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  • Final Round Interview!

    Hey guys,

    So i just got a call that I have been accepted to a final round interview for my number 1 actuarial job. And i think i will be called for another company soon also.

    So firstly, THERE IS HOPE! keep looking!

    second, i have never been in anything other than a first round interview. This is a four hour interview, and I really don't know what to expect what so ever.

    I know i need to sell myself and show that I want to work there. That shouldn't be an issue because I really love the company and want to work there more than anywhere else.

    Anyone with experience with these lengthy actuarial interviews have any tips, suggestions, comments, ect. on what I should expect and what kind of questions I should prepare for? I am assuming (perhaps incorrectly) that they won't just be asking the same questions as the first round.

    Thanks for all the help!

  • #2
    Focus on what your prospective employer wants: "What could I do in the first six months of this job that would make you say I was a success?"
    I thought this WAS a real job

    Comment


    • #3
      I woudn't assume that. Sometimes they WILL ask the same question for the sole purpose of making sure you are not making stuff / embelishing and can give a straight forward answer. It really depends on your interviewers as to the quality of the questions. I've gone on interviews where half of the people asked me textbook questions and half were a lot more laid back and we talked about sports and what it's like working there i.e. they would go to a baseball game at least once a summer.

      This might seem obvious but my advice is obviously don't lie or embelish anything you can't support e.g. "I'm awesome at Excel but I can't write a macro." Read up on the company, their latest appearances in the news (nothing negative) or what they do and why you think you want to do it, you will be asked that hopefully. Just be yourself, they know it's going to be a long day for you.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by NoMoreExams View Post
        I woudn't assume that. Sometimes they WILL ask the same question for the sole purpose of making sure you are not making stuff / embelishing and can give a straight forward answer. It really depends on your interviewers as to the quality of the questions. I've gone on interviews where half of the people asked me textbook questions and half were a lot more laid back and we talked about sports and what it's like working there i.e. they would go to a baseball game at least once a summer.

        This might seem obvious but my advice is obviously don't lie or embelish anything you can't support e.g. "I'm awesome at Excel but I can't write a macro." Read up on the company, their latest appearances in the news (nothing negative) or what they do and why you think you want to do it, you will be asked that hopefully. Just be yourself, they know it's going to be a long day for you.
        It's funny you say that because I did only slightly embelish my computing experience. Need to try and clarify that this time around, and definitely brush up on macros!

        what do you mean by text book questions?
        as in "why do you want to work at our company" and "why do you want to be an actuary"?

        my first round they asked some tough ones like

        "when did you miss a deadline"

        or

        "name a time when you spoke out against popular opinion because it was the right thing to do"

        I have yet to ever really be asked any "actuarial" questions. Nothing ever pertaining to math or analytical thinking or anything like that

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by levenzaha View Post
          It's funny you say that because I did only slightly embelish my computing experience. Need to try and clarify that this time around, and definitely brush up on macros!

          what do you mean by text book questions?
          as in "why do you want to work at our company" and "why do you want to be an actuary"?

          my first round they asked some tough ones like

          "when did you miss a deadline"

          or

          "name a time when you spoke out against popular opinion because it was the right thing to do"

          I have yet to ever really be asked any "actuarial" questions. Nothing ever pertaining to math or analytical thinking or anything like that
          By textbook questions I mean the standard ones you get asked that are generic to every single person they interview. Some of them are OK, some of them are horrible IMO and most of the time you get canned responses. Like "what's your worst quality?", 99/100 times the person will say "I work too hard" or something equally b.s. Someone I know def. had someone answer that to which he replied "so why haven't you passed an exam in the past 4 attempts?"

          I've never had anyone ask me technical questions either other than some pretty routine stuff about Excel/Access/SAS to gauge my comfort level with those programs.

          Comment


          • #6
            Research the company thoroughly and then to the best of your abilities, conduct a "needs analysis" of the company in reference to the actuarial position. Then, sell yourself as a solution to their needs. You may have to read industry reports, SEC filings if its a publicly traded company or newspaper articles, etc. You can generally learn a good bit from their corporate Web site.

