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  • Interview Experiences - Funny, Good or Bad

    Please post your real word interview experiences...good, bad, humorous, disastrous, whatever.
    Last edited by admin; November 3 2005, 04:22 PM.
    Actuary.com - www.actuary.com
    Email - [email protected]

  • #2
    The bad....part 1

    I've got a few - let's start with a bad one.

    One place I interviewed with offered to fly me in - which would have been nice except that I didn't get an itinerary for the trip until 10:45am the morning I was supposed to leave (my flight was supposed to leave at 5pm, meaning I needed to leave my house by 2:30pm). The company maintained they had e-mailed me the itinerary (which never showed up in my inbox despite them supposedly having sent it 4 times), and refused to fax me a copy until I asked for the e-mail of the person I was talking to so I could write him and he could respond back with the itinerary.

    I was also supposed to have vouchers to pay for the taxi from the airport to the hotel and back (which I never got), was supposed to be reimbursed for said taxi rides (which never happened), and during the interviews I was asked who I was interviewing with next - when I explained that I had no idea because I didn't have a copy of my schedule for the day, the common response was, "Hmm.....I didn't get one either" - which might explain why I was waiting on three of the people I interviewed with to show up and why my interviews went almost an hour over.

    Once I finally got the notice that I wasn't being hired eight weeks later (four weeks past when we were supposed to be notified), I called the new hire contact with the company to get feedback. I never did get so much as a "leave us alone" after five calls and four e-mails across more than two months. Then again, considering it took seven months from the time I first saw them at a college career fair (which is where they admitted they got my resume) for them to call me, and they set up two phone screens with me and didn't call before finally calling almost 15 minutes late the 3rd time, in addition to everything described above, I didn't lose sleep over them saying "no".
    "You better get to living, because dying's a pain in the ***." - Frank Sinatra

    http://www.hockeybuzz.com/blogger_ar...blogger_id=174 - where I talk about the Blues and the NHL.

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    • #3
      Usually you'll hear the advice to take your time in answering questions and to not blurt out the first thing that comes into your head. I've taken that to heart and usually preface a few questions here and there with, "let me think about that for a minute". I tried this once with an interviewer and after that they kept accusing me throughout the rest of the interview, "you always have to have the right answer, don't you?"

      I also got stiffed on a cab ride.

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      • #4
        An interviewer asked me how I was doing, and I joked, "Fine, except for the fact that I'm interviewing." He got offended and there was awkward silence for a moment.

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        • #5
          casual interview

          My first interview was an extremely casual one. Three actuaries worked at a house/office, which is where I was interviewed. Two actuaries interviewed me. My major mistake was that I forgot that I was being interviewed, and didn't do a good job of selling myself. They hinted that I probabily won't be hired, listed some other companies that may be hiring, and I used the rest of my time learning about the diversity within the actuarial career, which only excited me more to get into it.

          It was a good interview because it was very educational, and definately worth the experience. I never heard from them again. Just as well though, because I don't think I'd work well in a casual environment.

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          • #6
            City Interview

            Interviews with larger firms may go like mine.

            I interviewed with 5 different actuaries in the company, from a 2nd year analyst to the 'boss'. In between an entry level guy took me out to lunch.

            The main thing in these interviews is not to be too relaxed or too uptight. PREPARE for all the interview questions they might ask, and start thinking about past experiences from every angle.

            Don't give one word answers, but don't drone on and on about something. Look your absolute best, and for the love of god stay positive. Don't say anything negative about anything or anyone, even if you hated that 2nd year calc teacher. Smile, and stay in good spirits no matter how badly it is going.

            And ALWAYS send thank you letters to everyone you interviewed with.

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            • #7
              I went in for an interview for an internship. It was my first 'real' interview -- bought a suit for it, read for three days about the company, tried to drum up all my experiences and think about the different ways I could present them when they asked me the questions.

              I psyched myself out pretty bad. The man interviewing me, let's say his name was Thomas Conrad (it wasn't). I practiced saying to myself the entire train-ride to the interview, "Good morning, Mr. Conrad. Good morning, Mr. Conrad."

