Insights into the Health Sector employer panel 2018

Careers in the Health Sector:

Insights from St John of God Geelong Hospital , Epworth Healthcare & Barwon Health

As many of you would be aware, the health care and social assistance industry is Australia’s biggest employer. We were honoured to hold the Health Sector Insight Employer Panel in July 2018. The panel members presented an overview of their organisation and an insight into their sector as well as an outline of their recruitment process and types of opportunities available.

The panel consisted of:
Mick Fuller (Senior HR Manger) Epworth Healthcare
Jacinta Kenny (Talent Acquisition Adviser) Barwon Health
Dinie MacRae (Learning & Development Manager) and Michael Trainor St John of God Geelong Hospital

Epworth Healthcare
Mick Fuller – Senior HR Manager

Epworth has been around for 100 years and is the largest private not for profit hospital. Epworth moved to Geelong in 2016. They had 400 employees in July when they opened and now has 950 employees. The Epworth Group employs over 7000 people with the majority of staff employed in Richmond.

Potential employees need to be passionate about the organisation and motivated by shared values. He says although technical skills are important it is the shared cultural values that are important. He was attracted to the Epworth name and the professional and diverse environment they offer.

The Epworth Workforce
As a hospital, hospitality is the key so any background in hospitality is good. Epworth is a service industry and prioritises patient focussed skills then looks at other skills: technical and transferable

Clinical and general staff opportunities can include:
Theatre Technicians: Involves bringing in the equipment and setting up the theatre. Certified role so you need a Certificate to be employed. Shortage of theatre technicians in Geelong.

Administrative Positions: Includes Reception, Personal Assistants and Ward Clerks. Lots of competition for a small number of roles.

Food Services
Primarily employs people with hospitality skills and emphasises customer service.

Food Service Model involves personalised service following a hotel model. The menu is catered to your personal needs, including medical and dietary requirements.

What Epworth looks for in an employee

Technical Skills
Skills/Qualifications that are required for each role
NB: If qualifications are required, candidates will have the same qualifications.

Non-Technical Skills – This is where people can differentiate themselves

Employability skills that transfer from past experiences: teamwork, communication/customer service, organisational skills etc

Values – Epworth takes their values very seriously

Respect, Excellence, Community, Compassion, Integrity, Accountability

Look on the website and find out about the values. In an interview, think about how your values align with theirs.

NB: As a hospital, hospitality is key.

Epworth’s Recruitment Process

Application process
Requires Cover Letter (1 Page) and Resume (2- 3 pages).
The layout must be easy to read and formatting consistent.
Tailor to organisation and reflect the values and mission, particularly in the Profile or Career Objective in the Resume
Ensure your past employment reflects the skills required. Tailor these to the position

Interview process
Preparation is key as it shows respect for the organisation.
There will be a values question so give a tangible and authentic example of where you demonstrated the value.
Use the STAR process: Focus on a clear example and allow your self time to respond
Practice well.
It is a Face-to-face Interview – 45min – 1hr with hiring manager and a representative from HR.
Come prepared and know about the environment. Make sure to check the website. This shows motivation, respect and initiative.

Advertising of roles
95% of roles are advertised, as they are looking for the best person for the role.
Advertised on:
Epworth website –
Specialty Job Boards

Can complete an Expression of Interest on the website, indicating the roles you are interested in, and you will receive an email to notify when those types of roles are advertised.

How to apply for a job at Epworth
Submit a Resume, Cover Letter and response to Key Selection Criteria.

4-5 page maximum
Don’t be distracting
Don’t use colour or different font throughout the document
Keep professional
Use a single font in 11 or 12pt
No photos

Cover letter
Tailor your cover letter – very important!
Make sure to change the name of the company – this shows care and attention to detail
Brief and to the point
1 page
Demonstrate what you can bring to Epworth

Key Selection Criteria
Flexible with regards to addressing Key Selection Criteria and won’t always ask for this to be completed separately
Look at the Position Description and address how your skills match and how your motivation fits
Show that you are committed to professional development
Show your connection to the community. This can be through involvement with sporting clubs or coaching your kid’s soccer team. This tells about you as a person.
Lots of people have the technical skills, but less meet the criteria of fit, culture and personality.

