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Recruit hard, manage easy: A holistic approach to ensure DST hires the right people

19 August 2016
Miguel Neto and Penni Apperly from DST’s STEM team field questions from undergraduates earlier this year.
Miguel Neto and Penni Apperly from DST’s STEM team field questions from undergraduates earlier this year.

‘Recruit hard, manage easy’, is a motto used in Human Resources that captures the importance of a thorough recruitment and selection strategy.  

DST has implemented a holistic approach that assesses selection criteria for graduates and postdocs throughout a multi-staged selection process.

Defence scientist Kelly Kapsabelis recently experienced the full gamut of our graduate and postdoc recruitment process. Fortunately, she says, it was as a member of the assessment team rather than as an applicant because the process has changed significantly since her DST job interview fifteen years ago.

“Each candidate, at some point throughout the day, will be observed taking part in a group exercise,” Kapsabelis explains.

“They’ll also complete a written exercise, speak to that as part of a corporate interview, and then be assessed by a technical panel.”

The graduate and postdoc recruitment process targets people who have recently, or are about to complete an Honours degree or a PhD. Applicants can apply for several positions at DST and indicate which cities they are prepared to work in.

Kapsabelis’s team was looking to hire a graduate, so she joined her colleagues on the ‘position specific selection panel’.  

In the lead up to the day, Kapsabelis and the other panel members received information and training on what was expected from them, and had the opportunity to walk through the process.

“It is quite fast-paced when it happens, making assessments on our scorecards of how we felt the candidates performed at each point over the day,” Kapsabelis says.

“There is a sense of responsibility that comes with assessing, so we made it clear what we were using to assess them and that we were using a common framework.

“In particular, because the process includes a spectrum from graduates to PhD holders, with and without work experience, we had to be clear about how they would compare the results.”

According to Miguel Neto who manages the graduate recruitment and the assessment centres for DST, the success of this recruitment campaign would not be possible without a team effort across the board.

“There are a lot of moving parts and people involved at each stage of the assessment process,” says Neto.

“It is well worth the effort, as DST is competing with other global organisations for Australia’s brightest STEM graduates.” 

While assessment centres are widely used to assess large volumes of applicants, the focus for DST is more about engaging candidates.

“Onsite assessment centres provide the opportunity for DST to showcase its people and its science and technology capabilities to the candidates,” Neto explains.

“It is as much about getting to know the candidates as it is an opportunity for the candidates to learn about DST, its culture, and what DST offers.”

DST will be advertising more postdoc opportunities in early September 2016 with information available on the Entry level Recruitment website.