The process

The process of coming to work with us has five steps: applying, a phone interview, a face to face interview, background checks, and an offer.

The process of coming to work with us has five steps.

  1. Applying
  2. A phone interview
  3. A face to face interview
  4. Background checks
  5. An offer

More information on each of these steps can be found below, or by clicking on the relevant step in the image to the left.  

See our FAQ section for more information.

1. Applying

All applications for positions with NIWA need to be made online.

Visit Careers at Science New Zealand to see and apply for NIWA jobs

As part of your application, you will be asked to upload a cover letter and your CV. You also have the option of uploading copies of your qualifications and academic transcripts. You will also be asked to answer some questions so we can understand why you are applying for this particular role, and what your experience has been so far in your career.

We encourage you to take your time with your application. Any screening questions are asked because they are a necessary part of the selection process.

The position description for the position will be available on-line when you make your application. Be sure to save a copy of the position description for future reference, as you are likely to want to refer to it later on if you're selected for an interview. 

Application tips

Cover Letter – We strongly recommend that you customise your cover letter for the position you're applying for as your cover letter is the first impression managers will have!

It's important to focus on why you think the role suits your skills and experience, giving brief examples where you can. In particular, focus on how you are able to demonstrate the requirements detailed in the Person Specification. As a guide a cover letter should generally be no more than a page.

CV – It's really important that your CV is up to date, as this tells us about your relevant experience and employment history. With both your CV and cover letter, be sure to spell check and proof for any errors. Both of these documents will tell us about your attention to detail.

For more tips on developing your CV, the following link may be useful:

2. Phone interview

Phone interviews are a great way for us to get to know you, and establish whether you have the core skills and experience required for the role. It's also an opportunity for us to clarify salary expectations with you, so we're all on the same page regarding the remuneration for the position.

Phone interviews are brief and will take approximately 10 minutes. Please be aware that a phone interview is a key step in the selection process. As such, we recommend that you make sure that you're in a quiet place where you won't be disturbed. If we call at a bad time, just let us know an appropriate time to call you back.

The information obtained during the phone interview will be reviewed by the Hiring Manager, and a decision will be made as to whether you have been selected for a face to face interview. We will contact you either via phone or email to advise you of the outcome of your phone interview. 

3. Face to face interviews

If you've been selected for a face to face interview, congratulations! We only select the very best applicants to meet with us in person.

At the interview you will meet with the Hiring Manager and usually 1-2 other NIWA staff members who have relevant expertise. The purpose of the interview is to get to know you better and understand how your skills, knowledge and experience align to the key competencies and requirements for the position as detailed in the position description.

We have a structured interview process, which means we'll be asking similar questions of each candidate. The questions will be behaviourally based, which means we'll be asking you to tell us about past experiences. 

Interview tips

Be prepared! Make sure you have read the Position Description and you have noted any questions regarding the position that you may have. Identify what you can bring to the position, in terms of your relevant skills, knowledge and experience.

Do your research. Know who we are and what we do.

Have examples. Think about your previous positions and be prepared to provide examples. 

4. Background checks

To ensure that we only employ top quality candidates, we have a thorough background checking process.

For each candidate we complete the following:

  • reference checks
  • qualification verification (where relevant to the role)
  • eligibility to work in NZ
  • criminal conviction check for senior management and finance positions.

Following the completion of the background checks, we will decide whether to offer the preferred candidate the position.

We will contact you via phone to advise you of the outcome. 

5. Offer

We usually make the initial offer of employment over the phone. The Hiring Manager will provide you with the key details of the offer, e.g. remuneration, leave etc, and answer any questions you may have. It is likely that a starting date will also be discussed at this point. In some cases, if you are based overseas, this may be done via email.

People and Capability will send the formal employment agreement and new starter pack to you in the mail.

Then we look forward to you joining us at NIWA! 

Candidate care promise

We understand that applying for a new job is a significant decision, and we're committed to ensuring that you have a positive and professional recruitment experience with us.

Our key focus is regular communication with you, to make sure you're informed of your progress, every step of the way.

To give you an opportunity to tell us how we've measured up, we'll send you a Candidate Care Survey approximately one month after the vacancy has been filled. We use the survey results (anonymously of course) to help us maintain and improve our NIWA candidate experience. 

If you have any queries about the recruitment process please contact People and Capability Team.

Contact us

Evan Baddock, NIWA
Castle Mount snow station.
Diver carrying out survey in Lake Waikaremoana.
Sample gas is frozen back from the MAT253 after stable isotope analysis for later Carbon-14 analysis.
Fishing Trawl.
NIWA scientist Daniel Leduc with NIWA's new Hitachi TM-3000 Tabletop Microscope.
Ikatere - Malcolm Francis (L) and Daniel Jones (R).
Kaharoa in Papeete, Tahiti.