– Blog post by Matthew Buchholz, current MIF student

Many of IE’s Master In Finance students are currently seeking post-degree employment. The IE Master In Finance degree ensures that candidates have the requisite hard skills and educational background to begin a variety of finance-related careers. In an increasingly competitive job market however, interviews are critical to gaining employment, as hiring companies are selecting from a plethora of qualified candidates.

Given this, I have compiled “the five most-sought after employer personality traits” and “ the 10 worst body language mistakes to make in an interview”, as reported by Forbes Magazine.

The five most-sought after employer personality traits: http://www.forbes.com/sites/meghancasserly/2012/10/04/top-five-personality-traits-employers-hire-most/

Five most-sought after   employer personality traits

% of employers   specifically seeking trait

Trait Description

Advice from Forbes



First impression traits are evaluated within the first 30 seconds of meeting a candidate, and these are the top three. Confidence is reported as being the most-lacking.

Dress well, extend for a firm first hand-shake upon entering the room, and present yourself as confident and energetic, but professional.







The ability to adjust for interview- / position-required circumstances.

Before the interview, adjust resume language to fit the specific position. During the interview, ensure the conversation flows seamlessly and logically, but reference back to your experience, skills, or resume whenever possible.

Intellectual curiosity


The ability to problem solve and the ongoing dedication to learning new technologies.

Express a desire to  adapt to changing circumstances and ask questions about forthcoming trends.

The 10 worst body language mistakes to make in an interview: http://www.forbes.com/pictures/lml45lide/bad-posture-2/


Forbes’ advice

Bad posture

Leaning back is lazy or arrogant, leaning forward is aggressive and slouching is just lazy. Instead, experts say to aim for a neutral position, sitting tall as if a string were connecting your head to the ceiling.

Breaking Eye Contact

“Hold eye contact one extra eyelash, says charisma coach Cynthia Burnham. She says we tend to feel uncomfortable holding eye contact once a personal connection has been created. Don’t stare, but try to hold your interviewers gaze for one extra second before breaking away. “Do this especially when shaking hands,” she says.

Chopping and Pointing

Cynthia Burnham, a California-based charisma coach, says chopping or pointing motions can”cut up” the space between you and your interviewer in an aggressive way.

Crossed Arms

“Arms crossed over your chest signal defensiveness and resistance,” says Karen Friedman, communications expert. “When they’re open at your sides you appear more approachable.”

Excessive Nodding

Sometimes we undermine how powerful or in focus we are by nodding like a bobble-head doll, says   Burnham, a habit that’s particularly common in women. “Nod once or twice with a smile of agreement. But find your still center and stay there.”


Stop fidgeting! says   Amanda Augustine of TheLadders. “The nervous energy will distract the interviewer. You want [him or her] focused on what you have to say, not the coins jingling in your pocket or the hangnail on your finger.”

Hands Behind Back

It’s important to appear approachable and open, so don’t try to control gestures or fidgeting by keeping your hands still. This is especially important when you begin to speak, says Friedman. “Keeping your hands in your pockets or behind your back inhibits movement and makes you appear stiff.”

Mismatched Expressions

If your tone isn’t matching your facial expression you could find yourself in hot water, says communications coach Matt Eventoff. “If someone asks what you’re most passionate about and your face is in deadpan while you answer, it’s not going to translate well.”

Shifty Eyes

Friedman says distracted or upward eye movements can suggest someone is lying or not sure of themselves. “It’s important to look someone directly in the eye to convey confidence and certainty.”


It’s important to be confident and look the interviewer in the eye, says Amanda Augustine, job search expert at TheLadders. “But then break away. Locking eyes with someone for an extended period of time can be interpreted as aggressive, not to mention creepy.”