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The inside story: how to get a job at YWCA Australia

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 Ali Gore, Coordinator, People & Culture at YWCA Australia – an evolving intersectional feminist organisation focused on working towards a future where gender equality is a reality for young women, women and people of marginalised genders.

(You can check out the roles YWCA Australia is currently advertising here) 

Hi Ali, thanks for chatting with us! To kick us off, can you tell us a bit about what YWCA does?

We are a proudly feminist not-for-profit organisation and for over 140 years we have been working at the forefront of gender equality through our housing, community programs and advocacy. 

Under our new five year strategy we’ve made women’s housing and young women’s leadership our priorities for gender equity in Australia. 

Women face some of the biggest housing affordability challenges in our community. Poverty, financial inequality and other structural barriers place women at risk of significant housing stress and homelessness. We see this every day in our work.

It’s why we’re so proud of our long history of providing housing and accommodation for women and their families – from emergency housing through to student accommodation. Access to safe, secure and affordable housing is fundamental in ending inequality for women.

To deliver a future where gender equality is a reality, we need young women in all their diversity and gender diverse people to bring their lived experience to advocacy and leadership for change for effective housing pathways and social supports.

Young women need safe spaces and support structures to develop their advocacy and leadership capacity. That’s where YWCA comes in.

What are some of the things that might attract candidates to apply to the YWCA?

We offer a number of benefits to our team members:

  • As a feminist organisation, we know that people have different life commitments and that everyone’s situation is unique. We believe in work life balance and flexible working arrangements and work with our team members to accommodate their specific needs.
  • As a nonprofit our team members can access salary packaging which means more money in their pockets.
  • YWCA Australia has been an advocate for fair paid parental leave since 1915. We offer 14 weeks paid parental leave and we continue to contribute superannuation payments while our employees are on paid parental leave.
  • We have a supportive and inclusive work environment. As a feminist organisation, we’re all for questioning assumptions. We nurture spaces for team members to share their thoughts, opinions and ideas.
  • YWCA Australia is part of a global feminist movement connecting over 25 million women in 125 countries. This opens up personal and professional development opportunities at home and abroad.

While we’re proud to offer these benefits, what really attracts candidates to YWCA is the F word – Feminism. Our candidates are fiercely feminist and want to make a difference for young women, women and gender diverse people by creating a more equal world. 

Can you walk us through the recruitment process at YWCA?

It’s really easy to apply for a role with YWCA, all jobs are listed on our website as well as EthicalJobs.com.au. We encourage candidates to look at the current vacancies and apply for the ones that feel like the right fit.

We want a diverse workforce so we take an inclusive recruitment approach and encourage applicants from all backgrounds and with different opinions to apply.

When submitting your application we may ask screening questions related to the role. This helps us understand if the role and our organisation will be the right fit for you.

After you’ve submitted your application you may receive a phone call for a short phone interview before being invited for an interview either face-to-face or online. 

After the interview, if you’re the preferred candidate we’ll start the pre-screening process of doing a working with children check, criminal history check and contacting your referees.

The recruitment process is as much about the candidate finding out about us, as it is about us finding out about them. Questions and feedback are sought at every step of the process. 

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

We want to set our candidates up for success so we always outline the selection criteria in the position description which is also in the job ad. This details the technical qualifications, behavioural skills, experience and attitude we’re looking for.

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

Looking for a job can be tough and candidates are often submitting multiple applications. However, not adapting your application to address the selection criteria in the position description means you’re underselling yourself. We recommend candidates customise their resume and cover letter for each application.

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

We want you to get a feel for who you’ll be working with so you’ll often meet your hiring manager, and another member of the team or someone from People and Culture. This is a good way for both the candidate and panel to understand if this will be the right fit.

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

Be prepared. Look at the selection criteria and think of examples that demonstrate how you match them. It can help to practice your responses or write down bullet points. This can help with nerves and keeping your answers succinct and memorable.

Do a bit of research on our organisation, the role and who will be interviewing you. It will give you a good feel for who you’ll be meeting and the team you’ll be joining. This can help you formulate some questions you might like to ask the interview panel.

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

If you’re a fierce feminist and want to see a future where gender equality is a reality we encourage you to apply. We want candidates who are passionate about housing and young women’s leadership.

If a job interests you, apply – you may not be right for that one, but right for another one. 

We also have opportunities like our Young Women’s Council, Board Traineeship Program and Cyber Feminists Collective which are designed to give young feminists additional experience in leadership, governance and advocacy.

Thanks Ali! 

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