What does an interviewer expect from a candidate?

Updated: Apr 11

Learn from 3 interviewers about the process of testing a candidate during an interview.

What do an interviewer expect from a candidate?

Each interviewer has his/her own mechanism of evaluating a candidate. I have talked to 50+ interviewers and tried to understand their mechanism of selecting or rejecting a candidate. From the list, I have selected mechanisms of 3 interviewers (from different backgrounds) and listed in the article. At the end of each interviewer’s perspective, I have written insight an interviewee should have in mind to ace an interview.



Abhishek Singh

TECHNICAL LEAD, PRICEWATERHOUSE COOPERS [PWC]

B TECH, CSE, NIT CALICUT, 2006

I work in the Architectural Security Domain for a big Bank. Well as an interviewer, I mostly expect following qualities from the candidate at a Tech Lead level:

1) The candidate should have very clear communication skills. He should not talk round the subject and avoid replying to main point

2) The candidate should have required industry knowhow and technical skills.


Insight by me:

Having good communication skills does not mean that you need to be an orator but it is an ability to put across your thoughts in lucid manner.

I would suggest aspirants to structure the thoughts before speaking.


Dr. Muhammad Shafi,

Asst. Professor, School of Management Studies, NIT Calicut

“I have had experience in interviewing the MBA aspirants than grads. What I usually put the students in stress and check their ability to manage it in their academic and professional life as well. The curriculum in most of the tier I & II institutes are designed in such manner that students have to manage deep stress similar to professional life. I use to give the aspirants the feeling of a strict viva which starts from the student’s experience while doing internship and knowledge in final project of graduation and check their aptitude to manage the basic industrial problems. The aptitude and attitude are given priority over academics, since the eligibility for doing MBA in all the institutes are only graduation in any discipline. Even though technical institutes prioritize the quantitative aptitude of a student, I also verify their general awareness while interviewing. For Group Discussions we generally prefer a vibrant issue among current affairs which everyone can participate. We assess the student’s leadership quality, initiatives, communication skills, spontaneous responses and criticism and awareness. Generally students are trained for GD and PI so we often go for a surprise module in addition to GD-PI in the interview process”

Insight by me:

1. Brushing up core subjects before your interviews is a must. If possible try to know industrial application of the concepts.

2. General awareness is important even for technical roles. Keep yourself up to date with current happenings of the country and world.


Pankaj Singh

CEO, Multi Living PGDM ALUMNUS, INDIAN INSTITUTE OF MANAGEMENT, AHMEDABAD I have had the experience of interviewing MBA grads from different IIMs and other top B-Schools. The major ones being: IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Lucknow, IIM Bangalore, Welingkar, ITM Kharghar, SIES Navi Mumbai The most important virtues I look for in a candidate are cultural fit and ethics. I do often take a candidate into the stress zone. Yes. This is important, especially for a sales profile where a manager undergoes numerous types of pressure situation on a daily basis. Many often crack under pressure. When in a tier-1 B-school, i do not focus much on the marks. But, otherwise I do. Overall, interviewing for me is a mix of candidate profile and culture testing.


Insights by me:

1. To demonstrate culture fit, you need to show leadership qualities as well as team player ability. Keep 1-2 examples prepared and mention them wherever you can.

2. To sail through stress interview, keep calm and think only about the questions, nothing else. In most of the cases, you are asked easy questions after being put under the pressure. You need to answer those easy questions correctly.


All the best for your interview.