              Walk in, extend hand, "Hi, Tommy!" ... Open mouth, insert foot. His face said everything I needed to know, and after that I just tried to ask everyone who interviewed me as much as I could about the profession.

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              • #8
                Speaking of open mouth, insert foot

                At a recent interview, the person interviewing me was telling me that if they offered me the job, they needed a drug pre-employment screening. So I said jokingly: "It's a good thing I told my husband not to feed me any poppy seeds any time soon!" My potential future boss looked at me and replied back jokingly something like "yea right, poppy seeds..."
                I still got a job offer after that, and when my drug tests and background check came back and he called me to say everything came back fine so I had the job, he said "so, now you can go back to eating those poppy seeds".... Oh that was embarassing....
                Still, talking about not eating poppy seeds when they mention you they'll run a drug screening is probably not a great idea!

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by aleburns View Post
                  At a recent interview, the person interviewing me was telling me that if they offered me the job, they needed a drug pre-employment screening. So I said jokingly: "It's a good thing I told my husband not to feed me any poppy seeds any time soon!" My potential future boss looked at me and replied back jokingly something like "yea right, poppy seeds..."
                  I still got a job offer after that, and when my drug tests and background check came back and he called me to say everything came back fine so I had the job, he said "so, now you can go back to eating those poppy seeds".... Oh that was embarassing....
                  Still, talking about not eating poppy seeds when they mention you they'll run a drug screening is probably not a great idea!
                  it was probably not a good idea but some employers like a sense of humor....I remember when I was interviewing for a job with Hartford Life, non-actuarial,I had had some experience working for as a computer tech and I was asked what would your last employer say about my past performance......I stated they would say i am not a boxologist, which is a joke we made about computer techs that only know how to take computers out of boxes and nothing else.....well after about 2 minutes of laughing they were in love.....well i got hired

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                  • #10
                    ...........
                    Last edited by Aaron W; January 31 2007, 09:01 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Joker approach

                      A big company interviewed me at their headquarters for an internship. I used the joker approach and tried to be funny with some awkward comments during interviews. I would definitely not recommend this approach at all. Try to keep it formal and be very limited in jokes or funny remarks. You are on the outside looking in and these things can be of bad taste to some.
                      The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.

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                      • #12
                        Humor in interviews

                        Originally posted by Umtra View Post
                        A big company interviewed me at their headquarters for an internship. I used the joker approach and tried to be funny with some awkward comments during interviews. I would definitely not recommend this approach at all. Try to keep it formal and be very limited in jokes or funny remarks. You are on the outside looking in and these things can be of bad taste to some.
                        I think you just have to be yourself, and obviously be professional above all. If you make a forced joke it will feel out of place and awkward, and you certainly don't want to give the impression to be the clown by making jokes every time you are asked a question. But try not to go to the other extreme either and appear excessively serious and uptight. Chances are you're nervous, and people will notice that you are tense, try to force yourself to smile, that will help you relax, and one casual LIGHT comment is not going to hurt you, it might actually relax the atmosphere a little. And my silly comment about the poppy seeds didn't hurt me at all, I actually got the job, and it's a big insurance company.

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                        • #13
                          Hi all

                          So I interviewed on two consecutive days for two companies (they were my first interviews ever if you can believe it!). I have no idea how they think I did. I actually enjoyed the experience and after talking with the HR department and learning about the actuarial development program at the second company, I got really excited and, well, eager to work there.

                          I think the interviews with each person went fine. I have a hard time not being myself, so I actually had to try to make sure I wasn't too casual there. For the most part I always found something to say and always had a response to any of their questions. One of my interviewers was a mildly avid chess player (which is what I am) so we talked a bit about that and about the upcoming World Open (which I am attending but he is not because he doesn't play much anymore).

                          At the lunch with the actuary students there was never an awkward moment. We all had a lot to say and I had plenty of questions (to go along with their equally numerous questions). I did ask them if they wanted a round of beers (although I was very obvious about the fact that it was a joke), but other than that the conversation was casual and relaxed. In fact, the students had just taken their exams so they were in 'relief mode' (which I guess helped). I offered to pay when I saw one of the students reaching into their wallet. Turns out it was a company card comp'd (which was a good thing because it looked pricey).

