Interview Tips



Before your interview it is important to know where the venue of your interview will be. If you are unsure where the venue is seek further clarification from your recruitment consultant. Allow yourself enough time to navigate through hectic traffic and to find a car park.

Plan what you will wear the night before your interview. Make sure your clothes are pressed and your shoes are polished. You can only make a first impression once, so make sure it is a positive one. Take into consideration the organisation's culture to determine whether it is appropriate to wear formal business attire or casual business attire. If you are unsure be conservative. Be careful not to have clothing, accessories or hair that is loose and hides your eyes. The panel want to see your face when they are speaking with you.


The better prepared you are for your interview the more confident you will feel. Know yourself! Make sure you are familiar with all the information in your CV. Think about your strengths, weaknesses, skills, goals, professional aspirations, preferences, leadership style, subordinate style

Make yourself familiar with the job description and person specification and think about what knowledge and experience you have that you could talk about at the interview.

Research the organisation and the job. In addition to the information your consultant will provide, it is important to do your own research. Find out as much as possible by talking with someone in the organisation is possible, or with someone working in a similar position for another organisation.

Scan the internet for more information such as the annual report, charter, statement of intent or vision statement. Often the first question asked in an interview is "What do you know about our organisation?" The more you know about the job and the organisation, the more positively you'll be able to answer questions. Try to appear confident without adopting a "know it all" attitude.

Whānau support

Many organisations will offer you the chance to bring whānau support to your interview. The decision to bring whānau is entirely up to you. Some people feel more comfortable talking about themselves with the selection panel only, others derive their strength from their whānau. Similar to referee's, whānau support members can give the panel a positive last impression of you. When you are applying for a position that requires you to demonstrate your relationship with the local community it can be beneficial to bring community stakeholders to support you.

The panel may ask your whānau support if they would like to add anything to support your interview. It is important that they also make sure the information they give is relevant to the competencies and the qualities that the organisation is searching for.

  • Be selective when choosing whānau support
  • Avoid allowing your whānau support to criticise the organisation or make political statements
  • Let your whānau support read the job description prior to the interview
  • Ask your recruitment consultant on how the interview will be structured and how your whānau support can participate at the interview. Give your whānau support a brief overview of the process and the role you would like them to play in your interview
  • Encourage them to be positive
  • Avoid inviting whānau who have applied for the same position

The interview

Many organisation's that use our services like to incorporate some Māori elements to their interviews. They may want to mihi at the beginning of the interview, hongi or if the position requires a fluent speaker of Māori they may conduct the interview in Māori.

Hongi or harirū

When you enter the interview room the panel may stand to shake your hand, kiss and/or give you a hongi. For many Māori organisations how you perform this will determine their first impression of you. Use what you are comfortable with and take queues from the person who is initiating the greeting. If they have chosen to kiss you on your cheek ensure you do not turn your head away as many people find this gesture offensive. It is generally acceptable to kiss on the cheek once for female. Many males will only hongi another male. All tribes use variations of hongi for greeting people, practice what you are comfortable with and keep an open mind.


Many selection panels will nominate a person to mihi to you once you have been seated. Often the person will welcome you to the interview, introduce the panel and where they are from and finally explain the interview process for the day. The panel will invite you to give a mihi in return. You can choose to mihi yourself or nominate one of your whānau to mihi on your behalf. A mihi is not a whaikōrero and it is important that your mihi is succinct and relevant to the occasion. This can be an opportunity for you to demonstrate your ability to speak Māori. It can also give you a chance to explain where you are from, who you are and what your interest in this position will be. Avoid making inappropriate or political statements about the organisation you are being interviewed by.

"Kāore te kūmara e kōrero mō tōna reka"

(The kūmara does not say how sweet it is)

Be aware that you are the best person to market yourself and if you behave like a kūmara then the panel may treat you like a kūmara. If the kūmara had a mouth it would tell the world how sweet it is.

Quick tips:

  • Show enthusiasm
  • Have a positive attitude
  • Avoid muffled tones be clear when speaking
  • Know your goals and aspirations
  • Know what sort of work you are looking for permanent/ part-time or contract work
  • Describe your achievements
  • Illustrate by example your skills and experience
  • Talk about what you are able to offer an employer
  • Focus on what you can do
  • Avoid negative words and comments like ‘I don't have', ‘limited', ‘I can't', ‘All I did was'
  • Know what your career drivers are
  • Build rapport with the panel
  • Always shake hands and hongi properly when appropriate
  • Do not make negative comments about previous employers or managers
  • Know what is written in your CV
  • Dress professionally
  • Let your recruitment consultant negotiate salary on your behalf
  • When appropriate, ask questions
  • Never chew gum during an interview
  • Always get to the interview 5 minutes early

Interview questions

There are different types of interview questions that the organisation may use. KP Solutions use a combination of general questions and behavioural based questions. Below are some examples of the different types:

Examples of general questions

  • Why did you apply for this position?
  • What is your interest in the role?
  • Tell us about yourself?
  • How would you describe your strengths?
  • What would you consider your area's for development to be?
  • What skills do you bring to the job?
  • Why should we select you for this position?
  • What would your current employer need to do to keep you?
  • Why did you leave your last job?
  • How would this position fit into your career plans?
  • What constitutes a really stressful day for you?

The panel may start off with one of these questions to help you warm up and encourage you to open up and talk.

Try not to talk too long and stick to relevant information. Be brief and concise.

Examples of behaviourally based questions

  • Can you outline a significant project that you have managed?
  • What were your key achievements in that project?
  • What did you learn?
  • Give us an example of when you worked as part of a team on a particular project?
  • Give us an example of when you had to work independently on a particular project?
  • In your previous role, did you have to deal with any difficult clients or colleagues? Describe the situation. What was your role? How did you manage this?

It is generally accepted in recruitment that past behaviours are good indicators of future behaviours. The panel ask these types of questions to get a sense of how you managed this situation in the past and judge how effectively you will perform the same task in the future.

Keep in mind the panel is looking for relevant and factual information about what you have done not what you wish you had done.

Example of hypothetical questions

  • What would you do if you had an urgent report due, your manager wants you to arrange an interview with an important client and the financial team wanted your draft budget forecast for the next month?

Remember to make sure the information you give is relevant to the competencies in the job descriptions. Avoid text book answers. Where possible give an example of how you have managed this type of thing in the past.

Examples of philosophical questions

In your opinion does what you do in your private life have an impact on your professional life?

In what situation would it be ok for an organisation to transgress tikanga Māori?

Here the selection panel are trying to find out how you might fit in with the culture of their organisation. This type of question is easier to answer if you know or have done some research about the organisation prior to the interview.

Remember to make sure the information you give is relevant to the competencies in the job description and the qualities they have indicated in the person description. Avoid text book answers. Where possible give an example of how you have managed this type of situation in the past.

Closed Questions

In a situation where the panel ask a closed question, where ever possible try and expand a little by saying how much experience you have and give examples.

  • What hours would you prefer to work?
  • Do you have experience using the organisations database?
  • Have you organised a Powhiri before?

At the end of the interview the panel will often ask if you have anything else about yourself that you think is relevant to share. Remember to make sure the information you give is relevant to the competencies in the job description and the qualities they have indicated in the person description. Avoid text book answers.

Question to ask a panel

Try not to ask too many questions and make sure that the question you ask impart your positive attitude towards the job.

29b Bunyan Road,
Whakatāne - Map

Contact Details
Email: KP Solutions
Phone: (64 7) 308 6322
Fax: (64 7) 929 5856

Postal Address
PO Box 603
Whakatane 3158