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Job- How to Get Over the “WHV” Rejection?

“I have a WHV and nobody wants to hire me. No one wants to sponsor WHV anyway … I won’t get a job here”

Does this sound familiar?
If yes, you are not alone.

Thousands of backpackers feel the same way every year, and even more since the law changed (abolition of 457, replacement with the 2-stream TSS visa).

The problem is that you need a visa to stay in Australia. The easiest one being the sponsor (TSS), the de facto or for young French people the VIE.

However, companies are reluctant to hire WHV: they have a reputation of unreliability, laziness and opportunism – their main concern is the visa, not the job.

So how can you increase your chances despite your WHV?

How can you convince a recruiter to overlook your visa?
How can you get this “alright, let’s give it a try, you can start tomorrow”?

There is no magic pill which will enable this.

But there is an approach that can transform a “no” into a “maybe” and a “maybe” into a “yes”.

Below is the best approach I found after spending the last years helping reliable backpackers to get jobs and sponsors.

Interview: What NOT to do & what to do?

Here is what typically happens during an interview:

Manager:            So, what visa do you have?
Job-Hunter:       I’m on a Working Holiday Visa
Manager:            Oh, I’m sorry, we don’t hire WHV…
Job-Hunter:       *sad face, will not have this job*

That’s not good.

The interview is over and you have to start the process again with another company.

Let’s have another shot at it:

Manager:            So, what visa do you have?

Job-Hunter:       My visa is not a problem. The real problem now for you is that you need a [your job] in your team because you have deadlines and objectives to meet. You need someone immediately operational. I’m this person: I can start tomorrow, adapt to your team and deliver the results you need.

Manager: … *not convinced yet*

Job-Hunter:       To go back to the visa, I’m currently on a Working Holiday Visa. There are several ways I can stay here in the long term, so the visa is not an issue.

Manager:            I’m not sure I understand. If you are on a WHV, don’t you need a sponsor?

Job-Hunter:       Not now. I can start tomorrow to work for you. Regarding the long term, yes, the sponsorship is one of the options. And I do want to stay long-term. But that is not an issue now: let’s start by focusing on what I can immediately do for you, and when I can start.

Manager:            Hum ok, why not. If the visa is not an issue for now, we can continue the interview…


Let’s step back and analyse what happened here:

  1. The job-hunter appeased the manager
  2. The job-hunter focused on what mattered for the recruiter: the company’s needs
  3. The job-hunter took control of the discussion by focusing on the next steps: being hired

Another way to see it is:

Schema Art 1

Here, the job-hunter understands the fundamental differences between their goals:
Job-hunters goal: get a job to get sponsored. Getting the dream job is a bonus
– Manager goal: find someone trustworthy to fill a gap in the organisation.

During a discussion, focusing purely on your perspective is ineffective: the other one has no interest in helping you (said in a blunter way: nobody cares about you as long as you don’t help them)

On the contrary, focusing on them will make you understand:

  1. What they want,
  2. What you can do for them and
  3. How you can align what they want with your goals.

Specifically, when looking for a job: understand what problems the managers have and you use it in your favor to become the solution.

Bonus Tips

Focus on being hired first: if you don’t, you will not get sponsored.

Consequence: don’t say you are looking for a sponsor, say you are looking for a job.

Of course the topic of sponsorship will be discussed later on. But don’t speak about it in your first discussion, especially if nobody asks you. You want to show you are a good fit for the job before starting asking for things.

This shows your focus on the company (“someone for a job” is what they need) and not on you (a sponsor is what you need)

Last tip: you can go even further by saying “I am looking to work on challenging problems as a [your job]” to reinforce your message: you are here to solve their problem, even the hard ones.

Next steps:

Tell me your story: have you already been rejected because of your WHV? If yes, how did you approach this situation? Do you think this approach could be useful for you?

For other practical tips, get updates on my articles and the best content I share here

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