Barwon Health
Jacinta Kenny – Talent Acquisition Adviser 

Barwon Health is the largest employer in Geelong, employing over 7000 people. They look after people from birth through to death and have 21 sites, including the hospital, Grace McKellar Centre, a number of Aged Care facilities and look after patients all the way to the South Australian border. Values driven organisation.

Health is the fastest growing industry in Geelong and Barwon Health advertises 40 jobs per week on average. It is an exciting industry with new innovations and a secure future. You may not get the role you want but getting a foot in the door is crucial as this allows you to move around later. Talent Community means that you can upload a profile and it will come to Jacinta’s team.

The Barwon Health Workforce
Volunteers are important and this may be a pathway into Barwon Health
Employees are diverse: technical and then areas such as administrative and food services
In administrative roles positions are often casual to start but allows you to get an overview of the organisation, gain experience and monitor internal positions, so it could be a stepping stone. Jacinta recommended autotyping as requiring many people and top of the list in the casual pool needs.

Casual Administration Pool
Administration roles are highly contested but Jacinta recommended registering with the Casual Administration Pool when open.

Seen as internal candidates, so can apply for internal roles. Allows you to connect with different departments.

What Barwon Health looks for in an employee
All about the attitude in particular shared values and understanding the mission of Barwon Health in helping the community.

People who are excited about working in health care and are passionate about improving patients outcomes and understanding

Barwon Health’s Recruitment Process

Application Process:
Tailor both Cover Letter and Resume to the position and organisation
Don’t upload the wrong resume or cover letter and ensure there are no mistakes in names, dates or positions.
In the resume the Career Objective or Profile is a chance to link to the values and mission of Barwon Health.
Focus on the skills required and align your past employment to demonstrate those skills

Interview Process
Decentralised process – each manager runs their own interviews.
Phone Interview First

Panel of 2 or 3 including the manager in that area
Talk about your passions and how you align with Barwon Health’s values.
Make sure you are prepared and take notes in.
Research: Website, Position Description, Values
If you know someone who works at Barwon Health, ask them!
Call the Manager (if name on ad) and ask questions to start to build your relationship.
They understand that it’s scary and you’ll probably be nervous.
Will be asked behavioural questions so have examples ready. Will require the use of STAR and centre around awareness of self, communication and relationship building skills
Ensure positive examples are used.
Will be asked motivation/values question such as Why do you want to work with us.

Advertised on the website –
Huge pool of volunteers.

Advertising of roles
Lots of internal advertising, due to the Enterprise Bargaining Agreement and the fact that Barwon Health encourages people to progress.

Casual Positions – lots of casual positions come up. Don’t be scared to apply as there are opportunities to pick up more shifts once you are in the door.

Can register your interest online and will be sent job alerts.

Advertised on the website –

How to apply for a job at Barwon Health

Before you apply, think about:
Can you be available 24/7?
Are you passionate and excited about this industry?

Need to upload a Cover Letter, Resume and then answer the Key Selection Criteria.

Only include what’s relevant and focus on your key skills
Have a profile at the top to give a snapshot of you at a glance
Clear and concise, easy to read with a good layout
Include volunteering opportunities as this shows your connection to the community and can demonstrate required skills.

Cover Letter
Link yourself to the organisation and values.
Talk about 3 – 4 top skills
Show your passion clearly through what you have done before.

Key Selection Criteria
Part of the process.
Use clear examples and stick to the focus.
Use STAR technique

Dinie MacRae – Learning & Development Manager
Michael Trainor – Director of Mission and Integration

To meet the needs of the people of Greater Geelong and the Western District, our hospital has expanded to 276 beds, with more than 400 accredited medical practitioners offering services that include:

medical and surgical
cancer care
intensive and cardiac care

People and culture matter, along with caring relationships within our hospital. Our focus is driven by our mission and values. Potential will need to demonstrate that they align to the values and are the right fit for the culture and the organisation.

