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The Bill Munday School of Business at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas, partners with top Austin business leaders, who share their views and expertise to help students reach their goals.

 

What does it take to land a great job at one of the most admired, in-demand companies on the planet? Joseph Filip, regional lead for the ads integrity team at Facebook and graduate of St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas, has interviewed more than 100 people during his five years at the company, for roles ranging from entry-level positions to senior managers.

His lessons — from what he wants to see on a résumé to the perfect answer to his first question — are applicable to anyone looking to get hired.

When you get a résumé, what are you looking for? Technical skills? Management background?

Assuming candidates meet the general requirements for the job, what we’re really looking for are people who take initiative, who solve problems on their own, or who pursue their interests on a deep and successful level.

So assuming two candidates meet the job qualifications, you’d be interested in hiring the world-class cello player over someone who didn’t have any similar interests?

Yes. What we’re actually looking for is a personality trait. It’s not just that someone plays the cello, it’s that they’re driven to figure out new skills, challenge themselves, learn from other people, and find opportunities to grow. One time, someone applied for a position as a data scientist, but part of her résumé was a project she did analyzing the frequency of different words used by East Coast and West Coast rappers. She liked solving interesting problems just for fun. That’s someone we want to work with.

Once you get someone in for an interview, what are the answers you’re really listening for when you ask questions?

The question that is the most consistent indicator about whether someone is going to be successful here is the very first question: “Why do you want to work here?”

Why?

You can usually tell from the answer if they care about what the company cares about, if they understand what drives the company’s employees and its business. For the best candidates, the answer tends to focus not on what they’re good at or their technical skills, but bigger picture things. For us, that might mean they’re interested in the unexpected challenges of dealing with 1.4 billion users or how we structure complex data sets.

What other questions are important?

For any question, you should be thinking about why an interviewer is asking you that question. As the candidate, you want a job. But they’re talking to you for different reasons. They want to find out if they want to work with you, if you’ll help them meet new clients or push new code or make money. Understand what they want and answer within that broader context.

Graduate programs in The Bill Munday School of Business at St. Edward’s University prepare students for professional success by helping them build highly sought-after skills. Learn more about our convenient weekend and evening programs.

Erin Peterson is a freelance writer.