How to get a Hardrock Underground Mining Job using inside knowledge

There is nothing like using a bit of inside knowledge to get ahead. For those that are chasing a career in the Hardrock Underground Mining industry following these steps using some inside knowledge will give you the best chance of getting a job. The steps include;

  1. Know what type of job you are looking for

  2. Understand what the hardrock underground employers want in an employee

  3. Understanding the employment process

  4. Creating a resume that will get read, so you get an interview

  5. Interview prep, knowing what the foreman or project manager want out of the interview

  6. Casting the widest net possible when job hunting

Let’s break down each step.

1. Know what type of job you are looking for

The entry level jobs you are looking for are Nipper, Truck Operator, Diamond Driller Offsider and Agi Operator. If you prepare yourself properly you can even get a Paste Crew or Service Crew job. If you type “underground” into seek you will see all the jobs come up. Due to the boom in metal prices, all employers have had no choice but to hire new starters.

Employers need bums in seats, they all want experienced people, yes, but they are just aren’t around. Traditionally, if employers can’t get an experienced person, then they will have a look at entry level people. The employers often have new starters send their resume into the experienced job ads and will often choose people from there (the employers like people that are proactive).

2. Understand what the hardrock underground employers want in an employee

The employers all want the same thing, someone that knows how their mine works. Understands the jobs they will have to do and a working knowledge of what is going to be expected of them on site. This makes it difficult for employers when they have to hire then train on site. It becomes sink or swim training and leads to a high turnover of new starters.

It also makes it very difficult for new starters to get their first job. You can’t get a job without training, you can’t get the onsite training without the job. It’s a loop that is hard to break into without knowing how the employers mine works. This is why Underground Training wrote their training packages. It’s the only training available in Australia that teaches you the exact jobs that are required of a Nipper, Truck Operator, Diamond Driller Offsider, Agi Operator and Paste Crew or Service Crew jobs.

Knowing how the employers mine works allows you to break the circle. It also helps knowing that the employers can’t use the RII Ticketing system. The employers have to issue their own on site equipment tickets and procedures for each site. These are non-transferable and have to be redone on each site you move to. This is why the job ads only ask for experience not formal qualifications.  

Once you complete the training you need to apply for all the jobs, no matter how much experience they ask for. Being able to answer the employers mining questions in the interview, it gives the employers the confidence to hire. Checkout the Wall of Fame page for people that have made our training work for them.

3. Understanding the employment process

Knowing that it’s either the Foreman or PM (Project Manager) that decides who gets hired is important. The HR department, while having a very important job collecting resumes, organising interviews, medicals, police clearances and all the paperwork involved when starting a new employee. Don’t often have much input into who gets hired. That’s down to the Foreman or PM.

This means that the employment process is built around the Foreman or PM’s schedule. It can often be a stop start process as things come up in the mine, that have to be dealt with. It also stops when they go on days off. The Foreman or PM are busy people and hiring new starters isn’t often high on the “to do” list.

However, these days in the new boom, it’s always on the “to do” list. Unfortunately, with the sink or swim training employers are forced to use there is a higher turnover of new people (the training helps you avoid this). The high turnover makes it a constant chore for Foreman or PM’s. This is why interviews can be very short (10 minutes or less) and at odd times (like late afternoons and weekends) to fit around the Foreman or PM schedule.

4. Creating a resume that will get read so you get an interview

An experienced Hardrock Underground miners resume looks a certain way. Starting at the last mine they worked on, working backwards from there. It will list the jobs they did, how long they did it for and the different machines used. It’s 2 maybe 3 pages maximum without a cover letter. This makes it easy for the Foreman and PM to cull resumes (on site) by size and content.

If your resume is 5 plus pages long and full of RII tickets that they can’t use then it’s going to get culled. When you apply as a new starter you need to put whatever you think is going to get you the job on the front page. For those that complete the training we make sure that the Underground Training course is on page one. You only have roughly 6 seconds when the Foreman or PM look at resumes. You either know something about mining or you don’t and with the 100’s of resumes they get, it really becomes that simple.

5. Interview prep, knowing what the Foreman or PM want

The easiest way to impress the Foreman or PM is showing them in the interview you know exactly what you are getting yourself into. Being able to use the correct terms and language when answering the questions is what gets you over the line. Teaching people to drive the truck is the easy bit. Putting all the mining knowledge into someone so they can be left alone to be a safe and productive member of crew, is the hard part.

If Foreman or PM can find someone that has done the training and studied (only takes 5 minutes for the Foreman’s or PM to work out if you know your stuff). Then it’s an easy win, they get someone that finds their feet in weeks. Instead of the months it normally takes with green people and without all the turnover (90% of the people that do the training that get jobs make it past the 6month mark). That’s why the employers interview, but you have to know your stuff. Get the mining questions wrong or use the wrong terms, then they will move on. But get those mining questions right, then it quickly becomes a no-brainer for the employers. You can see the types of mining questions they may ask here.

6. Casting the widest net possible job hunting

Most employers run ads every couple of weeks for the Nipper, Truck Operator, Diamond Driller Offsider, Agi Operator, Paste Crew and Service Crew jobs. To cast the widest net, you need to apply for all the ads for these jobs no matter how much experience the ad asks for. It’s best to do it daily as the jobs come up. Setting aside 30 minutes is normally enough, just don’t stop applying until you are on site in your first job.

If you are living in a mining hub that does FIFO like Perth, Brisbane, Townsville or Adelaide. Then it’s all about being ready for when the opportunities come up. If you really want it to happen as soon as possible, then relocating to a mining town like Kalgoorlie, Cobar or Mt Isa is a great way to get a start.

I hope you found that information helpful.

If you want to have a go at getting in yourself, then it doesn’t cost much or take long to teach. There is 50 hours of important information you need to learn. You can use this DIY Introduction to Underground Mining package to do it. It will not only make it much easier to get a start but it will ensure you have all the information and tools you need to make a career out of it. Giving yourself a head start climbing the crew ladder into the $700 to $2000 a day jobs like Charge Up, Longhole, Bogger and Jumbo.

If you want some help getting your start then checkout the W1N-W1N and Workready packages. They both offer a full resume and interview prep service, with Workready offering extra support learning the mining information and making a plan. If you want to talk to one of the Underground Training shift bosses about how to get into the industry then leave your details in the link.



The Mining Coach