Lincoln University admits some of its staff thought they were talking to a visiting academic when its new vice-chancellor interviewed about 20 of them.
Robin Pollard, deputy vice-chancellor at the University of Central Lancashire, takes up the role in March. The former Christchurch man has worked at universities around the world.
Lincoln University appointment and remuneration committee chairman Sir Graeme Harrison said today that while some of the university's staff knew who Professor Pollard was when they spoke to him, others did not.
He introduced himself as he pleased because he wanted confidentiality in terms of his existing role.
"With the value of hindsight it should have been done differently," Sir Graeme told Morning Report, admitting some staff had been deceived.
"But I want to also say that as soon as we'd actually made the appointment, and it was unanimous by the council, he got in contact with all those he interviewed and explained his position."
He said Professor Pollard was undertaking his own due diligence during the recruitment process, and the university allowed him to do so.