actuarial interview response strategies

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Rory Hauser, Actuarial Recruiter at Smith Hanley Associates, shares his firm’s forty years of recruiting experience in helping you address the most common questions with the best actuarial interview response strategies. Very useful advice in this hot, candidate-driven job market.

Tell me about your exam progress?

The number one most common actuarial interview question is, ‘Tell me about your exam progress.’ If you are pre-ASA or pre-ACAS, be ready for this one. The best actuarial interview response strategies for this one are a consistent rate of exam taking and passing. Red flags include multiple fails, long breaks in-between sitting for an exam or inconsistent story lines on your exam strategy.

Why do you want to work for our company?

Make sure you research every company you interview with. You should know the team’s backgrounds, the company product lines and the culture it is known for, whether correct or not. Make sure you check your sources for credibility and accuracy. Every company likes to be held in high regard and if you can respond with real positives about the company, you will reap the rewards of making them feel good about themselves and by extension, you. One of the best actuarial interview response strategies.

Tell me about your proficiency with XYZ software?

It is critical not to overstate your expertise in the software area. Anyone who claims to be an expert in a particular software, is known immediately to not be one. Experts know what they don’t know, which with software is always something. Overstating your skill set will work against you. Discuss what you have done with a particular software on-the-job. Experiences from school aren’t as desirable or as applied. This area of expertise is becoming more important in the actuarial skill set and becoming one of the more common actuarial interview response strategies to prepare.

Tell me about a project or discuss a bullet on your resume?

When interviewing with another actuary, always assume they are well versed in the topic you are discussing. Make sure you answer in the first person, ‘I built or my responsibility was…’ If you answer with ‘we or my team’ it diminishes your impact or knowledge of what you are discussing. Include how this particular work impacted your current company. The best work evokes change.

What are you looking to gain from this opportunity?

Almost always one of the best actuarial interview response strategies to this question should focus on your search for growth, both personal and professional. You need to be specific how the position you are interviewing for helps you to grow. Is it a new product line or exposure to a new software that excites you about this role? Sharing specifics about what does excite you is essential to selling your interest. Perhaps you could talk about what your previous role lacked and how this opportunity changes that course of your career.

Do you have any questions for me?

Your answer to this question is always, ‘yes.’ You will either have some prepared questions that weren’t covered in the interview or through reflecting on the conversation you just had. Ask for clarity or expansion of something you are particularly interested in. Try to focus on longer term goals. ‘What does success look like here after 1-3 years?’ Setting expectations for your first few months is fairly straightforward but it is more revealing to hear what your interviewer things are the long-term opportunities or career path at their firm.

Interested in picking an experienced actuarial recruiter’s brain further? Reach out to Smith Hanley Associates’ Actuarial Recruiter, Rory Hauser at rhauser@smithhanley.com


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