5 Key Tips for Nailing a Job Interview in New Zealand

Whether you’re migrating to New Zealand or are simply spending a year backpacking around the country, finding a job is usually the first thing on your to-do list, right? (If not, it should be, mate.)

We’ve already released a blog on the myriad ways you can seek employment in NZ, but all that effort will be for naught if you don’t nail the final job interview.

Oh, and it’s not just about being good with the English language (for one, the Kiwi accent will make you reconsider that assessment) either. There are quite a few small but significant things NZ employers look for in prospective employees, and here’s how you can demonstrate such:

1. Do your homework.

Do your homework
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You should try to research a bit about the company you’re applying at, and this goes for any job-hunting endeavors anywhere in the world.

Knowing a little bit about your prospective employer’s company will not only enable you to give better-suited answers, but it will also help you come up with good questions for your interviewer instead of just sitting there like a lemon at the end of the interview.

On a more practical note, you may also want to draw up questions about the job on offer. In case these don’t get answered over the course of the interview, feel free to bring them up at the end. It shows gumption, which is always impressive.

2. Bring your papers.

bring your papers
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Did you know that New Zealand employers actually hire job applicants on the spot? When that happens, you want to exhibit initiative and foresight by having your papers ready.

Which documents should you have on hand? For starters, you need your Inland Revenue Department (IRD) number, your passport, a couple copies of your CV, and your bank account number.

Don’t hand in your papers until they hire you, though. You wouldn’t want to come off as too cocky!

3. Show up to the right place and at the right time.

Show up to the right place and at the right time
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We Filipinos are used to having job interviews at the actual workplace, but it isn’t uncommon for NZ employers to invite you to a cafe or bar either. If the latter’s the case, look up the address on Google maps and figure out your route so you don’t get lost on the day of the interview.

Aim to arrive about ten minutes before you’re due to begin so you can settle down a bit and be more relaxed.

4. Keep things real.

Keep things real
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It might be tempting to talk up your past achievements when prompted, but it’s best to be more low-key about things.

Most NZ employers would prefer it if you conducted yourself as though you were sharing past work experiences with a friend, so don’t approach the interview like a sales pitch that you need to BS your way through.

Remember that an honest, straightforward demeanor goes a long way in NZ.

5. Follow up.

Follow up

Quick, how do you make it so that your interviewer remembers you out of all the candidates that day?

In New Zealand, it’s quite simple: send a short follow-up email to your interviewer within 24 hours after you meet with them. Something like “It was great meeting you this afternoon” along with something relevant is enough to remind them that you exist.

So, you see, while what you say is important, job interviews are really more about an employer sizing you up through non-verbal cues and gestures as these things can reveal more about a person than their CV ever can.

Do take comfort in the fact that Kiwi employers are known to value character and a good attitude over a lengthy resume (skills can be taught after all).


4 Ways to Nab a Job in New Zealand

Wanderlust doesn’t come cheap. To be able to travel as often as you would have your Instagram followers believe, you must either be a.) an heir or heiress with a humongous trust fund, b.) a Kardashian/Jenner/”social climber/influencer” (Ugh), c.) someone who can find a job anywhere to pay for their trips.

So, unless you’re part of the privileged 1% (or are really, really good at taking selfies and thus qualifying as a “social influencer”), Option C is pretty much your only choice.

Let’s say you wouldn’t wanted to spend an entire summer backpacking around New Zealand. What are the ways in which you can quickly find a part-time job to help fund your adventures?

1. Join a job recruitment agency.

Join a job recruitment agency

These agencies usually get a heads-up on job openings long before these hit the newspapers or the Internet, if they do at all. Also, signing up with them is usually free, so while it’s not the most foolproof way to get a job, you’ve also got nothing to lose by having this option in your arsenal.

It should also be noted that while the primary duty of a recruitment agency is to match you up with a prospective employer, your chances of getting a job still rely heavily on your CV and how well you do during the interview.

2. Browse the newspapers, bulletins, and job boards.

Browse the newspapers, bulletins, and job boards
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A bulletin is basically a magazine with short news stories and classified ads, and you can get one of these as well as the local newspaper at any convenience store. Ask around as to when these dailies are released so you can be among the first to apply for the job openings advertised within them.

New Zealand still makes use of notice boards, and your hostel might have one that displays local job openings, so be sure to ask the receptionist if they’ve got one.

3. Apply for jobs online.

Apply for jobs online
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This is perhaps the easiest option since you can do this anywhere so long as you have a good wi-fi signal. You can even get started with the application process before you even get on the plane.

Provided that your CV and preliminary communication with prospective employers kick a**, it’ll take even less time for you to land a job since you’ll just have to attend interviews upon arrival.

Do note, however, that there’s likely to be more competition in busier towns like Auckland or Wellington, so you better get cracking once you’ve booked your ticket. Try visiting sites like TradeMe, SEEK, or Seasonal Jobs for a start.

4. Approach employers face-to-face.

Approach employers face-to-face
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A proactive confidence and a go-getter attitude are highly-prized traits among New Zealand’s employers.

Here’s how you can demonstrate such: once you’ve settled in, print out a few copies of your CV and take a walk around town. Go inside supermarkets, hotels, and other similar establishments you could see yourself working in, ask for the manager, and inquire about any job openings open to tourists or backpackers.

If they answer in the affirmative, introduce yourself and submit a  copy of your CV.

You may not hit pay dirt on your first try, but this is still arguably the best way to get employment in New Zealand, so long as you remain persistent.

It goes without saying that you should have a working holiday visa in place before you embark on a job search, lest you find your trip abruptly cut short (i.e., because working illegally can get you deported).

Good luck!