What kind of employees are New Zealand employers looking for?

New Zealand employers are typically small firms with no more than 20 employees and they need people who can make a positive contribution to their organisations. For this reason they need people who:

Do the job

  • Employers need people who can do the job, often from the first day.
  • They value work experience over qualifications.
  • Job seekers must convince employers they have done that job before and can perform the tasks with limited training.
  • Small businesses do not have the time or resources to do a lot of training for new staff.

Committed staff

  • Employers are looking for committed staff, who are prepared to put in time and effort to make sure their job is done well.
  • Committed staff are happy to be at work, they focus on helping the business succeed and they volunteer to take on extra responsibilities.
  • Replacing staff is time consuming and expensive for business. Employers are looking for people who will stay a minimum of 2 years.

Indispensable problem solvers

Employers are also looking for problem solvers who have a “can-do attitude”. This means you will always try to figure out a way to get your work done, and won’t rely on others to solve your problems or do things for you.

Reliability and loyalty

Being reliable and loyal means that your employer can count on you to arrive on time and to get your work done.

Good social skills

  • Employers want to hire friendly people who will get along with their customers and other staff.
  • Even if your English is not perfect, you need to be prepared to talk to people and to answer any questions that people ask.

English – Verbal and written confidence

  • Only one language is spoken in most New Zealand businesses – English.
  • Employers need all employees to be able to speak accurately and confidently to their customers.
  • If your English is not fluent, you need to work on making it better. The best way to improve your English is to use it – ask your family and friends to help you practice.
  • Confidence can make up for some lack of English skills. In an interview situation, do not rush, listen carefully, speak clearly and slowly, keep your head up and smile.

Computer skills

There are very few jobs in New Zealand that do not use computers and it is expected that most employees will have basic computer skills:

  • Microsoft is used in the majority of New Zealand businesses.
  • You will be expected to have a good understanding of Microsoft Windows, Word and/or Excel.
  • A fast typing speed is not required or assessed for most positions.
  • Email is a standard communication tool and most employers will expect you to be familiar with Microsoft Outlook.
  • Many job advertisements will ask you to submit a CV via email. Having an email account is useful for the job search process. You can set up free accounts through sites like www.hotmail.com or www.yahoo.com.
  • Use of the Internet is also common in New Zealand. A basic ability to find information through search engines like www.google.co.nz, and data sites like www.whatis.com is useful and will also help you to research New Zealand and look for jobs.

Recruitment and Selection Case Study:

The following case gives an excellent example to show what New Zealand employers are looking for in a new employee:


A company has to decide between two job candidates.

  1. Ali has better skills and training than the other candidate. In his interview, when the employer asks Ali questions he gives “yes” and “no” answers and does not smile.
  2. Zenat has good skills but only a limited amount of training. In her interview, when the employer asks Zenat questions she looks at him, smiles and answers his questions with full sentences.

The company chooses Zenat for the job because they know she will be able to talk to customers and the other staff. They decide they can give her more training if there are gaps in her skills.

Case study provided by NEW KIWIS

Read more Job Search FAQ's:

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