                          At the end of the interview I had a real stern lady asking me questions in a somewhat condescending tone. Questions like "why did you take so long to send us your resume?" and "Why did YOU become an actuary?" (imagine a very condescending tone and you'll see what I mean). I don't know if she was trying to get me upset or see how I would handle it, but I took it in stride. When she laughed at a book I had mentioned, I think I "put her in her place" as much as is possible while still letting her think that she is the greatest thing to happen to human kind since sliced bread and not coming off as challenging. After not believing the book I mentioned existed, she actually went to amazon.com to look it up! As she was typing it she looks back at me and says "Where is it? I don't even see it on amazon!" I leaned over the table and pointed out that she had misspelled "actuary." :/ (which probably didn't help my cause...) I induced some laughter out of her at times so maybe it was all an act and she couldn't hold it in!

                          Finally I returned to the HR department and was asked a few more questions. It was impossible to read her handwriting as it was upside down and cursive although I did manage to read " - no questions" which she wrote down after asking me "So do you have any more questions?" (Keep in mind however that I asked about 3 or 4 questions just PRIOR to her writing that and I asked 2 more questions AFTER she wrote that! She didn't change it though. My 6 questions apparently weren't enough to change the " - no questions" designation). After speaking with everybody I had to write an ESSAY! "Why do you feel you're qualified for the position?" Interestingly enough, that was the same question everybody asked me all day...

                          So why am I writing this? Because I really want this job. I was very impressed with the development program and various other aspects of the position. The students were friendly and the location was perfect (literally 20 minutes from my home). The department managers were nice (except the one woman who seemed like she was trying to be rude to see how I would react) and so was the HR woman.

                          I was told that they had been interviewing upwards to 5 people per week for the past several months to fill 20 actuary positions and that 17 or 18 had already been filled. Mine was the very last interview! I'll have my decision next week and can only hope until then... scratch that. I have an exam this Friday - there is no time for hope!

                          So that is one of my experiences, but all I will share for now. I will let you all know how it goes next week unless I don't get the job in which case I will never post on this or any other actuary forum again!

                          - junk

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                          • #14
                            I had an interview for a full time position with a major midwest insurance company. I thought the interview was going really well. It came up that I held two jobs throughout most of my undergrad career, but had left both of them a few months after graduation (several months apart). I explained that there was a corporate decision to eliminate my position/department at company A. After said company could no longer offer me an appropriate amount of work, I was forced to leave. Job B was with the university, and I was forced to drop the position because I was graduated and no longer a full tiem student. I took a job at a local pizza shop, as I explained, because they offered me full time hours while still being flexible enough to allow me to study and interview when I pleased.

                            The HR guy sat back in his chair at this point, pondered for a moment, and then asked me: "So do you still live with your parents?"

                            We both shared a bit of a chuckle (nervously) while I explained how I've been self sufficient since high school, using job A and B to pay my own way through 4 years of college.

                            Needless to say, I wasn't offered the position.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by JUICE View Post
                              I had an interview for a full time position with a major midwest insurance company. I thought the interview was going really well. It came up that I held two jobs throughout most of my undergrad career, but had left both of them a few months after graduation (several months apart). I explained that there was a corporate decision to eliminate my position/department at company A. After said company could no longer offer me an appropriate amount of work, I was forced to leave. Job B was with the university, and I was forced to drop the position because I was graduated and no longer a full tiem student. I took a job at a local pizza shop, as I explained, because they offered me full time hours while still being flexible enough to allow me to study and interview when I pleased.

                              The HR guy sat back in his chair at this point, pondered for a moment, and then asked me: "So do you still live with your parents?"

                              We both shared a bit of a chuckle (nervously) while I explained how I've been self sufficient since high school, using job A and B to pay my own way through 4 years of college.

                              Needless to say, I wasn't offered the position.
                              But I don't see anything wrong with what you said... sorry you did not get the offer.

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