Edith Cooper

When interviewing for a job, it’s instinctual to want to say what you think the interviewer wants to hear.

But if you think this is the best strategy for a successful interview, you’d be sorely mistaken, Edith Cooper, executive vice president and global head of Human Capital Management at Goldman Sachs, tells Business Insider.

If a candidate says, for example, that they have a passion for something because they think it will impress the interviewer, they should be prepared to back this statement up and talk in detail about their passion, she explains. Sadly, if the statement doesn’t come from a genuine place, this is incredibly difficult to do.

“The worst thing that I’ve experienced in an interview is when a candidate goes down a path that they’re not really comfortable with because they think it’s a path they should be on — they offer information that they believe will get someone’s attention, but they’re not ready for the followup question,” she says.

Cooper, who has interviewed thousands of job candidates during her tenure at Goldman Sachs, explains that there is a lot of information online about what interviewers are looking for, what questions candidates can expect to be asked, and what the best responses to those questions might be. But the reality is, “it’s the best answer if it’s your answer.”

“We’re not looking for what you think you should be. We’re looking for who you are,” Cooper says.

Check out the full interview below:

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