Our Values – The core Values reflect our heritage and guide our behaviours:

Hospitality – A welcoming openness to all; to the familiar and the mystery of self, people, ideals, experience, nature and to God.
Compassion – Feeling with another in their discomfort or suffering and striving to understand the other’s experience with a willingness to reach out.
Respect – An attitude treasuring the unique dignity of every person and recognising the sacredness of all creation.
Justice – A balanced and fair relationship with yourself, neighbour, all of creation and God.
Excellence – Giving the optimum standard of care and service within available resources.

St John of God Geelong – Workforce

Technical/Clinical and General Opportunities

Allied Health, Theatre Technician, Nursing (all students may complete placements which may provide opportunities for employment)

Other roles: Administration, Food Services, Patient Service

Volunteer experience is valued and provides opportunities to gain experience within a hospital.

Clinical coders are much sort after and paid well.

What SJOG looks for in an employee
Applicants need to demonstrate motivation to work with the organisation along with a genuine interest in the role they are applying for.

How to apply for a job at SJOG
Register on the website and receive an email alert.
Applications should include: cover letter, key selection criteria and resume (try to focus on what you bring to the role and the organisation – (ie experience, volunteering, and match to culture)

Interview Preparation (Behavioural Interview)
Ensure you prepare and practice. Know why you want to work with us, why you want the role, what’s important to you and how you align to SJOG’s mission and values. TIP: Some of the questions you may be asked include: teamwork, initiative, time management, strengths and weaknesses

Helpful Tips (General)
There are lots of casual opportunities, so make the most of these. We are very lucky in Geelong that we have a great hospital network.

Casual gets your foot in the door and there are lots of opportunities. People are working across multiple organisations and hospitals in Geelong.

You are able to put in your availability on a weekly or monthly basis and it will match to what manager’s need.

It’s ok if you aren’t available all the time or if you can’t do a shift, as there is a big pool of casuals.

However, be responsive. If you are knocking back lots of shifts, it will seem like you are not available.

People are moving around the organisation more, opening up more opportunities.

Interviews: Be early (remember hospitals can be difficult to navigate and/or find parking), presentation is important, be confident, smile, shake hands with the interviewers and ensuring you have at least one or two questions prepared at the end of the interview.

If you are interested in a career in the health sector, require assistance with your application or interviews, please book your FREE one-on-one appointment with any of the Skills and Jobs Centre by calling 5225 0700.



Community Services Employer Panel

The Skills and Jobs Centre recently hosted its first employer panel in Geelong for 2018. The panel featured three employers from the Community Services sector and provided insights into the industry, current opportunities, skills and qualifications required and some handy tips about the recruitment process.

The panel members were:

  • Maree O’Dell (General Manager of People and Organisation Development) – Diversitat
  • Jill Meade (Coordinator Youth Statutory Support Programs) – Barwon Children, Youth & Family
  • Scott Morris (HR Advisor) – Barwon Children, Youth & Family
  • Amanda Stirrat (Community Development Officer) – City of Greater Geelong

Barwon Child, Youth & Family was launched as a new entity on 1 July 2015 because of a merger between Glastonbury Community Services, Barwon Youth and Time for Youth. The organisation employs nearly 350 staff across 40-50 different job roles and provides services to clients via its client services platform that includes Early Years, Family & Community services, Out of Home Care, Specialist Intervention Services, Youth Services and headspace Geelong.


Diversitat, also known as Geelong Ethnic Communities Council, is a registered charity and a not-for-profit community service organisation. Established in 1976, today they offer services in settlement, community development, youth services, aged support, training and education, as well as arts and events. They also manage The Pulse Radio and Television, Wholefoods Pantry and Kitchen, and the Belmont Oppe Shoppe. The organisation employs over 300 staff across 11 sites in the Geelong and Colac region.


City of Greater Geelong (COGG) is the local council in Geelong that provides a diverse and extensive range of property, economic, human, recreational and cultural services to the community and implements the City’s strategic plan.  COGG is the second largest employer in the region, employing over 2500 people in a wide variety of roles.


Why work in the Community Services sector

  • Empower and advocate for some of the most marginalised members of your community
  • Be a champion for your local community and help them to have a voice
  • Lots of positives and good news stories about a not-for-profit organisation can accomplish
  • Gives you a reason why to come to work and helps you contribute to something bigger than yourself
  • Consider volunteering the sector to learn more about the different organisations and build your network.

