Make a strong start

Migrants are often surprised that the Kiwi workplace can be much less formal than what they are used to from home.

This means that job interviews in New Zealand usually start and end with informal chat or small talk. From the very start of your interview, you should show that you are comfortable having informal relationships with your managers and colleagues. 

First impressions are important. Give a strong handshake, look the interviewer in the eye and dress appropriately. Don’t forget to smile!

It all starts with a good first impression. Remember to be friendly, look the interviewers in the eye, shake hands firmly1 and use professional language. Even though the interview may begin informally, remember that you need to maintain a high level of professionalism for the entire time that you are there. You are being evaluated from the moment you walk in the door.

What does it mean to be professional in New Zealand?

- Integrity and honesty
- Professional dress and appearance
- Confidentiality
- Respect for others
- Punctuality and reliability
- Competence
- Good communication skills
- Strong work ethic and dedication
- Taking pride in your work
- Humility

This scenario looks at how you can make a strong start to a New Zealand job interview.

In which answer do you think the candidate gives the best response?

Did you find us OK?

Yes.

Oh she doesn’t seem very friendly…

Yes I did, thank you. I came by yesterday to see where the building was.

She seems friendly. She also showed initiative by coming to check where the building was first.

I thought it would be easy but then I got lost. I had a very hard time finding the room. It would be helpful if there were more signs.

What a serious answer. She seems quite blunt and not very friendly. I was only trying to make her feel comfortable.

Migrant: What does this mean? Did I find the building? Of course I did.

Migrant: “Yes.”

Employer: Oh she doesn’t seem very friendly…

Migrant: I’ll tell them about what happened to me yesterday

Migrant: “Yes I did, thank you. I came by yesterday to see where the building was.”

Employer: She seems friendly. She also showed initiative by coming to check where the building was first.

Migrant: It was a terrible experience trying to find this building. They should make it more obvious.

Migrant: “I thought it would be easy but then I got lost. I had a very hard time finding the room. It would be helpful if there were more signs.”

Employer: What a serious answer. She seems quite blunt and not very friendly. I was only trying to make her feel comfortable.

Up next

Manage the amount of information you give

New Zealand employers do not want to hear long stories of ‘important’ companies you have worked for. Having a well-structured answer ready can help you to provide the right amount of relevant information.

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