Job interview for new immigrants in Australia

Important : Disclaimer

So far it's all been preparation. This is where you can start to get things moving.

Stage One is getting the job, doing the interview.

In some cases you may be able to do the interview in your home country, or some other arrangement can be made, but we'll work on the assumption you need to be in Australia.

FOR TRAVEL

YOU WILL NEED:

A current passport.

Just make sure the passport isn't about to run out on you.

A visa.

This is usually a Short Travel Visa, or Electronic Travel Visa, from eligible countries. It's valid for a year, and you can apply online. It covers business travel and short visits. It's just a simple form, no big deal.

To be able to get yourself out to Australia on call.

An open air ticket is probably the best option, although booking is usually pretty easy through any major airline. You can work the open ticket and the visa on the same time frames.

Accommodation bookings.

Remember you need to be fairly close to wherever you're trying to get. Some patience will find a useful location. In Sydney and Melbourne, staying in the city itself will guarantee access to transport, and hotels are pretty good about helping you find your way around. Travel agents can also help in terms of gluing everything together for you.

To know how to get to the interview.

Some employers will understand this problem, and arrange to get you to the interview. Others may not grasp that idea, so be prepared to do some planning to make sure you get there on time. You can even do a dummy run, going out there a day or so before, to make sure you can find the place.

FOR THE INTERVIEW

Making a list of everything you'll need is never easy, but these are the basics.

Please note for this section that information provided regarding Anti Discrimination, EEO, OHS, and Ethical Practices is general information only. It's not really possible to specify the requirements of employers. Information regarding required levels of knowledge on these subjects should be sought directly from the employer, because in many cases the information is directly relevant to the job.

YOU WILL NEED:

  • Copies of everything you mentioned in your application regarding qualifications
  • References
  • Any related documentation regarding your work or career achievements
  • All useful materials where you can show the employer your work
  • English language skills

Basically, you're bringing a complete set of relevant documentation of your claims for the job.

SPECIAL NOTE: QUALIFICATIONS

Accreditation of qualifications is a real curse to the global job market.

What happens is that agreements are entered into between countries for recognition of each other's educational and professional qualifications as common standards or equivalents.

In some countries, it's a pretty chaotic situation, and it can waste a lot of time and effort trying to get clear recognition of qualifications.

Australia's a bit better organized in this regard, and you can do some checking beforehand with accreditation authorities.

This link is to the Australian Qualifications Framework, which leads through links to the relevant Commonwealth and State accreditation authorities:

http://www.aqf.edu.au/register.htm

In some cases, international qualifications and Australian qualifications don't match. Doctors from some countries, for example, are required to complete Australian accredited courses. It's quite controversial, but the simple fact is that there are different educations standards in different countries.

The other fact is that no recognized qualification = no qualification, as far as migration is concerned. It puts the employer in a difficult/impossible position, because by definition applicants are required to have the appropriate qualifications as specified in the job advertisement.

Legally, it's also very difficult. Other candidates would have good grounds for complaint, because technically the applicant isn't qualified.

Important: It can't be assumed that an employer will make an exception, and hire on the basis of completion of whatever extra qualifications are required.

YOU NEED TO BE ABSOLUTELY CLEAR ABOUT RECOGNITION OF YOUR QUALIFICATIONS.

Don't even pick up the phone to ask about a job unless you've got recognition of your qualifications nailed down firmly.

YOU WILL REQUIRE OFFICIAL CERTIFICATION OF YOUR QUALIFICATIONS.

This situation has caused quite a lot of frustration and heartbreak, and it's completely avoidable. For your own peace of mind, make sure you have this subject completely covered.

There's a positive side to the situation, though. Even if you do have to do additional work to qualify, you'll find that your Australian qualifications are recognized all over the world, so it's not a waste of time.

REFERENCES

Because you're applying for a job in another country, your references should be the best you can find, people who are able to make a good case for you with the employer.

Letters of reference are standard, but contact details should also be provided.

On the whole, while interpreter services are freely available in Australia, it makes a good impression if the referee speaks in person to the employer.

MATERIALS AND DOCUMENTATION OF YOUR CAREER ACHIEVEMENTS

This is part of your sales pitch, and it's advisable to have a high standard of presentation, as good as you can get.

Your presentation needs to be of a good professional standard:

  • Identify the materials you want to use
  • Pick the ones that you can present well
  • See if you can improve the presentation of others which don't look up to presentation standard, but you'd like to use

If you've got a lot of material, or it's bulky as hard copy, and you don't want to lug it all out to Australia with you, you can consider a few possibilities:

If you can put it all into an email to the employer for use with the interview, that's ideal.

If you can put it into digital format, in any sense, like a CD or DVD, it will save you space and worry. You can also check everything out, make sure you've included all the things you want to use, and do your own formatting, and include materials which might help as additional information.

ENGLISH LANGUAGE SKILLS

You really do need to have a working level of conversational English skills, particularly in relation to your work.

English is the official language of Australia, and English language skills are also one of the migration requirements.

(This is a result of finding that many migrants are seriously disadvantaged by low levels of English language skills. In terms of doing business, contracts are normally written in English, business transactions are conducted in English, etc, so the language skills requirement is actually protective of migrants' interests.)

THE INTERVIEW

Australian job interviews are usually international standard interviews, with possible screening tests, and things like behavioral tests, situational tests, etc.

Generally, the interview panel will be at least three people, a convener, an independent, and usually another person from the employer's organization.

ANTI DISCRIMINATION, EEO, OHS, and Ethical Practices

In Australian interviews, you will find that in many cases Anti Discrimination, Equal Employment Opportunity and Occupational Health and Safety questions are mandatory.

If you're working with State or Federal government agencies, in particular, Ethical Practices, which are formal employment policies used by the agencies, are another likely subject. References to those policies are available online from agency websites.

Anti Discrimination and EEO are pretty much the same regarding content in most Western countries, but are usually expressed a bit differently. Australian employers operate under the Commonwealth Anti Discrimination Act. EEO provisions are derived from that legislation.

These requirements are usually listed in the job advertisements, and reference materials are available online. You'd be advised to ask the employer about sources of information for these subjects.

OHS Green Card

In many industries, special training and qualification for OHS are sometimes required, including what's called a Green Card, which is a certification of completing mandatory OHS training.

If you see on a job advertisement a requirement for a Green Card, it's a very important prerequisite for employment. People are simply not employed unless they have a Green Card. If you're in construction, manufacturing, skilled trades, or any industry where OHS is a big issue, you can pretty much bet that a Green Card is required.

OHS is a major issue in industries, involving very expensive insurance and claims. In self defence, the industries and insurers have come up with this standardized level of training in OHS.

Coming from another country, you obviously won't have done the Australian training.

However, you may be considered eligible for employer-sponsored training. If you're applying for a position where you're otherwise qualified, but require a Green Card, you will be required to achieve certification.

Check the Green Card situation out thoroughly with any prospective employer.

No Green Card = no job.