What interviewers are looking for?

Executive Director PwC on Job Interviews

Andrea Blackie

  • So Andrea tell us a bit more about yourself

I am an Executive Director within the Assurance division of PwC New Zealand (Auckland office)

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

I interview graduates, PwC scholarship candidates, external recruits and secondment applicants from overseas offices.

  • Being a Director at one of the Big Four Firms, what do you think are the three must-haves in potential candidates?

Must haves differ for the type of role a candidate is applying for. What is a must have for any level of applicant includes excellent interpersonal skills, ability to work in teams, and inquiring mindset – which includes being open to new concepts on continuous learning.  Strong technical skills or ability is a given, and will vary based on the nature of the role that is being sought.

  • When conducting interviews, what is the first thing that you notice about candidates and how much impact does it have in their being ultimately hired?

Their communication skills and ability to interact with us in an interview setting. It’s very normal for an interviewee to be a little nervous, but that is expected. Being a little nervous doesn’t have a significant impact on them being hired.

(That’s probably a big relief to most of my readers)

  • 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?

This is typically critical, also depending on the role the candidate is applying for. Some of the technical experience, university application can be a given, it’s the ability for our teams to analyse and communicate which is generally the more important of our roles.

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

An inquiring mindset, demonstrating curiosity – also experience of working in teams, and leadership attributes.

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

Not listening closely to interview questions. The worst might be where there was a pre-rehearsed answer to a question which didn’t really relate to the question we asked. It is critical to understand the question and being able to give the best example of your experience.

(Oh yes! That definitely is a big blunder!)

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

Being prepared, having had some interview experience (even informal), researching the organisation, and its strategy, and thinking about how you could contribute.

(Thanks for your time Andrea 🙂

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