Is This Australia’s Most Flexible Job?

Is this Australia's most flexible job? HorizonOne Recruitment Canberra. With scribes able to choose their own work hours and do a lot of their work at home, they may be the most fortunate workforce in Australia!

Managing your own time, working from home, calling the shots on your work hours…it’s a lifestyle that most of us can only dream about.

But for those with a career in scribing, it’s a reality.

Scribing is an essential part of the Australian Public Service (APS) recruitment process, which is why there is a high demand for quality scribes in Canberra. HorizonOne manages a team of approximately 30 casual scribes in the ACT, and another dozen interstate who supply services to the public and private sectors.

With scribes able to choose their own work hours and do a lot of their work at home, they may be the most fortunate workforce in Australia! But don’t take my word for it.

Here are a few insights from some of our valued scribes:

Is this Australia's most flexible job? HorizonOne Recruitment Canberra. With scribes able to choose their own work hours and do a lot of their work at home, they may be the most fortunate workforce in Australia! - Matt Radisich

Why I became a scribe:

I started scribing in mid 2017, after a long career in the public service. I’m semi-retired and wasn’t keen to work full time. However, I did not want to stop work completely, and liked the idea of keeping my skills current and staying up to speed on life in the public service. Scribing is also a great way to supplement my superannuation income.

What I love about scribing:

I felt confident stepping into scribing as I was familiar with the selection process, having been involved in many recruitment processes throughout my public service career.  I love the flexibility of scribing, as much of the work can be done at home. Sometimes that means I’m working late at night, or on a Sunday morning, but it’s my choice. It’s also relatively stress free and I love that the work comes in packages.  I get the satisfaction of focusing on and completing a specific job and then moving on to the next, which you don’t often experience in a regular office job.

Top tips:

Find a great agency to work with. HorizonOne provide good training and guidance, and have excellent reference material.  They’ll find the work for you and manage the relationship with the client. They’re also understanding and accommodating of other regular commitments you may have.  There’s good money to be made if you make availability a top priority. For me, I like to work around 15 hours a week – so you should decide what you want before you step in.

Is this Australia's most flexible job? HorizonOne Recruitment Canberra. With scribes able to choose their own work hours and do a lot of their work at home, they may be the most fortunate workforce in Australia! - Amanda Murray-Pearce

Why I became a scribe:

I was in the public service for almost 20 years, and decided to leave after we found out that my young daughter required additional support, and I didn’t want to manage caring for her and working in a full time EL2 position. Once she started school, I was keen to re-enter the workforce but needed something flexible. HorizonOne were fantastic – it was daunting getting my head back into the work space after a number of years at home, but they were very supportive.

What I love about scribing:

It was a relaxed introduction into scribing, with Melissa and Lyndal taking me through the induction, providing a comprehensive guidance manual, examples of what other scribes had done, and then feedback on all my reports. I don’t feel guilty if I have to turn down a job, and I love knowing the work is there but I can continue to be available for my kids when they need me. Working from home, I’m there if the school rings or something unexpected comes up. HorizonOne are also great at cherry picking jobs that meet my requirements for the days I want to work.

Top tips:

Pick a schedule and try to stick to it. It helps if you can make full days available, because sometimes interviews run over time and it’s better if you don’t have to rush off for school pick up. The flexibility goes both ways – you need to be flexible, but scribing offers great flexibility too. I like to work a few days a week, which may mean attending interviews on a Thursday or Friday and writing and potential reference checking the following week. I would certainly support anyone who wants to be a scribe – it’s a very positive occupation. There’s a pressure to go back to work full time when you become a parent, and try to do it all. With scribing, you can use your skills, earn a good wage and be treated like a professional, but with a new level of flexibility.

Is this Australia's most flexible job? HorizonOne Recruitment Canberra. With scribes able to choose their own work hours and do a lot of their work at home, they may be the most fortunate workforce in Australia! - Ross Small

Why I became a scribe:

I retired from the public service 10 years ago, and have been scribing for 9 years now. I was previously in a human resource management role, so scribing felt like a natural step. I like the work because I can do it part time, interact with people, work from home, and it doesn’t get in the way of a healthy retirement life.

What I love about scribing:

I love the interactions with people, and being part of the recruitment process. I’ve done a lot of bulk recruitment campaigns, such as facilitating new recruits to the ACT Fire and Rescue service. It’s also inspiring to interact in a facilitation role with young graduates who want to join the public service. HorizonOne do a great job of facilitating the relationship between the scribe and the client, and they take the time to understand what you’re looking for and how you want to work.

Top tips:

As a scribe, it’s important to remember that you are part of a larger picture. So you need to keep in mind that the recruiting decisions are not yours to make; you’re there to help the process. There’s a lot of pros to scribing, and not too many cons! I’ve met scribes of all ages, and it’s certainly a job you can do for many years and still really enjoy it.


If scribing sounds like the dream job for you, here’s a little more info to get you started…

Scribes offer a valuable service assisting Selection Committees with taking comprehensive notes during recruitment interviews, which is transposed into Selection Committee Reports for the panel and Delegate.

They may also:

  • Provide shortlisting services
  • Conduct reference checks
  • Assess work sample tests
  • Act as an independent panel member
  • Provide executive minute taking services
  • Be part of “bulk recruitment” rounds where they act as a facilitator helping to guide panel members and applicants through various recruitment activities (such as Graduate rounds).

Skills

You don’t need any specific qualifications to be a scribe, however we often find that former APS staff are able to grasp the job quickly, as they may have had previous experience with the APS recruitment rounds and/or have an understanding of the APS merit-based selection processes.

The skills needed to be a scribe include:

  • Exceptional time management
  • Able to motivate yourself and work autonomously
  • High level written skills
  • Great listening skills
  • Reliability and flexibility
  • Able to work to tight deadlines and manage competing priorities
  • Able to develop rapport with clients

Training

Scribes who join HorizonOne receive induction training, and ongoing support including information on specific client requirements, Selection Committee Report templates and sample redacted reports. This ensures that scribes have all the information and knowledge they need to meet ours and our clients’ expectations.

The beauty of scribing is that our scribes essentially work autonomously, yet we pride ourselves on building a team which provides ongoing support and guidance for our scribes. We work very closely with our team of scribes ensuring that they have all the information and tools required, while continually procuring work for them.

Work hours

While the role of a scribe is casual and sporadic in nature, we have scribes who are happy to work full time hours, while others prefer a few days a week due to family commitments. Some scribes are semi-retired and work to fund overseas holidays during the year. Others have second businesses, and scribe for the additional income.

At HorizonOne, we have an extensive client base that relies on us to provide accomplished scribes. We have three internal staff (myself, Lyndal and Madeline) who ensure our clients have the right scribe on hand to meet their needs, and that our team of scribes are able to meet their requirements.

Want to learn more?

As a public servant turned scribe, and now a Scribe Team Lead for over 12 years, I have had the pleasure of experiencing scribing from all angles.

I’m able to put myself in your shoes, and know that the support we offer to our casual scribe team at HorizonOne is invaluable in helping you get started in a new career in scribing.

Is this Australia's most flexible job? HorizonOne Recruitment Canberra. With scribes able to choose their own work hours and do a lot of their work at home, they may be the most fortunate workforce in Australia! - Melissa Frazer 6189 1044

About the author

Melissa Frazer
Team Leader - Scribing & Campaigns Management

Melissa Frazer