ADF Careers information and recruitment preparation

A dream worth fighting for

The Hoplite Founder's ADF Careers Recruitment Journey

Welcome to Hoplite! So great to see you here!

I have served in the Australian Army for 13 years (now serving Part-time), and created this platform to help those looking for careers of service! If you have any comments, or feedback for the site, please share your thoughts.

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ADF Careers information and recruitment preparation

From a young age, I was always drawn to the armed forces – to have a career that was both mentally and physically challenging was my dream.

As a second-generation Australian migrant, my family did not have a Defence background. I did not have access to serving family members or friends. In-fact, I had only limited sources of information – the internet, and recruiting brochures. Nonetheless, I continued on my journey. I was motivated by the thought that I could Serve our nation that gave my migrant heritage so much opportunity and support.

My Defence career was a rocky start to say the least. At 17, I applied for Army as a General Service Officer at the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA), to have my dreams of serving shattered when the Medical Officer deemed myself ‘not fit for Defence Service’ due knee surgery I had when I was younger. I appealed this medical decision, and was granted with a ‘do not apply within 2 years’ medical decision.

I knew Defence would be challenging, is this what they call character building?

Once the medical restriction was lifted, I applied again for the same role with ADFA. At this time, I was studying at University, and eager to jump across and pursue other studies with ADFA. Having passed the recruiting gates including medical, I attended the Officer Selection Board (OSB). I failed my OSB, being told I “would make a great soldier, and did not display any Officer qualities”. To this, I was disappointed, but I would persevere.

I was afforded the opportunity to apply for another Service at this point in recruitment, and quickly shifted my preference to a Navy Officer role at ADFA. I passed and was recommended, but there were no vacancies for my enlistment as it was one of the last OSB’s held that year. Not willing to wait another year, I had some decisions to make.

By this point, I was close to finishing my degree, so I decided to apply for a General Entry role in the Army Reserves (Part-time). Starting the recruiting process again, I fronted up to the recruiting centre, I passed all the required gates and was relieved to be enlisted into the Australian Army.

Tips for getting through the Australian Defence Force recruitment process.

1. Preparation is key. You may not know what you want to do, but it is important to seek out people or methods for guiding your decision making. I attended as many Defence Force Recruiting events as I could, so I strongly encourage it. The military recruiting staff will be more than happy to field your questions, and are selected by the Services to represent the organisation. Explore the Hoplite community and access all the free content – courses, aptitude tests, blogs etc.

2. Practice for the aptitude test. There is a misconception that the aptitude test is testing your current ‘acquired’ knowledge through school. Although that may be correct to an extent, the testing procedure is uncommon and can throw-off the most gifted academic. Get used to answering questions quickly, and expose yourself to as many practice quizzes you can find. Your aptitude test results unlock the jobs you are eligible to do – so if you want your option/s, practice the test. 

Don’t be disheartened by any medical speed-bumps – you have the right to appeal, and there are always options.

3. The Assessment day I would consider to be the start of the ‘formal’ process. You will be interviewed by a uniformed Defence member and have your medical and psychological appointments. Dress and bearing is key – first impressions count. You will be expected to know ‘what you’re getting yourself into’. So learn about your job role preferences, the training requirements, what your Service requirements are etc.

The start of a rewarding career…

My childhood dream of becoming a soldier came to reality and the ability to be employed Part-Time whilst at University was both exciting and eye-opening. The expectation is that you will contribute 1 night a week, 1 weekend a month, and 2 weeks a year; however, the reality is that you need to contribute a minimum of 20 days a year to maintain your currency – very achievable.

During my university degree, I met all my soldier qualifications and training requirements, participated in field exercises and other supporting tasks. My Army Reserves commitment saw me parading on a Tuesday night, for 3 hours, to which we conducted activities such as group physical training, weapons training, or preparation for upcoming Army courses or field exercises. It was not much time out of my week, and I used the time to up-skill myself whilst finishing my degree before I joined the Army full-time.

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You can maintain your primary job with tax-free earning as an Army Reservist

After spending time in the Part-Time Army and now finishing University, I transferred, passed the OSB, and became a full-time Army Officer after attending the Royal Military College Duntroon. My soldier skills were beneficial within the first 6 months of training – basic soldiering, shooting, section level operations, field craft etc. However, after the first 6 months, and for the following 2 Classes (semesters of training), it was a level playing field. Basic soldiering and field craft quickly shifted to military academics and platoon level operations. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Duntroon, it was exceptionally challenging, rewarding, and I successfully graduated as an Infantry Officer.

Time as an Infantry Officer was high tempo and working with soldiers was highly rewarding for myself. If you see yourself speciliasing in a skill-set and being hands-on, a General Entry career path may be suitable for your interests. Whilst being hands-on is experienced at different points and at varying lengths for an Officer career, expect to be conducting administration and planning activities predominately in your role (there are lucky roles that stay more hands-on for longer).

No matter what rank or role you have, your Defence skills are highly sought-out for by civilian employers

Through General Entry, you will become highly trained and specialised within your trade, which can have benefits on your career transition as you have highly employable skillsets and experience within the civilian world. Through Officer Entry, you will also be trained and specialise in your role, making you highly suited to managerial roles. Both entry paths will develop your management and leadership skills on career commencement – so think about what you want for your career.

Closing thoughts

After leaving the full-time Army recently (now Part-time), I can say that I am tremendously proud of my Service, and respect the people that contribute so much to our nation. Times were tough, but the results and camaraderie outweighed the adversity. Defence paid for courses on my career transition and that set me up for success starting my new civilian role.

If you are thinking of joining, seek out methods to answer your burning questions. Part-time service was a great steppingstone for myself and gave me the options to switch to full-time service, whilst experiencing Service life.

Through the housing benefits, I have been able to rent and live in some incredible parts of cities, and also maximise the use of housing purchase assistance schemes to buy a home. If you play your cards right, you can certainly set your financial future up for success. It is a highly stable career, with opportunities to travel and spend high amounts of time with your mates in some pretty incredible places.

I hope this helped you on your journey. Register now with Hoplite and unlock your potential.  

Until next time,

Sam Kourloufas
Hoplite Founder/CEO

Defence Force Careers Army Navy Airforce

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