 Applying for a job in the Community Services sector

  • All vacancies are advertised on each organisations website, (see the links above which will take you straight to the employment pages) as well as on Seek and social media pages like LinkedIn.
  • Applicants are encouraged to read the Position Descriptions carefully and to contact the listed contact person with any questions. This is also a great way to introduce yourself to the organisation and make your name stand out from the many applications.
  • Tertiary qualifications (ranging from Certificate III to Degree) may be required for some positions but relevant work experience is always highly regarded as it shows you can fit straight into the job.
  • Check to see if a cover letter is required and if so take this as an opportunity to really show your enthusiasm for the role.
  • Use the STAR (Situation | Task | Actions | Results) method when responding to the Key Selection Criteria and keep your answers to two or three paragraphs.
  • Don’t forget to highlight your relevant experience and passion for the role when responding to the Key Selection Criteria. Make the panel excited to read your application and to meet you at interview.
  • There will be two or three staff on an interview panel and for some positions, there may even be a second interview. The interview will include questions about what interests you about the role and your relevant experience followed by some behavioural questions.
  • Most organisations require some additional background checks such as a Police Check or a Working with Children’s Check
  • Always remember that every interaction with the organisation is part of the recruitment process, so make sure even a phone call to book an interview is handled professionally.
  • If you are successful in getting the job, each organisation offers, a comprehensive orientation and induction process and further professional development opportunities are available.

Don’t forget to book into one of the Skills and Jobs Centre’s workshops for help with your application, interview preparation or job search strategies. For more information and current workshops please visit:



Insights into Recruitment Agencies

First things first, let’s get this recruitment concept right!

Recruiters in this instance (on today’s panel) are what you call Recruitment Service Firms. They are commercial in nature and hired to serve the needs of their paying clients by sourcing the best possible candidate. They are not career coaches or job search providers, but a fast paced business required to meet the employment needs of organisations at all levels at any time.

Unlike a jobactive job seeking agency, recruitment firms are not funded by the government, but by a variety of businesses looking to find the perfect match for their employee needs. If you approach a recruitment agency it is essential that you know why and what you are applying for. Ensuring you have tailored your resume and answered the specific key selection criteria closely is crucial. Recruiters are busy people and resumes with no relevant content, criteria or qualifications WILL BE immediately discarded.

One tip from James at Hays was not to over engineer your resume. Keeping it simple and factual without any images, photos or fancy fonts is important. Define any achievements or responsibilities you have had with clear evidence, and utilise and reflect key words throughout your resume. If the employer wants their steak medium rare with a tartar sauce, an overcooked lamb roast with gravy will not cut the mustard.

Recruitment companies specialise in different genres of work, so make it your business to know why you are approaching that company and what brand you are selling. There is really no point going to a recruitment company that specialises in project management if you are going for a customer service role, or a plumbing position if they excel in IT managers. Jean Paul from Direct Recruitment also added that it is important to be honest in your application. You may embellish a little here and there, but do not make up your skills set, reference or qualifications. A recruitment company will not be happy if they go to great lengths to line you up an interview and it is built on fabrications, particularly when their reputation is at stake.

If you do find what seems to be a good fit between yourself and a recruitment agency, ensure you register online and upload your resume for their files. This is a simple and effective way of ensuring you are on their radar. Signing up for alerts, knowing what’s “hot” and what’s “not” and exercising your LinkedIn daily is important. Hays and Harvest recruitment both stated that they actively pursue potential candidates from LinkedIn and Seek daily. They head hunt for the best clients and if you are not registered with the larger networking services it lessens your chances of being noticed. A large number of recruitment agencies have purchased direct access to the Seek portal, so they can view each and every resume that’s uploaded daily.  This passive way of seeking work online can be really successful and the best part about it is no-one need know you are even looking.


