Networking in New Zealand
As 97% of New Zealand businesses are small organisations, employers and employees are often in close contact. This is why when hiring, 4 out of 5 employers, prefer to do so through their social network — looking for people they can trust.
If you are considering moving to New Zealand or if you have just arrived, creating your network of contacts or even knowing where to start can be a daunting process.
Anna Fyfe, one of our Job Search Coaches, is confident that the best way to begin is to reach out to employers, employees and recruiters in your industry, and ask them to have an informal chat over a coffee. This might seem odd for international job seekers, but in New Zealand, is quite common.
Reaching out and networking doesn’t mean you should ask for a job straight away. The objective is to show your interest in their industry, asking what the challenges and opportunities are and how you might fit in, given your expertise.
In Anna’s experience, when looking for a job in New Zealand, most people are reluctant to reach out to new and unfamiliar contacts and build their local network.
She advises avoiding sitting at home in front of the computer screen and hitting apply to dozens of job applications, as this approach doesn’t often deliver good results, particularly considering that many employers don’t advertise their jobs online.
It usually takes a real switch in mindset to commence the networking process. You might have to do things differently to the way you’ve done them previously, and in your home country.
Anna encourages job seekers in your position, to write well prepared and personalised emails and LinkedIn messages to people who might be able to offer you advice about your industry.
Remember that you are approaching a different culture to what you may be used to.
We recommend keeping in mind that:
- New Zealand culture is relatively informal;
- Hierarchy is not very important here;
- New Zealand has few degrees of separation (e.g. running into the Prime Minister isn’t that difficult here);
- And, most importantly, a message from a stranger is not likely to be viewed with suspicion and might be answered.
Anna’s tips for connecting comfortably in NZ:
- Keep it reasonably informal - we don’t tend to use titles, and prefer a first-name basis, even when we don’t know someone. We don’t call generally call people ‘Sir’ or “Madam”, and rather than feel respected, your NZ listener (or reader) may feel awkward.
- Maintain a bit of humility - job seeking is, of course, about showing off your skills and achievements, but New Zealanders tend to be put off if this is done explicitly. We can be a bit reserved in this respect.
- Recognise that most New Zealanders are generally indirect communicators, most requests will be delivered in a very roundabout way, rather than directly.
The information for this article was extracted from Anna's original blog-post "You want me to do what?!".
Read more about finding a job in New Zealand:
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