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Things that actuarial employers look for in an interview candidate

In this blog, Chloe Hung, Amazon best-selling author describes some of the qualities that employers look for in their candidates.  

The actuarial job market is getting more and more competitive with each passing year as the number of actuarial candidates have been increasing. Therefore, it is important to know what are the specific skills or traits that actuarial employers look for during an interview.

Most students believe that getting good grades and graduating with an actuarial degree gives you a competitive edge in the actuarial job market. This may be true to some extent, but employers hardly place huge emphasis on this when they are making the final hiring decision. This is because having good grades may make you a very smart actuarial student but that does not mean you will have the skills or experience necessary to excel at your job.

Many actuarial employers look for candidates who have good technical skills and some relevant work experience. Work experience is important because this enables the candidate to carry out their work efficiently without the need for much training. Candidates with relevant work experience generally stand a better chance at nailing the job offer than candidates with good grades and no work experience. Therefore, start applying for actuarial internships as soon as possible to build up that work experience of yours.

Another thing that employers look for in an interview candidate is communication skills. As actuaries, communication is a skill that most of us lack. Many actuaries have difficulties communicating their findings or research to non-actuaries because actuaries tend to use too much jargon when communicating. If you have good communication and presentation skills, you will gain a huge competitive advantage over the other actuarial candidates in the room. A good way to build up on this skill is to take a public speaking class in college or volunteer to coach a group of students in their exam preparation.

First impressions are also very important in a job interview. Most students take this for granted because they believe that a good first impression is simply about dressing professionally and being nice to your future employer. Whilst it is important to dress professionally and smile, it is even more important that you be your own authentic self during an interview.

Employers can sense your sincerity through the way you speak and conduct yourself. As an interview candidate, if you try too hard to impress your future employer, they will know that your responses are not sincere, and this creates doubt in their minds. In their eyes, you may appear as a desperate candidate who is willing to say anything just to impress them. Not only will this make you plant a bad first impression in their mind, it will also reduce the likelihood of you landing the job even though you may be a great candidate for that position.

Remember, employers want to hire a candidate whom they like and trust. This is because its much easier to get along with an employee whom you like than an employee whom you dislike. The key to getting your future employer to like you is to just be yourself and be honest. When your employer asks you a question in which you don’t know the answer to, just be honest and tell them that you don’t know but you are willing to take time after the interview to find the answer to that question. Honesty is always the best approach to use when you are in doubt during an interview.

If you have any tips of your own you want to share, please email: blogs@actuaries.org.uk