Rachelle Anstey, Director Financial Services, Alfred Health
Tell me about the recruitment process for your current role?
In my initial interview with the CFO (my now boss, Peter Joyce) and a HR leader, I expected to be asked about my accounting skills and the fact I didn’t have a health background, but the main focus was on my leadership style and team building skills. Straight up Peter said “I know you have accounting skills or you wouldn't be here. What I want to know is what you’re going to bring from a leadership point of view and how we might work together.” It was such a refreshing approach that I was instantly more interested in the role.
So the emphasis on culture fit made the role more appealing?
When I first interview for a senior role I always go in with a ‘let’s see what it’s like’ attitude. I don’t know the person I could be working for so I’m trying to gather as much information as I can about them too. When I met Peter, I quickly decided I really did want to work with this guy because I could learn a lot from him. He demonstrated great leadership strength in the interview and I felt my leadership style would complement his and we’d work well together.
Why do you think Peter’s approach to the interview was different?
Peter’s speciality is people. He knew what the team needed in their next leader. There were big shoes to fill in the role because the previous incumbent was held in such high regard, but there had also been a lot of change and there were new staff to nurture. Peter wanted a ‘coach’ to help his young team take the next step in their evolution. As deputy CFO, it was a very important role to get right. He needed someone who could liaise at the highest levels of the organisation - and get the troops going. He knew exactly what he was looking for and that makes a difference. You have to know.
How did you handle a lack of health sector experience at interview?
When the question about how I would overcome a lack of health experience came up I focussed on my demonstrated ability to successfully change industries throughout my career and how I could bring fresh eyes to the role. My background in utilities was helpful because it meant I had a good understanding of regulated markets in general. I indicated a commitment to doing any training needed to get me up to speed with the health industry, but that my first priority would be getting out into the operation and learning as quickly as I could from the people who knew the business best. Basically, I said “I’m a quick learner and I really want the job!”
What was the on-boarding experience like?
It was really positive. After I accepted the role over the phone, they didn’t send the contract out to me. Peter asked if we could meet in person. When we met he congratulated me and then sat down and worked through the contract with me. Before I started, my three direct reports also asked if we could meet for coffee and I also had regular contact with Peter’s EA keeping me informed of little things prior to starting. It was a great experience- they did everything right.