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  • 16th Jul

    Actuarial Interviews : How to Prepare

    You have secured an interview for a desired role – the next step is to prepare for the interview to give yourself the best possible chance of receiving a job offer. Good interview preparation is more important than ever in today’s competitive market.

    The fundamentals of interviews 

    The purpose of the interview is to establish: 

    1.Are you suitable for the role? 

    2.Do you want the role? (Is the role the right move for you?) 

    It is very important to cover both aspects.

    In terms of attitude and ambition the main question is where do you want this role to take you – why are you applying? This links into ‘why do you want this role?’ 

    Be enthusiastic and back up your answer with reality and research. You must know your CV inside out so that you can back up every point on it, and be prepared to talk about your personal achievements and why they're relevant.


    The best way to demonstrate that you want a job is to research the role and company to which you are applying. Good research will also help equip you for the interviewer’s questions and enable you to be more incisive in your questioning. Read about them online and in publications, and if you are working with a recruiter ask them for additional information.

    The interviewer’s questions 

    Often, part or all of an interview takes the form of competency based questions, such as: 

    •Tell me about a time when you worked well in a team? 

    •What were the development needs highlighted at your last performance review? 

    •Tell me about an occasion when you excelled or exceeded expectations? 

    •Can you describe a difficult situation you have dealt with? 

    •Can you tell me about how you deal with tight deadlines when you have multiple projects? 

    You will also usually be expected to answer technical questions to demonstrate in detail the depth and breadth of your experience. However this is not all they will want to know about.

    As well as questions about your experience and ambitions, they will want to get an idea of your knowledge and opinions of the wider business world, so might ask such things as

    •Describe a business model that you admire?

    •What causes a business to succeed or fail? Can you give examples?

    Being engaged with business and economic news will put you in a good position.

    Additionally they might test your communication, reasoning and comprehension skills, as actuaries need to be able to communicate effectively with many different people, as well as comprehend complex and specific information.

    Being prepared for these tests is always a good idea. Even if you are experienced in your role, a new job presents a new challenge and you might need to practice skills you have not used recently or research new areas.

    Everyone has weaknesses; be aware of yours and be able to demonstrate how you are working to address them. The key here is to show a positive attitude to the challenges ahead.

    Your questions 

    Take the opportunity to ask relevant questions to demonstrate your interest in the role and to obtain the vital information you need to make an informed decision about whether the role is right for you. Give the interviewer the chance to sell the organisation, team and role. 

    For example: 

    •How would I fit into the team? 

    •What would my day-to-day role involve? 

    •What are the big challenges that the team is currently facing? 

    •How much exposure to the board will I have? 

    •Will I have the opportunity to influence the organisation’s strategy? 

    A final point

    An overemphasis on financial considerations and contract details (often holidays) should be avoided – this can be dealt with at job offer stage. Focus on your enthusiasm for the challenge and company.

    Taken from an article originally published at:

    Careers: Face to face. Manson, Louis. - Staple Inn Actuarial Society

    Shelved at: Per: Actuary (Oxf); Per: Actuary (Lon) [Faculty: SIA/ACT] 72014

    The Actuary (2010) January

    URL: http://www.theactuary.com/archive/articles/careers3a-face-to-face/

    Abstract: Louis Manson provides top tips for that all important interview

    Posted by: Star Actuarial


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