  • Do not apply for too many positions advertised within one agency if you are not genuinely suited to the position. We know there are expectations from Centrelink and Jobactives to fulfil a certain amount of positions per month, but your name may become synonymous with wasting the recruiter’s time. A bit like the boy who cried wolf, they may start to think you are not really serious about any of your job seeking efforts.
  • Recruiters are constantly busy, they may be expected to come up with an employee for a client with just 24 hours’ notice. Do not demand answers as to why you were unsuccessful, try a more amicable approach. “Could you suggest a time I may be able to speak to John, would it be ok if I emailed for further information” etc.
  • Utilise bullet points, key words, key skills and key competencies on the front page. You may only get 10 seconds to catch the recruiter’s eye, so make the main thing, the main thing. 
  • Compress all your job application documents into one if need be. There may be no way to upload a cover letter or selection criteria separately, so compile all your documents, starting with the cover letter first, resume, then Key Selection Criteria (KSC). If a graphic or visual portfolio is required, an entirely separate application will be requested.
  • Everyone loves Arial (I confess so do I ) and at 10 or 11 points it’s the favourite font. Do not use any fancy, funny or fluffy font or graphics. It will be binned!!! A recruitment agency will in fact reformat your original to this font for an employer. So ensure you don’t PDF your documents, as they will not be able to edit or reformat for their purposes.
  • Use the recruitment interview as practice for the major interview with the employer. Any questions you may struggle with or ponder such as salary, weaknesses, fears etc. ensure you tackle at your interview with the Recruitment Company. They want you to SHINE and they are paid to find a successful and wonderful candidate.

So now you have your head around the basics, a few tips about our three panelists today.


Hays have offices in around 32 countries, having originally set up in Geelong in 2007, they now cover the entire south western district including Ballarat and Bendigo.

  • Hays cover a variety of positions from IT, Project Management, Marketing, Communications, Accounting, Payroll, Book-keeping, Admin, Personal Assistants, Customer Service and the Government Sector. They also have a dedicated recruiter to place candidates in Engineering, Building, Labouring, and other blue collar related professions.
  • Clients include: NDIA, TAC, WORKSAFE, DEAKIN, and many local councils and state government.
  • Jobs range from temporary to permanent.

HARVEST RECRUITMENT is a Geelong based recruitment company founded by Maree Herath in 2009.

  • Harvest’s niche market largely consists of specialist, technical and executive specialists. Recruitment may be in areas of engineering, oil, gas and other major companies.
  • They may be looking for directors, CEO’s, CFO’s, accountants, lawyers and consultants.
  • 80% of positions sought by their employers are permanent. Unlike some other recruitment companies, Harvest also do career coaching seminars, write professional resumes and run work related workshops.

NOTE: Harvest did cite that there is currently a shortage of accountants and procurement specialists in our region and if you have those skills and/or are thinking of upgrading those skills, it is worth your while forwarding your resume for this very reason. Geelong is a highly competitive and saturated market in some sectors so ensure you look where the skills shortages are.

Harvest recruitment are the only Geelong based panelist for WORKSAFE, so ensure if that’s where your interest lies pursue them accordingly.


Jean Paul is the Business Development Manager of Direct Recruitment Geelong, and unlike its sister companies in Melbourne it specialises only in recruiting.

Direct Recruitment caters for those looking for work in;

  • Home and Community Care
  • Gardeners/Landscaping/ Labouring
  • City Greater Geelong, Golden Plains Shire, Surf Coast Shire
  • Warehousing, Food and Chemical industries
  • Has an exclusive contract with Simonds Stadium and Kardinia Park to cater for all needs related to game day. So if you love the “Cats” make sure your register for an opportunity.

For assistance with job applications, or to find out more about Recruitment Agencies in Geelong, contact The Gordon Skills & Jobs Centre. 

What the Dating Game Can Teach You About Job Searching

As a single 30-something I’ve read and been given quite a bit of dating advice over the years. Some advice has been smart (such as trying new activities and hobbies to expand my social group and meet like-minded people), some rather confusing (I’ve been told countless times to “get out there” without being given any information on exactly where “there” is), and some have been downright stupid (including not letting a guy see me eat a proper meal until at least the fourth date – um sorry no, I want that steak now!)

In the end it was my sister who gave me the best piece of advice. Knowing that my job involves helping people work out strategies for finding employment she told me to follow my own advice and treat the dating game just like a job search. Not only was she right, she got me wondering if the opposite was true – could dating advice apply equally to someone looking for their dream job? After some thought the answer is a resounding yes!

