W. P. Carey Alumni Share What Makes or Breaks an Interview

We asked W. P. Carey Alumni: What top deciding factors do employers look for during interviews?

Here is what they shared:

  • Value and Mission Sharing
  • Research
  • Integrity
  • Personality
  • Your Pitch for the Job
  • Eagerness to Join the Company

Value and Mission Sharing

The most successful businesses I work with have one core quality in common: Shared Mission.  It is vital that potential employees understand a culture (if it’s working) and have the personality and skill-set to continue the growth of the company’s mission. HR directors and skilled headhunters know how to match qualifications and personality to their company’s needs. I also believe job seekers are becoming more selective in committing to a work culture and environment. 

Candace Cotton, BS Marketing ‘00, Halo Branded Solutions


If you are unable to talk about the company you are interviewing with, don’t even bother showing up. For most roles, if you spend 15 minutes researching what the company does, any recent news, and their key differentiator, you will be light years ahead at the start of the interview. 

Dustin Sitar, MBA ‘19, BriteCo Inc


Credentials, experience, and a record of achievement are an excellent way to get your foot in the door. However, all of that does not matter if you do not have (and demonstrate) integrity. Employers with integrity will always require it at every level within their organization.

Roger Coventry, MBA ‘01, Childers & Coventry, LLC

Right Personality

The top factor for all of my employees during the interview process is personality. I am looking for someone who has strong energy and passion for our work. I can teach all the skills and nuances to succeed in our industry. I can’t teach someone to want to work hard, go above and beyond, and never say “that’s not my job”.  My top performers are all people who love helping people and work every day to support each other and our customers. 

Shannon Cliett, BS Business Management ‘06, Arizona Pain

Your Pitch for the Job

Practice pitching yourself for the role! Explain how your past experiences will set you up for success and why this role is the perfect next step in your career. Share more about what you hope to bring to the team, but also what you hope to learn from the team. Keep it concise, ideally under 2 minutes!

Tara Sheehan, BA Business Sustainability ‘12, Salesforce

Eagerness to Join the Company

I think the biggest deciding factor for our hiring managers is how eager the candidates are to join our company! The level of eagerness can make up for a slight missed performance in our coding interviews and other considerations. On the opposite end of the spectrum, we get candidates that treat our company as if we were Plan B. They want to wait to finish their interviews with other companies before accepting our offer and sometimes ask for an extension on our offer letters because the other companies are too slow to complete the interview process with them. 

That sours our opinion on them and we do not extend offer letter expiration dates. Period. Our efficiency in our interview process shows how efficient we are as a company and it’s one of our competitive advantages in hiring the best candidates. We hire people who want our company above all others.

Marsh Sutherland, MBA ‘94, Ocient

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By W. P. Carey Career Services Center
W. P. Carey Career Services Center