QBE mentors jobseekers and builds disability confidence

Wed 28 August 2019

Group photo of attendees at the QBE and Allegis Recruitment Skills Workshop

Photo: Facilitators and attendees at the Recruitment Skills Workshop, hosted by QBE and Allegis Global Solutions. 

QBE has supported 37 employees in the past five years to build their leadership skills and disability confidence by mentoring jobseekers with disability. Matched with talented candidates through the Australian Network on Disability’s (AND) PACE Mentoring program, managers and specialists across all areas of QBE have helped their mentees gain vital workplace exposure and prepare for their chosen career.

QBE’s onsite recruitment partner Allegis Global Solutions also helps deliver inclusive recruitment experiences and supports jobseekers with disability to explore future career opportunities. A recent Recruitment Skills Workshop hosted by QBE and Allegis gave PACE mentees expert application and interview tips, as well as a chance to ask important questions about how to stand out in a competitive job market. Here’s some of their advice.

Q: Should I share my personal information? I’m transgender and have a disability, which affects how I interact with people. I want to be open.

A: Look for visible cues of LGBTI inclusion. For example, today I’m wearing my QBE Pride Committee lanyard.

Recruitment practices today are moving towards being far more inclusive. It’s about recruiting the right person for the right role, regardless of flexibility needs, how you identify, whether you have children or elder-care commitments – these are generally not relevant to the inherent requirements of the role; it’s about capabilities and experience. Do your research to find out if it’s an organisation you want to work for and where you can be yourself.


Q: As a recruiter, do you get annoyed by too much information in an application?

A: The average time someone takes to look at your CV is seven seconds. That’s a very narrow window in which to impress someone.

My advice is to use bullet points in your opening to showcase your results, achievements and what you’re looking for. Front-load your bullet points by making sure the most important words are at the start. Use key words relative to the job and industry you want to be in; recruiters will search for those key words when looking for candidates online.

The thing I look for the most is figures – tangible results where I can see if someone’s made a difference. Genuine examples of success and impact.

Q: What if I don’t have any experience?

A: Use your academic results. Use the experience you gained through programs like PACE Mentoring and the skills you practiced and discussed with your mentor. Outline your professional interests. Write about specific projects you’ve worked on as part of your course. Paint me a picture that shows your potential – what you’re capable of.


Q: How do you request flexibility without sounding flaky or unreliable?

A: Effective communication with your manager or potential manager is really important. Set the expectations right from the start and focus on what you can bring to the role. As we said before, it’s about the right candidate for the right role. Inclusive employers will understand that candidates may require flexibility or other support to help them perform at their best.


Q: What are your top 10 tips for jobseekers?

  1. Create a profile on Seek and LinkedIn. It’ll increase your exposure to recruiters, who might consider your skills and experience relevant to other opportunities.
  2. Use a professional photo for your online profiles. A photo of you at a party may not be the best choice. Instead, use a simple headshot with a plain background.
  3. Use a clever headline. For example, if you want a job in data analysis but don’t have much experience, you could use 'Data enthusiast'. If you’re actively looking for a job in finance, you could use 'Actively seeking experience in finance'.
  4. Do your research – know about the role and company you’ve applied to and be ready to talk about it in a phone interview.
  5. If someone calls for a phone interview while you’re out and about, it’s perfectly reasonable to ask if you can call them back once you’ve found a quiet space where you can concentrate.
  6. Smile down the phone. You’ll be amazed at how much confidence and enthusiasm it helps you project.
  7. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of the interviewers. It’s your chance to find out more about the company culture and decide if it’s right for you. It can also help to show your interest.
  8. To prepare for a face-to-face interview, think about examples from your previous roles or real-life situations you can use to help you demonstrate your suitability. Use the STAR method to structure your responses.
    • Situation – paint the picture.
    • Task – what did you need to do?
    • Action – what did you do?
    • Result – what was the outcome?
  9. Use body language to help you feel and project confidence. Check out this TED talk by Amy Cuddy on how body language may shape who you are.
  10. Be ready and willing to discuss feedback from your interviewers. Try to anticipate and dispel any reservations they might have throughout the interview.

Check out AND’s Jobseeker Toolkit for more tips and resources.

About PACE Mentoring

More and more students, jobseekers and employers are experiencing the benefits of the PACE Mentoring program. In the last season, 117 people from 14 leading Australian organisations mentored more than 100 jobseekers with disability towards achievement of their career goals.

Find out more about the benefits of PACE Mentoring and how you can get involved.


With thanks to QBE, Australian Network on Disability Silver Member, and Allegis Global Solutions (AGS) for hosting the Recruitment Skills Workshop and allowing us to share their tips for jobseekers.

AGS contributors:

  • Scott Barton – Account Director
  • Felecia Oxton – Operations Manager
  • Jessica Daniel – Executive Recruiter
  • Ann Nguyen – Recruitment Sourcing Lead
  • Nicola Garrick – Recruitment Sourcing Specialist


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