They come from different walks of life. They're former journalists, recent graduates and tour guides but they share two things in common: they're Canadian and they're all in the line for one of the "Best Jobs In The World".
But these aren't typical job interview, nor are these your typical jobs. They're positions with Tourism Australia and include gigs such as the "Taste Master", an "Outback Adventurer", and "Chief Funster" (yes, that's the actual job title). The positions are just some of six titles Tourism Australia whipped up as part of their 2013 "Best Jobs In The World" campaign, drawing in roughly 45,000 applications across the globe, including a few Canadian contenders, like Chris Henschel, a photographer, filmmaker and animator from Montreal.
Like many Canadians, Henschel first heard about the contest through a friend.
"It was a friend who posted it on Facebook and asked if anyone was looking for a dream job and I said, 'yes, I'm looking for a job and a dream job would be great.' So I filled out the application and as soon as you fill one out, they ask you to make a video," Henschel told The Huffington Post over the phone.
The videos were the applicants' first chance to make an impression for the judges at Tourism Australia, a 30-second pitch on who they were, their stories and credentials. Last April, eight Canadians found they had been short listed, including Henschel who found out on April 23 while sitting at home.
"I decided to check my email and saw the notification email saying you've been short listed. Initially I was all like 'really?' but I clicked it, thinking it was a joke or something, but it turned out to be legitimate," said Henschel.
Now he and his fellow Canadian competitors have till May 7 to earn as many endorsements and as much media coverage as possible in order to advance to the next round, which whittles down the 25 short-listed contenders to a final three. It's a process that Greg Snell, a tour guide specializing in small group international tourism, says has been one of the "biggest obstacles" of the competition.
Canadian Contenders For Australia's 2013 Best Jobs In The World Competition. Story continues below.
Still, Snell, who's the only Canadian fighting for the job of a wildlife caretaker, is confident that his nationality put's him at an advantage.
"It's incredible seeing the diversity of the shortlist," Snell told The Huffington Post Canada. "Being the only Canadian in my category is a plus. I'm one step ahead. I've got a real chance." It's also a chance for Snell to add Australia to his list of 37 countries, the Oshawa, Ont. native has visited in the last seven years.
For Margi Shah, a contender for the park ranger job, this year's competition represent's one last chance for her to get paid to do what she spent years studying in school
"I had already applied for my Australia work-holiday visa," said Shah, referring to the process which lets Canadians legally work in Australia without having to be a resident, "so I figured that if I didn't apply, I'd kick myself for not doing this," she told The Huffington Post.
"Australia's a great place for wilderness and the outdoors and that's the kind of field I'm in. I did my masters in biodiversity and conservation and my undergrad in zoology and biology at Western. It's also the last day for the work visa for me since I just turned 30 in November and the visa ends when you're 31 so this is my last chance," said Shah.
Then there's Salina Siu, a recent graduate from Simon Fraser University in British Columbia. Like Snell, Siu is the only Canadian in the running for the job of Chief Funster, a job that mixes events, festivals and promotion via social media. Despite, being one of the younger applicants, she wanted something different from the rest of her fellow graduates.
"I'm in this position because since graduating, I've been doing some soul searching, asking 'what do I want out of life?'... I think it's important for people to step back and ask themselves what they want and that's how you can find opportunities to do what you love and experience new things. A lot of people are just graduating and they just want to jump into a full-time job that's permanent and so sometimes that holds you back," Siu told the Huffington Post Canada.
For Mary Gazze, one of two Canadians applying for the job of Taste Master, there's little holding her back. The Toronto resident works as a communication specialist with the Canadian Restaurant & Foodservices Association and told Huffington Post Canada, she's fortunate enough to have the backing of her colleagues and her husband.
"My husband works from home and his company isn't actually based in Toronto. So he can work anywhere in the world. He's already talked it over with his boss in case it happens. Me personally, I told my boss here and the first words out of her mouth were 'you would be perfect for this job'," said Gazze.
While many of the Canadian contestants are in a position where buying a one-way ticket to Australia would be easy, Henschel describes the thought as something "scary". He has yet to travel outside North America and his wife is in Montreal. Still, he says, the two have been talking more about moving to Australia ever since he's been shortlisted.
"It was easier to talk about it when my chances were infinitesimal and now that there's an actual possibility, it's a little bit harder," said Henschel. "But we've discussed the possibility of her sticking around here for a little bit and then coming over to Australia if that were to happen. We'll make it work."
Tourism Australia's Best Jobs In The World competition wraps up on June 21. Readers can voice their support on contenders on Twitter using the hashtag #bestjobs or leave a comment down below.