Job interviews in New Zealand

Going for an interview in New Zealand might differ a little or a lot from interviews in your home country. Check out our suggestions to help you prepare.

What will the interview be like?

Interviews in New Zealand can differ depending on the type of job and employer. Before you go to an interview, ask the employer what the interview will involve, so that you can prepare yourself.

For example, you may want to ask how many people will interview you, or whether you will have to pass any selection tests.

Be prepared for a formal interview but remember the employer wants to get to know you, so making a joke or talking about non-work topics is fine. It is common to be interviewed by a panel of three to four people.

The interview is also an opportunity to research the organisation or position. This may help you decide whether it is the right role for you.

How should I prepare?

A panel interviews a job applicant

Many organisations in New Zealand do panel interviews

Preparation for interviews is essential and will make a difference to how you perform and how well you market yourself.

  1. Find out about the employer

    If you know what the organisation does, you'll feel more confident about answering their questions, and the people interviewing you will be impressed. Checking the organisation's website is usually the best way to learn more about what they do.
  2. Practise answering interview questions and prepare your own questions

    Review the job description along with your CV and cover letter to help you practise answers to interview questions. This way you'll know which of your skills and abilities to highlight in the interview. It's also important to prepare your own questions as you will likely be asked at the end of the interview whether you have any questions.
  3. Plan what you will wear and how you will travel to the interview

    You don't want to be in a rush on the morning of your interview, and you definitely don't want to be late, so make sure you have your clothing ready and travel sorted the night before the interview.
  4. Make sure you are clear about the interview process

    Some selection processes involve undertaking tests, delivering a presentation, or completing other tasks. It is also important to know whether you are going to be interviewed by a person or a panel of people.

Tips for the interview

  • Listen carefully to what you are being asked and treat each question as a chance to demonstrate your strengths.
  • Speak for no less than 30 seconds and no more than two minutes per answer.
  • Pause before answering if you don't understand a question, and ask the interviewer to rephrase the question. That way, they will ask the same question using different words.
  • Be positive and friendly. The employer wants to find out if you will fit in with the organisation.
  • Show your knowledge of the employer's business.

Where can I get help with interviews?

  • In New Zealand, you are entitled to take a family member or friend along to a job interview for support.
  • If you would like to learn more about job interviewing, there may be an organisation in your area that is able to help.

Updated 4 Nov 2020