Our commitment to youth participation is about recognising opportunities to involve young people in our work. As we continue to grow our talented staff team, it makes sense that young people play active roles in helping us make the right decisions.
That’s why we’ve brought together a crew of YACVic young members and trained them to form our Help Recruit (HR) Team. Each time YACVic has an open position, we invite a member to join us throughout the process – right from reviewing resumes to interviewing and scoring final candidates.
In a time when the changing nature of the employment landscape is creating more and more challenges for young job-hunters, we hoped this chance to immerse themselves in the world of hiring would be a positive boost for our young members.
Time to interview the interviewers – let’s hear from two HR Team members, David and Alethea, on what they took away from their recent experiences on our interview panels.
Q: What did you find valuable about being on an interview panel?
David: The most exciting thing was how unique the opportunity was. As a young person, it is hard enough to get a job interview, let alone getting to be an interviewer.
Alethea: Being on the other side of the desk helped me recognise certain behaviours and habits people bring to interviews which give a candidate ‘the edge’. I really got so much out of the experience, both in terms of playing a real part in the decision-making process and taking important insights to apply to my own future job-seeking efforts.
Q: What are some things that surprised you about being behind the scenes of the hiring process?
David: Being on an interview panel is a surprisingly intense experience. While I certainly don’t envy the people on the other side of the table, being an interviewer is a lot more than just asking a few questions and listening to the answers. The process started a day before, reading all the applications and trying to get a good idea of the strengths and weaknesses of each candidate. Then the actual day was non-stop – interview, score, discuss, repeat.
Alethea: We interviewed four really accomplished people who were all impressive in their own right however you could tell each of them were nervous when it came time for their respective interviews. It was a good reminder that no matter how much experience a person has, it is human nature to be a bit uneasy in situations where you are being evaluated and judged under pressure!
Q: In what ways do you think the training and experience will help you in your own journey to employment?
David: When you sit an interview, it can be really hard to tell what the panel is thinking, what makes a difference, what they like or don’t like. Being on the panel has now given me more of a practical idea about the ‘do’s and don’ts’ of interviews in a way that a tip-sheet never could.
Alethea: Reviewing applicants, I think I now find it much easier to develop a critical eye. Seeing various examples of resumes (both in training and for the actual interviews) helped to demonstrate what ‘good’ looks like and spot the easy mistakes that people make, like poor formatting and spelling/grammar mistakes. This was great experience for drafting my own resume!
David: The recruitment training YACVic provided the HR Team beforehand was a massive eyeopener. In learning what we need to look for while on a panel, I also learned how to make a killer resume, and how to answer key selection criteria and interview questions in a way that is clear and concise, with specific examples. The opportunity to discuss recruitment with YACVic’s HR wizzes was hugely informative, especially as I hope to work in the non-for-profit sector someday.
Alethea: Each fellow panel member often noticed or picked up on different things when scoring candidates which was also interesting as it helped expose my own biases and demonstrated what qualities and skills I will need for a leadership role.
Q: Any last advice to give job hunters right now?
David: Applications that were short and to the point really stood out. And answer every question in the interview thoroughly – there are no insignificant questions.
Alethea: Always be well prepared for an interview with adequate organisational research, be energetic and enthusiastic, and ask thoughtful questions.
Are you aged 12-25?
Become a YACVic young member and join a community of advocates passionate about young people and the issues that affect them in Victoria. It’s just $3 to sign up!