            "Answer. Ask. Listen. Sell." Don't forget that you are selling yourself. The interview is essentially a sales call. As such, you should rehearse and prepare an entire proposal and go through the entire sales process. I understand you might feel you're an actuary, and not a salesman, but lest you forget that everybody makes a living by selling something.

            The number one question that you will need to directly or indirectly answer for the company/interviewer is "Why should I hire you?" Sometimes, they will ask you the question flat out, in which you should have a good answer. Other times, they will take your interview as a whole and answer the question themselves... [in that case, you answer the question indirectly by selling yourself as a solution to their needs]


            Most companies today trend toward behavioral interviews. Become familiar with STAR. google behavorial interview techniques and how to tell a "STAR story". I recommend having about 10-15 stories you can jump into and which draw upon learned techniques and prevoius experiences.

            Sample STAR questions:

            Describe a time when you were asked to do something unreasonable. What actions did you take and what was the intended result?

            Describe a time when one of your initiatives was implemented by management. Again, describe the situation, action/task and result....

            You get the point

            Situation:
            Task/Actions:
            Result:





            Also, ask questions. Ask pointed, well researched questions. A good question is generally worth ten fold more than a good answer. And, even better, few interviewees ask really good questions, so if you can do that, you automatically stand out.

            One of my favorite questions is: "What are your concerns hiring people for this position?" Depending on his/her answer, I would follow up with, "Based on my diverse background, my knowledge of your company's operations, etc.... and my success in passing the first [X # of exams on my first try] do you have any concerns or questions in regard to hiring me?" If s/he then tells you any concerns, you at least get an opportunity to confront those concerns head on. If s/he doesn't have any concerns, then asking that question helps to close the deal.

            After going through most of my questions, I generally like to ask, "Is there a question that I should be asking you that I haven't yet asked?" That can sometimes lead to something interesting.



            The bottom line is: be prepared. A lot of people think they can go into an interview and talk their way out of it with little preparation. They think it's all common sense. It's not. A good interview takes rehearsal and preparation.
            Publication -- is the Auction
            Of the Mind of Man --

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by JMO Fan View Post
              Focus on what your prospective employer wants: "What could I do in the first six months of this job that would make you say I was a success?"
              That's a good question.


              Other good questions, "Why has your company/department been successful?" "What does your company/department need to do in order to stay successful?" "What were the reasons you went to work here?" "What differentiates your products and company from your competitors?"



              Also, it's common sense and they'll usually give it to you, anyway, but just in case they don't, you should be sure to get the names, phone numbers and email addresses of everyone you speak with. It's easiest to ask for a business card and your interviewer will typically have one; however, the actuaries you speak with may or may not have business cards.

              Follow up emails, notes and letters are essential.





              Don't be afraid to ask for the job. Very few interviewees ask for the job. They assume the interviewer already knows they are interested by their mere presence at the interview. This is inherently wrong. In order to close any sale, you must always ask for the business.

              If things go well, don't be afraid to say something like, "Based on everything we've talked about, I'm confident that I would be a great fit here... what do you think?"
              Publication -- is the Auction
              Of the Mind of Man --

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by WILLEL2338 View Post
                Don't be afraid to ask for the job. Very few interviewees ask for the job. They assume the interviewer already knows they are interested by their mere presence at the interview. This is inherently wrong. In order to close any sale, you must always ask for the business.

                If things go well, don't be afraid to say something like, "Based on everything we've talked about, I'm confident that I would be a great fit here... what do you think?"
                I would have to disagree with this. I think someone who would ask this may come off as "too strong" or maybe even sound desperate. What is the purpose of asking that question? So you can sleep better that night, knowing that the interviewer liked you?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by spade View Post
                  I would have to disagree with this. I think someone who would ask this may come off as "too strong" or maybe even sound desperate. What is the purpose of asking that question? So you can sleep better that night, knowing that the interviewer liked you?
                  I would have to agree with that. If I'm interviewing someone, I generally have a pretty good idea about them. Hearing that will not make me reconsider if I don't think they would be a good fit. OTOH I think it's perfectly fine to say that in the thank you letter after wards (minus the "what do you think").

