Recruitment: Frequently asked questions

Nick Stanley
By Nick Stanley

Answers to questions MyHR receives from its members about the recruitment process.


Questions covered:

Where is the best place to advertise for good quality candidates?

There is no complete, one-stop shop, so aim for a wide audience by advertising your vacancy in a variety of places, including social media and the more traditional recruitment avenues like job websites, publications, and boards.

It’s wise to do some research to find out where candidates in your industry are looking; this will help you target your advertising.

Also, be sure to keep a constant eye out for talent - internal as well as external - and build connections and networks so you have a bunch of good candidates to reach out to.

Get more useful recruitment tips.

Can I advertise for someone who speaks another language in addition to English?

Yes. An employer can advertise for someone who speaks another language so long as the language is needed to perform the job and the information won’t be used to discriminate against candidates.

What can I ask referees?

Questions to referees should be relevant to your assessment of the candidate and their ability to do the job, e.g. their skills, strengths, and achievements, and how they might fit in your team. 

Look to supplement the information already collected by asking referees if the person has any areas that need developing, how the referee found managing the person, or if they had any concerns.

Be aware that under the Privacy Act 1993, the collecting of information cannot intrude unreasonably on an applicant’s personal affairs.

Should I make my offer conditional on reference checks?

You can make an offer of employment subject to satisfactory references. This can work well where you are under some time pressure, either on the candidate’s side (e.g. the candidate is in hot demand and you want to get an offer in front of them before they’re snapped up by someone else), or the business side (e.g. you are critically short-staffed and willing to take a punt on someone before you check all their references).

Do I need to do police or criminal record checks?

It depends on the role. If prior criminal convictions are relevant to the job, then criminal history checks with the Ministry of Justice or NZ Police Vetting Service are a good idea.

Some jobs are legally required to have completed police vetting or criminal conviction checks, e.g. a core worker providing services or support to children must have a police vetting completed before they start work.

Applicants don't have to offer information about their previous criminal convictions if they are not asked to, but if you are planning to check criminal records, you must get the person’s permission (in writing) before you do. We recommend stating this requirement in your job application forms.

The employee has worked for us before, can we still put them on a probationary period?

Yes. You can put any employee new to a job on a probationary period, even if they already work for you and are changing roles.

However, you can’t put an employee who’s worked for you before on a trial period, even if you’re a business of less than 30 employees.

Find out more about getting the most out of probationary periods.

Can I put candidates through pre-employment work tests?

Yes, you can use tests to assess how well an applicant performs a particular key task or part of the job. Psychometric assessments (sometimes called “personality tests”) and knowledge tests can also be useful in choosing the best candidates.

Make sure you are transparent about any testing, administer tests properly, and don’t use the results to discriminate against applicants on grounds like age, gender, ethnicity, disability or religion. 

Your tests shouldn’t deliver any commercial benefit to the business, e.g. you can have a barista make a coffee, but drink it yourself or give it to your staff. Don’t serve the coffee to a customer.

What is a psychometric test in recruitment?

Psychometric tests are standardised tests to find out if a candidate’s cognitive ability, personality type, or skills suit the role.

The assessments can take various forms, depending on what is being tested, e.g. numerical, verbal, logical, or mechanical reasoning, and can be an efficient way to sort out the best applicants. 

Psychometric tests are designed to be objective and unbiased, but employers should still ensure all assessment practices are free from discrimination and bias.

Find out more about psychometric testing at

Is it illegal to recruit employees from another company?

It’s not against the law to hire (or “poach”) employees from another company, even if they’re a competitor.

However, be careful what the employee that you’re trying to hire has in their employment agreement. If their current employer has included a restraint of trade or non-solicitation clause, the employee may be legally prevented from working for you (or from doing certain kinds of work for you).

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