What Do Interviewers Want?

Lily Boyer

Lily works with students and alumni on their career exploration, job search strategies, and career development. She comes to Carey with extensive business experience in various industries. She coached professionals on career transition, advancement, and relationship management. Lily holds an MBA from the University of Connecticut with a concentration in Finance, and a BA in Computer Science from the Queens College of the City University of New York. She is an International Coach Federation (ICF) Associate Certified Coach (ACC), Certified Professional Coach by the Institute of Executive Coaching and Leadership, and an administrator of several assessments including Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and CareerLeader.

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Have you ever thought: Only if I knew what the interviewer wants, I can easily ace this interview?

Fortunately, an executive from Goldman Sachs summarized what he wants to see in an interviewee:

Ability to understand the question and answer the question. That sounds simple, right? Not quite. Some people don’t address the question but go on a tangent. A patient interviewer would ask other questions to bring the conversation back on track, but an impatient interviewer would terminate the conversation pretty soon.

Enthusiasm for the position and passion for what you do. The interviewer detects pretty quickly if an interviewee is really interested in the position, or if the interviewee seeks this position out because there is nothing else going on.

Essentially, every interviewer wants to determine if the interviewee has the technical skills needed for the position, and if the person would be a pleasure to work with. We spend most of our waking hours at work, so it’s important that we all work well together.

If you don’t understand an interviewer’s question, do not be afraid to ask for clarification. Do your homework before the interview so you understand the position and requirements. Find aspects of the position and the company that excite you, and reflect on your experience and background that you can capitalize on and grow. Be curious about the team, the work, and your interviewer. Think about the questions you want to ask. Refer to Career Navigator for helpful resources.

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