How are your interview skills?

You’ve passed a couple of actuarial exams and you’ve built your technical skills with the Technical Skills Course (of course!). This puts you in a great position to get that entry-level actuarial job.  After getting your resume in good shape, you start getting scheduled for interviews.  This is a critical time and you need to practice your interviewing skills.

Here are a few basics to work on:

  • First impression.  How are you dressed? It is appropriate for the work environment? Do you exude confidence in your posture?  You are portraying an image of yourself to your prospective employer.  They want to see that you can represent them well now and in the future.
  • Handshake. Do you have a firm handshake showing confidence and self-worth?  Handshakes that are weak can display that you are timid, passive, or even scared of the situation. Instead shake hands firm enough (not too hard!) that you are friendly, you welcome the situation, and you want to join in this partnership.
  • Eye Contact. Do you have strong eye contact when you are listening to the interviewer? What about when you are speaking? Having good eye contact shows attention and interest in the conversation.  It also shows you are open to coaching and you take direction well.
  • Confidence. Do you speak with confidence in yourself and in the skills you have to offer?  You are trying to sell that you are best applicant for this job. Show it and convince the interviewer!
  • Relevance of answers.  When asked a question, listen carefully and give the best answer possible. You need to put yourself in a positive light here.  If they ask about your Excel skills, say “Yes, I have worked on my excel skills.  For example, I worked through the Actuwaiters All-Around Course practicing vlookups, sumproducts, etc.” If they ask you to analyze a chart to make decisions, ask confirming questions first to make sure you have all the facts before making a decision.  Often times, people will just ramble on about the first thing that comes to their mind. Work on this skill to listen and be relevant in your answers.
  • Saying thank you.  When your interview is about to conclude, make sure to thank them for their time and for considering you for their position.  Also, don’t be afraid to ask the interviewer questions especially when it comes to their business.  This further shows your interest in the position.

Make sure to complete the Technical Skills Course to build your technical skills before interviews take place.  You don’t want to have that feeling of being asked of your Excel, Access, VBA, and SQL during your interview, only to respond that you don’t have any experience with these programs.