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by spade View Post
                    I would have to disagree with this. I think someone who would ask this may come off as "too strong" or maybe even sound desperate. What is the purpose of asking that question? So you can sleep better that night, knowing that the interviewer liked you?
                    Precisely. A secondary purpose of the interview is for you to see if the company is a good fit for you and for them (your interviewers) to see if you are a good fit for the company. By voicing that you feel you are a good fit for the company and asking for feedback shows boldness. Fortune always favors the bold.

                    (Don't forget the primary purpose of the interview is to convince them why they should hire you)

                    Also, don't forget that the interview is at it's heart a sales call. You are always selling yourself and all good sales calls are pre-planned and rehearsed.

                    There are only two reasons why anybody ever buys anything.

                    1. To feel good
                    2. To solve a problem (or to meet a need)

                    If you can demonstrate in your interview that you can do both of those things, then you have an excellent chance of landing the job. It's not desperation to create rapport with the interviewer. It's not desperate to ask for the job, either. Making them feel good about you is important. Asking for the business is important.

                    "Coffee is for closers only"


                    You can listen to me or not. It matters little to me. I'm just trying to help the original poster.

                    But, the fact is, I've been through a lot of interviews and I've landed a number of different positions, I could sell you a paper bag and call it Louis Vuitton, but more important than any of that, I fully understand both the interview process and the recruiter's mindset.


                    How much experience do you have with interviews? And, how much experience do you have selling or marketing something that someone else absolutely must buy in order for you to be successful?
                    Last edited by WILLEL2338; November 4 2009, 11:04 PM.
                    Publication -- is the Auction
                    Of the Mind of Man --

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I think an interviewer knows whether or not he likes the candidate at the end of the interview. Otherwise, he probably didn't ask the right questions. I guess that's where we can agree to disagree.

                      Also, I'm not sure why you mentioned that you've "cleared over $100k per year". Was it to build some sort of credibility? The mere fact that you said that on these forums makes me think that it's probably not true.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Anyone who says not to close an interview by asking for the job has, with that statement, demonstrated conclusively that they are not entitled to an opinion about the matter.

                        Period.

                        I'm not going to further discuss the sales process and the human element of interviewing with a barefaced amateur. Not gonna do it, wouldn't be prudent at this juncture.



                        In earnest, my only impetus in writing this series of posts was to help the original poster better handle his/her interview.

                        I certainly didn't mean to bloviate and I've edited my post to delete any mention of my previous earnings.
                        Publication -- is the Auction
                        Of the Mind of Man --

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          LOL as long as you are keeping an open mind, I would LOVE to hire you or anyone like you.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            LOL!! I appreciate your injection of levity. Kid if you must. Please know that in the real world, I'm generally open to constructive criticism and positive suggestions. However, I positively abhor intransigent ignorance, the likes of which has been posted by spade.

                            Not coincidentally, I've since learned spade is still in college and works as a customer service associate for Staples and hasn't even begun to search for his first internship let alone real job. Yet, in a case of sheer hubris run amok, he feels he has the right to offer advice in this situation.

                            As one who knows better than he, it is my right--no, my duty--to give him a backhanded slap back to reality.
                            Publication -- is the Auction
                            Of the Mind of Man --

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by WILLEL2338 View Post
                              LOL!! I appreciate your injection of levity. Kid if you must. Please know that in the real world, I'm generally open to constructive criticism and positive suggestions. However, I positively abhor intransigent ignorance, the likes of which has been posted by spade.

                              Not coincidentally, I've since learned spade is still in college and works as a customer service associate for Staples and hasn't even begun to search for his first internship let alone real job. Yet, in a case of sheer hubris run amok, he feels he has the right to offer advice in this situation.

                              As one who knows better than he, it is my right--no, my duty--to give him a backhanded slap back to reality.
                              LOL the forum is open to all, those who should and should not post. I'm pretty confident that neither of you are trying to troll and each of you have a point. I tend to agree more with Spade because I, personally, would not hire anyone solely based on their ending statement. I make my judgment throughout the interview and I just don't see it likely that the interviewee telling me they are right for the job would sway me. With that being said, I do believe that a dose of self confidence can go a long way. I would rather hire the person who is honest, sure of himself and talkative rather than the person that mumbles out his answers as he stares at his shoes (or mine for that matter).

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