Advice for migrants: How to prepare for an interview in New Zealand

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Find out how to prepare for a New Zealand job interview where you will usually be assessed on your behaviour in previous work situations.

You have an interview set up for a job. So what will the interview be like?

The majority of job interviews by New Zealand employers are behavioural based. This means that during the interview you are assessed on your behaviour in previous work situations.

What will they ask me?

You can expect a mixture of questions, including some around your past experiences, skills and qualifications, and some around work situations. Be prepared for questions about your strengths and weaknesses, what you think will be the most important skills for the successful applicant, and what the role will involve on a day-to-day basis. They want to know you’ve read the job description and understand what the role entails.

Answering behavioural-based interview questions using STAR

For behavioural-based questioning you will usually be asked by the interviewers, “Tell me about a time when you did [a certain thing]?” Before your interview you should spend time carefully considering multiple work achievements that you could use to positively showcase your abilities during an interview.

STAR in a nutshell

A commonly used model to answer the behavioural-based questions is called STAR, which stands for situation, task, action and result.

Here’s how you would use STAR during an interview, using a sales situation example.

Situation: What was the scenario or challenge you were faced with?

I needed to help my team launch a new product within 30 days. It was challenging as it was the first product of its kind in the country.

Task: What were you required to achieve?

Our task or target was to launch the new product to five different shops and make sure we had the stock and marketing to achieve sales of 1000 products in a month.

Action: What action did you take to complete the task?

My role was to make sure the stock arrived on time in the right shops. One of the challenges I had was that the product packaging hadn’t been printed. This meant I had to work with the printers to finish the design of the packaging and get it printed. Due to time pressure, the team had to pack 500 products manually so they were available for sale on time. I also went to the shops and set up the in-store displays to make the product look good for the customers.

Result: What was the outcome of your action?

I was able to make sure we had enough product on the store shelves for the launch and we reached our sales target of 1000. Although I had ordered another 1000 products, we ended up running out of stock. I told my manager we needed to order 2000 products at a time to make sure we didn’t run out. We now order 2000 as a minimum.

How do I answer general questions?

To assist with your interview preparation, find out the common interview questions and how to answer them.

Work Connect programme

Work Connect is a free 10-hour programme to help skilled migrants, partners of skilled migrants and international student graduates (Level 7 and above) prepare for the New Zealand job market.

Work Connect supports participants with personalised coaching and mentoring to help them find a job that suits their skills, experience and qualifications.

Eligibility criteria apply. Find out more and apply now.

Updated 16 Jul 2018