Interview Tips

What Interviewers Want to Know

Capability Factors

  • Personal traits, characteristics, self-presentation and “social intelligence”
  • Accurate self-perception, self-awareness
  • Situation awareness: sensitivity to others’ needs, priorities and feelings
  • Recognition of personal strengths and deficits
  • Positive self-presentation: grooming, appropriate dress, posture, general demeanor
  • Responsive, articulate, succinct, self-discipline

Intellectual capacity, analytical ability and judgment

  • Critical thinking and analytical ability
  • Conceptual skills: strategic and tactical thinking, setting priorities
  • Ability to learn new skills and grasp new constructs/knowledge
  • Creativity and innovation
  • Vocabulary: breadth and usage
  • Ability to deal with complex issues and problems, to see the big picture
  • Ability to learn and generalize from past experience
  • Style when working under pressure or during a crisis
  • Ability to read social or interpersonal situations and respond appropriately

Communication abilities

  • Interpersonal: credibility, compatibility, affiliation, power-seeking, authority
  • Oral: listening, synthesizing content, expression, building rapport
  • Written: form, content, logic, clarity, persuasiveness

Work style

  • Initiative: self-starting vs. desire for instruction
  • Need for supervision vs. autonomy: team player vs. working independence
  • Project oriented vs. steady-state “maintenance oriented”
  • Need for structure vs. tolerance for ambiguity: attitude toward change
  • Humanistic, pragmatic, visionary or adventure-oriented
  • Degree of need for structure, standards, frequent feedback

Motivation-related factors

Personal values and priorities

  • Career/life objectives and personal development goals – short and long term
  • Balance between work, family and personal priorities
  • Operative values and priorities; goal and results orientation
  • External forces and factors: family, social, economic, religious, ethnic, gender, etc.

Risks and rewards

  • Motivational “hot buttons”: monetary, power, prestige, affiliation, challenge, variety
  • Definition of success, achievement, personal and professional growth
  • Attitude toward risk, uncertainty, tradition, commitment or security
  • Immediate vs. deferred gratification; nature of feedback
  • Affiliation needs and style: preferred colleagues and co-workers
  • Work location, setting, structure