Empowering Jobseekers through Motivational Interviewing

Dr Rachel Callaghan, National Operations Manager at Back2Work Health Specialists will speak on Empowering Jobseekers through Motivational Interviewing at the 3rd Annual Australian Long-Term Unemployment Conference this December.

Rachel Callaghan is a clinical psychologist who has a Doctorate of Psychology (Clinical) and a Bachelor of Behavioural Science (Honours Psychology) from Queensland University of Technology. She has a particular interest in working with individuals experiencing mental illness and as they endeavour to move back into work. Working in the employment services sector she sees the real benefit that work brings to the lives of those living with mental illness.

Dr Rachel Callaghan
Dr Rachel Callaghan

The aim of this presentation is to increase the knowledge and skills of those working with the long-term unemployed to empower jobseekers through a motivational interviewing framework. Motivational interviewing is a style of engaging with jobseekers to inspire them to commence thinking about the possibility of change and what that might look like for them. This presentation will cover the key principles of motivational interviewing and practical techniques for how employment consultants can apply these principles in the context of a case study of a long-term unemployed jobseeker.

The theme of the 3rd Annual Australian Long-Term Unemployment Conference is Finding Solutions.  This year’s conference focuses on business working together with employment facilitators and agencies to create positive outcomes for Australia’s long-term unemployed.

What are employers looking for in their workforce?  Are these criteria being met by supply agencies?  What are the external issues? How does the long term unemployed person fit into this?

For more information on the 3rd Annual Australian Long-Term Unemployment Conference and to secure your registration visit the conference website today.





  1. There is usually a good reason that the long term unemployed remain unemployed. Sometimes it is the unemployed but when the unemployed is a older and experienced worker with good experience it is most likely the employer or changing society, that is manufacturing jobs are disappearing etc.

    It isn’t always about retraining, often it is as simple as helping the person understand other roles where their skills are likely to be in demand. In my experience this is something that most job providers are hopeless at. Quite literally the people working in the job providers just don’t have the skills or knowledge to be able to advise the long term unemployed what jobs may be in demand and what opportunities are available that can use the unemployed’s life skills and transferable skills. Invariably the conversation goes something like, “your a smart guy, can’t you work it out?”.

    As I said, they are long term unemployed for a reason, the employers don’t want what they are offering, this is clearly evident from the one job a day rejection they receive. That is 250 rejections a year. Clearly applying for the same jobs over and over is unlikely to result in employers suddenly changing their opinion of the job seeker. Who is helping them find the jobs that employers might consider them a worthwhile fit? Short answer, no-one.

    Telling someone who is qualified to be the CEO of a nursing home that their pathway back into employment is to take a job as an orderly pushing wheelchairs is not a solution yet it seems to be the advice that is given out.

    Brett James