time. He then went on to an accounting role at a transport provider in Lara, and commenced some HR related work. He then went on to other transport and community based organisations in HR roles. The not for profit sector really stretched his capabilities where he worked with limited resources and a huge workload. He then worked in a HR consultancy where the role was not as it first appeared, then on to a large Hospital in a HR generalist role. He is now loving the recruitment focus of his role at COGG and brings his depth of life and work experience to the role.

Organisation Information – snapshot of information shared, see websites for further details;




TAC is an organisation of two parts – 1. Road Safety that we know from media

2. Social Insurance arm for those impacted by a transport accident – the insurance arm is the larger area of the two in the organisation.

Worksafe is also a business in two parts – 1. Health and Safety Inspector team

2. Workcover insurance to protect those when incidents happen – the insurance arm is the larger of the two.

Provides 34 services to the COGG area

2700 staff, with 530 volunteers.

TAC is a world leader in safety. Worksafe is currently working towards the 2030 strategy following a move of head office to a brand new state of the art building in Geelong. Most roles have little to do with the councillors per se, but rather focus on servicing the community.
900+ employees working towards the 2020 strategy. Aim for ZERO road toll – & goals to make the process simpler for clients. 700 employees in Geelong and 1200 employees Victoria-wide. Huge growth coming to the area with many opportunities in the Lovely Banks developments and Armstrong Creek space.
Large contingent workforce to manage the 2020 strategy.    


Qualifications/Skills/Roles available;

TAC Worksafe COGG
Broad range of roles available and many technical enhancements removes the traditional entry level administrative role Large breadth of roles – some very technical and some less so. Large range of roles – Learn to Swim instructors often recruited and the variety of roles expands through the various services provided to the COGG.
Two roles of note that are not entry level roles, but a way into the organisation – Customer Service, and Claims Support roles. The Advisory team function as a call centre and take a huge diverse range of calls from queries about licencing requirements to potential clients trying to understand the process for reporting a bullying claim. Really interesting role currently recruiting for is the Casual Administration relief officers – huge variety and scope in learning about the council and involvement at all levels and locations possible. Currently looking for 4 more to fill.
The Customer Service roles are in the client division dealing with clients, families, providers and are fast paced roles, ideally aim for first call resolution. Successful candidates need to demonstrate communication skills, resilience, and the ability to change their style to different enquiries. Lower level administration roles do not necessarily require qualifications, however it is possible a certificate III or IV could be a benefit.
Key skills are communication, accuracy, agility, adeptness, resilience – most of these are life skills and transferrable. Key skills for Worksafe involve problem solving abilities, and a willingness to face change. Huge growth in surrounding regions that will swell to the size of large regional townships in their own right. Lots of opportunities in Town Planning, Engineering and development based growth.
TAC are looking for people with a growth mindset and to see evidence of potential employees who have this through a willingness to learn. Strategic change for the direction of the organisation – current focus is also a growth mindset with flexibility and resilience. Those interested are encouraged to keep an eye on the website and all the opportunities, signing up to the alerts.
Claims Support roles are administrative roles in a contemporary manner, focussing on supporting rehabilitation providers, letter writing, database work.    
Ideally candidates will show their technical skills through articulating their experience.    

Application process and suggestions;

TAC Worksafe COGG
Revie information available about applications available on websites and podcasts, do your research. Worksafe like to see the selection criteria as part of the documents, not necessarily a separate document – Position Description has the selection criteria built in and it is important to pick out the key elements they are looking for. Key Selection Criteria is required if requested and noted on advertisement.
Encouraged to create a shorter resume – this is a living document. Encouraged to write a list from the advertisement and PD the things that the role is seeking, and then overlay this with a list of the things that you can put into your cover letter and resume and ensure these are covered off. Can have separate documents for your application and you can upload three separate documents 1. Cover letter, 2. Resume, 3. Selection criteria.
Important to understand what the organisation is looking for and have the ability to represent yourself as you are now in your career. Resumes are encouraged to be no more than 2-3 pages, and a cover letter needs to be very structured. A cover letter to the COGG requires a short and succinct letter covering off on your information and why you want to apply, this can be more generic in their view.
Ensure that the organisation is aligned to your values and you understand their values and direction. Cover letter – 4 paragraphs highlighting that you expect an outcome from this and invite a meeting;

1.      Intro – job applying

2.      About you – overlay your skills

3.      Why you want to    work here

4.      Conclusion – looking forward to an opportunity to discuss further

The resume must be tailored to the roles and need to make sure that the words pop out on the page.
Use language that is relevant to the role, ensure that you stand out and understand that this is an advertisement of who you are.   KSC – can ideally have one paragraph per criteria and use the STAR technique.
Think about why you want to work for this business and how your skills match, use this as your advertisement.   Overall the KSC is seeking to have demonstrated examples of your experience.
Position description must be expressed in the cover letter – tailor your resume and cover letter, using the words in the PD. BUT make sure you are telling your story – overlay this in the cover letter.

Cover off on the achievements in your application and talk about how the values of the organisation resonate for you.

TAC are clear on their values and there will be a question about these at interview, these were developed by the staff about two years ago and they are very important to the daily business of the TAC.    

Interview information;

TAC Worksafe COGG
Advice from TAC;

·        Use notes

·        Prepare and practice

·        You will have a panel – 2-3 people with diversity

·        Take notes

·        Interview is about mutual fit

·        Slow down and think during the interview

·        Consider your key points

·        Research the business and consider why this role, why this step in your career

·        Use the props, drink the water

Advice from Worksafe;

·        Ensure you talk about yourself in a structured way and consider this question

·        Do prepare

·        Have the ability to provide an overview of yourself and skills

·        Consider what brought you to this interview today – why?

·        Think about what you do outside work?

·        Behavioural based interviewing will be used – use STAR technique

Advice from COGG;

·        Think about how you can articulate any negative employment experiences

·        Ensure you are aware of the behavioural based interviewing technique and be aware of the STAR method.

·        If a recruitment panel are probing – you have not quite nailed the answer just yet

·        Practice!

·        Be aware that past experiences are a predictor of future performance = this is the goal of behavioural based interviewing.

Ensure you take notes in of what you want to cover and ensure your achievements are covered. Think about what you really want them to know about you, consider these elements non-negotiable and ensure they are shared. Questions for the end of the interview;

·        What are the business objectives for the year ahead?

·        What is the team like?

·        What is the structure?

·        What are the opportunities?

·        What are the challenges for the team?

If there are some reasonable adjustments that can be made to accommodate a disability, let the recruitment team know in advance – be open and honest to eliminate any barriers.   Larger organisations do not encourage you to cold call about opportunities, but to use the website to stay in touch and register for alerts.
Examples provided in the interview could ideally be contained to the last 5 years of work experience – can draw on study, work, volunteering etc.    
References will ideally be professional references, so ensure that you are clear on where this may come from – maybe volunteering etc.    

Final advice from the panel was that the Geelong market is changing and developing all the time for businesses and employees. Things have changed in the job seeking in the area, you require discipline, research, and consideration of the many and varied opportunities that are out there.

Candidates are encouraged to continue to research and forecast the future growth in the Geelong region. Ultimately, if TAC, Worksafe, or COGG are employers that you would like to work for. Set this goal and strive to build appropriate experiences to get to that role. Think about the steps that you may need to take in your career to reach that goal.