International Women’s Day, 8th March. Meet Mel Schook

What is your current role & what does it entail? 

Currently I am a Dental Recruiter for Sugarman Australia based in Perth, Australia. My role is of a 360 degree nature so I manage the full recruitment cycle from candidate generation to full account management. I currently focus on the Victoria & the Northern Territory markets. I recruit for all roles within the Dental sector.

I am currently in a development program to become a Team Leader so another part of my role is to support my Divisional Manager in picking up some additional duties with our permanent team (a wonderful team of 4 Wellbeing
& Dental recruiters), additional duties include but not limited to; weekly reporting & coaching other junior members of the team.

Where did your career begin?

Like many others I fell into recruitment, my working life started working in McDonalds. I was a store 2IC at 17 years old. I then worked in a Metallurgy testing company & in 2012 I went to register as an admin temp for a white collar recruiting company & was offered a role with them instead. After a few months I took over the role as white collar recruiter and primarily worked in the technical engineering sector.

I started with Sugarman International in 2014 when we opened our doors in Perth as the Compliance Officer & Team Administrator. After having my second child I returned into a payroll/accounts capacity and eventually my current manager Janine was able to twist my arm into joining her on her recruitment team.

How have you found being a woman, working in your sector?

Working within Healthcare has been great, I do come across a lot of like minded women who are mothers who balance a full time work life as well, so I feel like it is easier to connect with people.

In the engineering sector some people could be a little condescending, jumping to an assumption that a woman wouldn’t know what the engineering or construction roles would entail. I used to make sure I had done my research
and I could easily correct their assumption and it would drive me even more to fill that vacancy quickly!

What are the current challenges for women in your sector?

A challenge I often see is women trying to enter back into the workforce and employers are not willing to give them a fair chance. I appreciate that if there has been a long gap in someone being at work they may need some updated
training on systems.

Is enough being done in the UK/Australia to promote women in the workplace?

I think Australia has a longer way to go than the UK in terms of more organisations facilitating taking maternity leave viable (generally no maternity payments are offered from employers in Australia) and also the government supporting more with child care so it is more viable for both parents to return to work.

What advice would you give someone looking to start working in your sector?

My advice would be that you cannot take people too seriously in Recruitment, people are going to be short with you and/or rude – it will be all the more sweeter when they need your help! Also just get stuck into it – the foundations
of recruitment are simple you just have to work hard and not be afraid of the phone and networking.

Would that advice be any different to a woman looking to start working in your sector?

I would just reflect on my own experience. As a working mum you have to remember not to be too hard on yourself to be perfect or to go to every assembly – as long as you are there for the important moments that’s what will count, and it is OK to want it all in terms of a family and a career that you can be proud of.

Which women in the media inspire you?

This is a hard one.. I do not pay that much attention to the media – I would have to say Ashley Graham, she certainly broke the internet and shed a more positive light on body image. Being a woman I know how we can pick ourselves apart when it comes to our bodies and having 2 girls I want to instill an attitude of confidence and not to let anyone bring you down!

Who has inspired you growing up/throughout your life?

My Mum of course, she also worked the majority of my childhood. She did a variety of things including working god awful hours before & after school (I would get my brother ready and she would get home in time to run us to school). My Dad is also a grafter – through them both I learnt the value of hard work, no matter what your job is you should always take pride in what you do.

I wanted to do the same for my family & girls – I like the fact that I can show them that a mum’s role can also be to support the household financially and you will find my toddler walking around in her heels, with a fake mobile, baby
& calculator just being a mum!

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