Australia Antarctic, Job Interview Process – Stage 1

Australia, Sydney, for a job interview with Antarctica Australia.  Fantastic! count me in!

After a phone call, and letter (which arrived on the same day) to advise me Id been short listed for the ‘Aerodrome Camp Support Officer’ role, I had a 3 week wait until Id be Sydney bound, for what would be a 3 stage process, over two days.  Slightly extended for me, due to direct flights only leaving in the morning, once a day. 

Whats an aerodrome camp support officer?  Exactly what it sounds like!  The Wilkes Aerodrome is 70km from the nearest Aussie base, Casey.  Because its an aerodrome, it operates only in summer, with a small crew of 8-10.  Apparently, the weather is notoriously bad, with horrendous winds and blizzard conditions, and on a good day, theres nothing to break the flat, white of the horizon – fantastic, I wanna be there!If I get the job, Il be cooking for the crew as well as various other duties – ie runway work, baggage handling, snow clearing and driving – including the re-supply trips to Casey.  


we were staying at a hotel near the university.  We was 15 of us, I was the only female, and no one else was there for the same job as me.  The rest were varied – chippies and plumbers mainly, and predominantly ‘aussie-miner types’, which isn’t intended to sound ‘segregational‘, sexist or judgemental – I believe, there certainly is such a man!  

Monday morning, 8am and I was off to my ‘Technical Interview’.  Thank God it was one-on-one, which makes me nervous enough, but a panel can be torturous for me.  I was with the guys getting our individual photos taken for future reference, when my interviewer came to get me.. okay, so hewasn’t exactly unattractive….  I had made some jokes about ‘Australia’sNext Top Model’ when we were getting photos done.. as the weekend progressed it did feel a tad ‘reality show’, with half a dozen staff from Antarctic Australia making notes on us, as a group and as individuals.. Life is a catwalk, walk tall 🙂

So, ‘usual’ question and answer session, and a bit of an insight into the third session of the day, the ‘Selection Centre’.  For me, it was to be myself and Id be fine.. great!  Next up was to be the Psych Test, a multiple choicequestionnaire conducted by army personnel, however, no-one showed up to conduct the test, so we had a spare two hours.  Coffee time!!  The coffee at the hotel was decidedly average, so we headed for the local (dare I say it)McDonald’s!  Hey, they do soy and at least it was espresso coffee..

Then, we started our afternoon sessions of the ‘Selection Centre’.  Basically, our group was given countless scenarios, predominantly involving drillers or drilling, and ample opportunity to come up with results, outcomes and ideals – be it individually, as a large group or as a smaller group.  I guess I did feel like ‘little voice’ at some points, but in saying that, not all of the guys were loud or conversation hi-jackers, there was definitely one though,isn’t there always?  

The scenarios were… scenarios, lots involving drilling, drillers and drill rigs.. all relevant from an ‘isolation and small community’ aspect I guess.  Its quite interesting to see who comes up with what,  how each person interprets a certain situation.   The days activities finished after drinks, dinner and conversation.  It was midnight New Zealand time, and Id been awake since 4am (6am New Zealand time), my starched hotel bed was a welcome respite from the busy day.

Next morning, another 0745 start, for another scenario – the last on the list. And, thankfully, when the scenarios had been put to rest, we were given a chance to have a final say, on a) how we felt we came across for the selection centre, b) qualities that may not have been shown and c) why we should be chosen for the job.   I was so grateful for that final opportunity, because I, like some of the others, was wondering about my technical interview and selection centre, and hoping Id come across as Id wanted to etc.. So, after a final wee speech.. its a waiting game now.  

The overall interview is made up of four stages 1) Technical Interview, 2) Selection Centre, 3) Medical Exam and 4) Psych Test.  To get a job offer, you need to pass all four.  I guess now Im awaiting a call up on the medical / psych side of things, unless they’ve decided not to go further with me.. but Im not even going there as an option, I want the job too badly, so thinking that way instead.  Positive vibes, meant to be ‘n all.

Made some great friends, and it was definitely an experience.  And as an added bonus, I had an extra night in sydney, so caught up with my brother and one of my best-er-est friends who I haven’t seen for ten years!! (Apparently I haven’t changed a bit).  Mind you, I didnt think he had either.


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