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The inside story: how to get a job at Rural Workforce Agency Victoria

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 Jo Willatts, Senior Manager – Healthcare Access at Rural Workforce Agency Victoria (RWAV). RWAV is a not-for-profit government funded organisation improving health care for rural, regional and Aboriginal communities in Victoria.

They are currently looking for a Program Officer and Locum GPs.

Hi Jo, thanks for chatting with us! To kick us off, can you tell us a bit about what Rural Workforce Agency Victoria does?

RWAV provides a range of activities and support to improve the recruitment and retention of health professionals to rural and regional Victoria.

We recruit general practitioners and allied health professionals through our FREE, end-to-end recruitment service for roles rural in Victoria. A career in rural health offers great lifestyle benefits including affordable housing, diverse job prospects and the opportunity to fast track your skills and career. RWAV also provides relocation, professional development and postgraduate education grants, to help individuals achieve their career goals.

RWAV delivers services throughout rural and regional Victoria, which is home to approximately 2.3 million people. There are 425 primary care centres including 356 GP practices, 47 Community Health Centres and 22 Aboriginal Health Services in regional Victoria.

RWAV is also the fund holders for nine programs and provide 401 outreach services to rural, regional and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across Victoria. The programs work within health priorities that increase access to maternal and paediatric, mental health, chronic disease management and ear and eye health care for these communities. The majority of programs provide funding to cover out of pocket expenses to support health professionals for the travel and associated costs of providing these vital health care services. With the Indigenous Eye and Ear Surgical Support Service extending funding to patients and carers. At the moment the outreach team has three Program Officers who work across rural Victoria. We are currently recruiting for a new Program Officer to join the team.

What are some of the things that might attract candidates to apply to the Rural Workforce Agency Victoria?

We invest in our people and are always striving to improve the efficient and effectiveness of our services to meet the needs of our stakeholders. As part of the RWAV team you can enjoy excellent salary packaging options and other attractive benefits such as flexible working arrangements including an RDO and the ability to work from home.

RWAV encourages all employees to pursue personal and professional development through relevant education and training. Our success depends on the skills and expertise employees bring to their roles. Accordingly, RWAV has a strong commitment to development and training.

So, can you walk us through the recruitment process at Rural Workforce Agency Victoria?

Jobs are advertised on our website and other job boards like EthicalJobs.com.au. If you are keen to apply please send your cover letter and CV to our HR team. If you have any questions we always encourage candidates to call and have a chat to the program manager. They are a great source of knowledge and can really help with any queries about the role you might have. Short-listed applicants will be invited to participate in either one or two interviews (depending on the role) with an interview panel. If you are successful you will be asked to provide us with the contact details for your referees. Reference checks will be completed for the preferred candidate prior to a formal offer of employment being extended.

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

Cultural-fit is crucial, we are seeking high-performing individuals who share our values of Respect, Accountability, Collaboration, Innovation and Courage; as well as our vision of achieving health equity for rural, regional and Aboriginal Victorians. We pride ourselves on recruiting like-minded individuals to work alongside the dedicated team at RWAV.

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

The biggest mistake that we see is candidates not addressing the key selection criteria properly. This is a really important way we assess applications and make our short list. If you don’t understand what’s being asked, give us a call.

We also see a lot of CVs that aren’t laid out correctly and all the information is in the wrong order – please list your most recent employment first. When it comes to cover letters, we want to see relevant information that shows why you are interested in the role and why you have applied. Make sure you stand out from the crowd but don’t forget to be yourself. There is nothing more frustrating than reading a cover letter that has been prepared for another role and addressed to the incorrect organisation.

If there’s one thing candidates need to be doing, it’s tailoring a CV and writing a great cover letter. Tell us a story, be engaging, and be yourself!

And if they make it to interview, who is a candidate most likely to meet on an interview panel at Rural Workforce Agency Victoria?

Interviews would generally be conducted by the recruiting Manager and a representative from People and Culture. They can be done via Zoom or face to face at our office when appropriate.

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

Do your research, make sure you know what the organisation is all about and understand its values. If you can read the organisation’s annual reports they are usually a great way to tap into the inside workings of the place. Also, familiarise yourself with the position description for the role you are applying for. Practice asking yourself questions based on the key selection criteria so you are ready for them when you are in the interview. Make sure you also have some questions to ask the interview panel. It’s a great opportunity to gain more insight into the organisation that you want to work for.

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

Just get in touch and speak to us as we are always happy to hear from people who are curious about RWAV or working in rural health. The best contact is our general HR email which is hr@rwav.com.au. With your permission, we will keep your details on file and contact you if a position becomes available that aligns with your skills and experience.

Thanks Jo!


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