Show that you can work in a New Zealand way

In New Zealand, managers and employees often have an informal and friendly relationship at work. Status is not as important as in some other countries. For example, it is common to refer to your boss by their first name. Kiwi employees prefer managers to consult and ask, not to command.

In a job interview in New Zealand, it is helpful to show that you can fit in with this way of working. When talking about subjects like leadership, you need to be especially sensitive to this. Effective leaders in New Zealand are expected to be good at motivating their team while treating everyone equally and with respect.

If you are not a manager, working in a Kiwi way means that you need to be able to work independently and use your initiative, without relying on your manager to make every decision for you.

The working style is different here — people are not as blunt or direct as in some other countries.

This scenario looks at how to show that you can fit in with New Zealand workplace culture. 

Which answer do you think is best?

Tell me what you consider to be the key qualities of an effective leader.

Meeting my manager’s deadlines.

This answer shows no awareness of the key role of someone leading a team in the New Zealand context.

Making sure that my subordinates work effectively and complete their tasks. Sometimes I need to be strict with them and set firm deadlines.

He is clearly not used to working in New Zealand and our non-hierarchical work environment. I don’t think team members would like this style. The use of ‘subordinate’ and ‘strict’ suggest an inappropriate leadership style.

In my experience, the key qualities of an effective leader are: knowing the strengths of each member of the team, organising tasks, acknowledging good results, inviting comment and feedback, and supporting and providing training for team members.

He’s given a well-organised set of points. This shows evidence of clear thinking. He is a team-focused and not self-focused leader. He will get the best out of his team by being supportive and not bossy.

Migrant: I think the interviewer wants to check that I am a responsible leader who carries out the tasks my manager wants.

Migrant: “Meeting my manager’s deadlines.”

Employer: This answer shows no awareness of the key role of someone leading a team in the New Zealand context.

Migrant: I need to show the interviewer that I am a capable leader and that I have good control over my team. I take pride in a well-organised and well-disciplined team.

Migrant: “Making sure that my subordinates work effectively and complete their tasks. Sometimes I need to be strict with them and set firm deadlines.”

Employer: He is clearly not used to working in New Zealand and our non-hierarchical work environment. I don’t think team members would like this style. The use of ‘subordinate’ and ‘strict’ suggest an inappropriate leadership style.

Migrant: I think that the key role of a leader is to organise and motivate a team to deliver their best. That is what my manager would expect of me.

Migrant: “In my experience, the key qualities of an effective leader are: knowing the strengths of each member of the team, organising tasks, acknowledging good results, inviting comment and feedback, and supporting and providing training for team members.”

Employer: He’s given a well-organised set of points. This shows evidence of clear thinking. He is a team-focused and not self-focused leader. He will get the best out of his team by being supportive and not bossy.

Up next

Be ‘Kiwi confident’

In order to talk about your skills well, you need to be confident without seeming arrogant. The interviewer will expect evidence of your skills presented in a way is not boastful.

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