Hit up your friends and family

One of the most common ways people find a partner is through their friends and family. Maybe your boyfriend went to high school with your cousin or your wife used to work with your best friend. The same is true for your job search. The number of people who find work through their network is increasing, and with up to 80% of vacancies not being advertised those who are not utilising their contacts are cutting out a large chunk of opportunities.

Networking is a bit of a buzz-word at the moment and the idea of it can be off-putting to people who don’t have much spare time or dislike the idea of schmoosing with a bunch of strangers. The good news is that there are many different ways to network, with the easiest being simply to make sure family members, friends and acquaintances are aware that you are actively looking for work. Case in point, a friend of an ex-colleague obtained a job as a medical receptionist after casually mentioning that she was looking for administrative work during a doctor’s appointment.

Get on-board the on-line express

Given society’s current obsession with using social media to record every aspect of our daily lives it’s no surprise that the search for love has moved on-line. There are an increasing number of dating websites and apps catering to pretty much any niche audience you could imagine.

Translating this to your job search, it is important to accept that the vast majority of advertised job vacancies will be listed and need to be applied for on-line. This can be through both specific employer websites (e.g. Barwon Health or Deakin) and general job search websites (e.g. Seek, Geelong Careers or Jora). For the more tech-savvy job seeker it is worth maintaining a LinkedIn profile as well, recruiters are known to use it to search for and target suitable potential employees within their geographical area.

Try before you buy

If you have been single for a while the idea of jumping back in to the dating scene can be quite scary. Sometimes you just want to see what’s out there before you commit to anything (or decide to retreat to your incredibly comfortable couch, book and glass of wine in hand). This is where speed dating can come in handy, in one sitting you get an introduction to a variety of people and can start identifying what you are and (more importantly) aren’t looking for in a mate.

For those who are looking to ease their way back in to the workforce or need money coming in now and don’t care what they do to get it, a great option is to take on casual or contract work through private recruitment agencies or labour hire firms. This way you are earning money, getting current experience and are making connections with employers that may result in offers of on-going employment in the future. If you are looking to change industries and you are not in desperate need of being paid, then volunteering is a fantastic way of getting experience and making contacts which can also sometimes lead to casual or on-going employment.

Being in the right place at the right time

Most of us know someone who met their partner in the most accidental and unexpected way. For example, one New Year’s Eve my cousin was celebrating with friends in a pub in Ireland. She was originally meant to be in a completely different town but circumstances called for a last minute change of plans. In walked a random Frenchman, their eyes locked and they have been together ever since. Had she not been in that pub, in that town on that night who knows if they would have otherwise met?

The same is true with job opportunities, sometimes you can simply be in the right place at the right time. Whilst some may disagree, I believe there is still a place for the old resume drop-off in your job search, particularly in regional areas. Several of our participants have been offered jobs after canvassing businesses just when the employer was thinking about whether or not to advertise a sudden vacancy. A formal recruitment process tends to be both expensive and time consuming, so if a suitable candidate suddenly appears and meets all of the requirements the vast majority of employers will welcome them with open arms.

The moral of the story

So, what advice should you take away from this article? Just as when you’re looking for love you should never put all of your eggs in the one basket, neither should you rely on only one method of finding a job. Trying a combination of the above methods will give you the best chance of landing the perfect role. And who knows, if you’re single you might also find love along the way!

Written by our resident resume queen, Christina Matthews. Subscribe to our blog to receive regular resume tips & tricks from Christina. 

Welcome to The Gordon Skills and Jobs Centre blog!

Peoples faces for blog

We have six friendly and knowledgeable advisors who will work together on our blog to provide you with up to date and relevant career information, with an element of fun.

Aimed at anyone embarking on a career transition, from career change, job search and re-training, or anyone who has an interest in our local employment market.

From job application advice, including resume tips and interview skills, to labour market information and social media advice, follow us to get all the resources you need while being entertained at the same time.

Please comment and let us know your thoughts on your career change experiences and what we may be able to assist with.

Our Centre offers a careers service to the Geelong and Wyndham regions. Contact us to find out more about the services we provide.