You've written a great CV, sent off your job application and received an invitation to attend an interview. So how do you prepare for that all important interview?
How to ace a graduate actuarial job interview
- 1.First impressions count. Dress smartly to fit into a corporate business environment. This usually means a smart, well-fitting business suit.
- 2.Give a good strong handshake.
- 3. Be punctual - it is not good practice to keep your interviewer waiting. It is better to be early than late, so plan your travel time accordingly.
- 4. Do your research - make sure you have read up on what the company does and the company's brief history. Find out about any important events that have happened to the company in the last few years. Ensure you understand roughly what the role is about. If you know who your interviewers are, try and research their background so you know more about the people you will be speaking to (LinkedIn is a great tool for this).
5. Get a good general understanding on what the current issues are in the industry of the job you are interviewing for. Have a look at the news section on the Actuarial Profession's website (www.actuaries.org.uk) or look through a recent issue ofThe Actuarymagazine to get an idea of recent actuarial news. The Actuarial Profession also holds annual conferences for each of the main actuarial sectors (life, health and care, general insurance, investment, pensions and risk) covering a wide range of current topics, so have a look through conference brochures on the Actuarial Profession website to see what issues are currently of interest to actuarial professionals in those sectors.
- 6.Interview questions may be competency-based, e.g. Describe a time when you have worked well in a team, describe a time when you had to multi-task etc. Make sure you think through examples you can give to such questions before your interview. Your answers don't have to be work-based; they can be taken from your experience at university, doing a part time job, being part of any clubs or societies, any sports you play and any hobbies you have. Remember to explicitly talk aboutyourcontribution to the team exercise the interviewer is not concerned about what everyone else did.
- 7.Maintain eye contact with your interviewers. Do not look at the floor or your hands, maintaining eye contact suggests that you are interested and listening to what they have to say.
- 8.Think about any questions you may have regarding the role, the company, or even the study support you may be given as an actuarial student, and have these ready at hand for when your interviewers asks "do you have any questions?". Remember this is your chance to demonstrate your interest in the role and also to get a better understanding of the role and what would be required of you.
- 9.You may be required to carry out a team task as part of an assessment day. The interviewers are likely to be watching how you interact with other people and within a team, so try and make sure you are contributing fully without being too overbearing.
- 10.Come prepared to be tested on any technical skills you have listed on your CV, e.g. If you mention you are a competent user of Microsoft Excel and Access, you may be asked to demonstrate some of your knowledge.
- 11.You may be questioned on your understanding of general actuarial theory and your ability to apply this to real life situations, especially if you are doing an actuarial course. Make sure you are comfortable with these high level concepts.
- 12.Relax, smile and be confident.