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How to Nail a Job Interview in New Zealand


The final step to getting a job!

This is the most nerve-wracking part of any job hunting process. It’s a positive thing that you have passed the first hurdles of finding a job vacancy and getting your CV noticed. Next, is the final attempt to get a job by nailing the job interview!

Thankfully, job interviews in New Zealand take a more casual approach than what you might be used to. Interviews are often casual and short – so casual, in fact, that it is likely you will be having this interview over a quick coffee in a cafe or a drink at a bar.

That being said, you still want to make a good impression and prove you can do a good job in the role you are applying for. Follow our tips below on how to nail the job interview, including how to talk about your past experience to Kiwi employers and how to follow up your job interview.

5 Quick tips to nail the job interview

  • Do your research on the company values.
  • Dress smartly.
  • Take your CV, IRD number, bank account number and passport with you.
  • Ask questions.
  • Follow up the interview with a quick email.
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Research the company

For your best chance of interview success, learn a bit about the company before you attend an interview. Not only will this give you a better understanding of your role in the company, but it will give you ammunition for asking informed questions about the company and job role.

At the end of every job interview, you can guarantee that the employer is going to ask: “Do you have any questions?” Instead of sitting there like a lemon with nothing to say, have some questions prepared for when this question comes up. This will make you look enthusiastic about the job. Make a list of all the things you would like to know about the job and, if they are not answered during the interview, bring them up in the end.

Additionally, doing some research will help you understand the company’s values, which you can incorporate in your answers you give. A good place to start with finding these company values is in the “About” section of their website.


Take your documents with you

A lot of the time, New Zealand employers hire job applicants on the spot, so prepare for this by taking the relevant documents with you.

Although you can hand over your CV before being asked at the interview, don’t hand over the other documents unless asked. That would make you look far too confident!

Take the following documents to the interview with you:

  • IRD number. Even if you don’t have the IRD letter with your number, make sure you have your number on hand to give to the employer. (Don’t know what an IRD is? Find out here in New Zealand Work Tax System).
  • A couple of copies of your CV. There might be more than one person interviewing you so take a couple of copies or keep the extra copy of your CV to refer to when talking to the employer.
  • Passport. The employer will need a copy of your passport to employ you. Either take a photocopy yourself, or the employer will make a copy.
  • Bank account number.


Keep it real when talking about your past experience

See your job interview as a discussion about your past work experience with a friend, rather than a sales pitch which you have to bullshit your way through. You’ll just seem shifty and untrustworthy.

Be casual. Use real examples of things that you have done in your previous experience, whether its work, volunteer or college experience.

With that, when it comes to answering questions, think before you answer. Even if you need to say: “Can you give me a minute to think about that?” That will look a whole lot better than stuttering your way through an unthought answer. It’s a good idea to practice talking about your past work experience just before attending the interview so you are in the mindset of thinking about your work experience and the achievements and challenges you met along the way.


Interview location

For your interview, the employer will let you know a time and place to meet up. Research exactly where the meet up location is before attending the interview, complete with Google Street View images so you know exactly where you are going and how you are going to get there. This way, you won’t be late. We recommend arriving about 10 minutes early to an interview.

Although some employers carry out interviews in their office, it’s really not uncommon in New Zealand to go out to a bar or cafe for a job interview. This sort of environment adds to the casual feel of most job interviews in New Zealand, so should help you feel relaxed.


Follow up

Don’t leave your employer hanging. Make yourself memorable by sending a quick email within 24 hours of the interview. A good time is on the evening after the interview.

All you need to say is something along the lines of: “It was great meeting you this afternoon,” and anything relevant to what you talked about in the interview. It doesn’t need to be long. Just a quick reminder that you exist!

Good luck on your job interview!

Make sure you read up on the articles below to help you out once you get the job.

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