What interviewers are looking for?

Partner PwC Shares Insight on Job Interviews

Troy Florence 8 - Copy

“If you can get an interviewer to forget about their list of questions and just have a conversation then you’ve done a great job and will have made a fantastic impression!”

  • So Troy tell us a bit more about yourself?

I’m an Assurance Partner at PwC in New Zealand. I started here as a graduate after university and have worked in a number of parts of the firm here and overseas over the years.

  • How involved are you in the hiring process at PwC, especially interviewing potential candidates?

I have been involved in interviewing summer interns, graduates and experienced people who are typically transferring from PwC firms overseas.

  • Being a Partner at one of the Big Four Firms, what do you think are the three must-haves in potential candidates?
    • Interpersonal skills – the ability to get along with other people
    • The ability to learn
    • Self-motivation, pride in their work and a strong drive to excel
  • When conducting job interviews, what is the first thing that you notice about candidates and how much impact does it have in their being ultimately hired?

Between being introduced and walking into the meeting room, I like to quickly strike up a conversation on an area I know or think is relevant to them. I do this to first try to put them at ease, but also to get a gauge on their interpersonal skills. This is an interesting start, but there is still 45-60 minutes left, so it’s certainly not a case of ‘make or break’, with the first question!

(Good point! Normally people get so worried when they make a bad start that they tend to mess up the whole interview. I guess this point will help a lot of my readers as they now know that they still have time to cover up for a bad first impression) 

  • When it comes to communication skills and candidates being able to express themselves during an interview, how important do you think they are versus a candidate being technically sound?

A base level of technical skills is generally required to get to the interview stage (though there are exceptions) – but we can coach and teach people the further technical skills they’ll need for the job. In my mind, communication skill is the most important factor by the time it comes to the interview – which is one of the main points of meeting people in person for an interview!

  • Besides communication skills and technical knowledge of the potential candidates is there anything in particular that you look for during the job interviews?

We also want people who are motivated to be high performing professionals, who are committed to our purpose of building trust in society and solving important problems. Anything you can do to demonstrate your drive for success would be great.

  • Since you have conducted numerous interviews, what would you say are the most important and least important attributes for a potential candidate, starting with the most important?

There are numerous important attributes for our people. It’s hard to rank them because we want to look at the whole person, plus we also want and need diversity in our firm. Having people with different strengths, backgrounds and experiences all add to the rich diversity of our firm.

  • What is the one big blunder that you’ve seen candidates make that has ultimately led them on not being hired?

While I want people to be relaxed and enjoy the interview to help us both learn about each other, you still need to be professional and exercise good judgment about how much you share. (This doesn’t happen often, but I have seen it)

(Oh! That’s quite a unique and interesting point)

  1. Would you like to share a little advice with our readers?

If you can get an interviewer to forget about their list of questions and just have a conversation then you’ve done a great job and will have made a fantastic impression!

(Wow! Thanks for the wise words Troy)

Please note:

  • All questions have been answered by Troy in his personal capacity and will have no impact on the organisation he works for;
  • Please do not spam Troy with questions about opportunities at PwC, he has answered the questions in good faith to help people prepare better for interviews. If you have any questions for Troy or me, feel free to comment below and we will try and answer them. However considering the fact that this is a very busy period for Troy (thank you, Troy, for still doing this 🙂 ) we can’t promise responses.

Up next:

Interview with Ayesha Jawed, Dentist / Lecturer at Jinnah Medical and Dental College, Pakistan

When: 28 May 2016

You can do any of the following to get notified when the interview gets published:


Also, don’t forget what our previous panelist had to say:

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