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  #11  
Old 05-07-2019, 12:20 PM
merson merson is offline
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No. Present the story properly, suggesting what you learned from the situation and how you would have handled it differently today.
Exactly!!!
No one expect you to be perfect and life to be all smooth. I want to know how a person will respond to adversity.

Entry level candidates or interns with limited work experience tend to draw from their group project or class. Most of us have had a terrible team member or a sub-par professor and can relate.

Imagine two equally qualified candidates on paper, both with terrible team members and because of it, their project work suffered and got an A- instead of an A for the class. One talked about what he/she learned from dealing with the team members not carrying their weight (do more work by taking on group leader role in future projects/try to understand their difficulty based on their strengths/weaknesses; approach the professor and take advantage of office hours) vs. one just said the other members didn't do their part and it's their fault that he/she didn't get the A. That might be true all true, but that was not my problem - and you'll find some of those qualities in colleagues/managers in the workplace too.

As ready as you are to talk about your greatest achievements in the interview, be prepared to talk about your greatest setbacks.

This happened:
In an interview with a strong candidate on paper - rising junior with a couple of exams and all.
I was tongue-in-cheek-ly asking the candidate why the 3.9+ GPA and not a 4.0. (I don't care about your GPA once you're above certain level and you're in the interview room.)
That hit a nerve, or i guess kids these days say, triggered the candidate.

The candidate went on a tirade about how the professor was terrible/unreasonable and team members were lazy. The impression I got from this candidate was he/she had never experience setbacks and couldn't handle it, and it might be difficult for others to work with this candidate.

You get 30/45 minutes for each interview and will be evaluated on that. Think carefully how you want to portray yourself.
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  #12  
Old 05-07-2019, 12:26 PM
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Note to self: never, ever let Actuaries become hiring managers.
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  #13  
Old 05-07-2019, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by The_Polymath View Post
Note to self: never, ever let Actuaries become hiring managers.
They're fine as hiring managers as long as they aren't lazy and/or morons, IME
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Originally Posted by Helena Lake View Post
Yes, well, that's partially the result of my robust education. I was exposed to far more than a narrow money-making selection of classes. The influence of art, literature, and other liberal arts makes it easier for me to write coherently in a format significantly longer than 140 characters. Additionally, I am able to use colorful terms that illustrate my ideas, words that exceed two syllables in length, and even proper punctuation (most of the time).
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  #14  
Old 05-07-2019, 12:47 PM
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LifeIsAPoissonProcess LifeIsAPoissonProcess is offline
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curious thinkers who don't need much hand-holding.
This is the big one for me. We get dozens of applicants for internship postings. All of the applications look almost the same. I need to see something that shows you took what you learned and did something interesting with it where you didn't have someone hold your hand in a classroom.
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  #15  
Old 05-07-2019, 12:51 PM
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This is the big one for me. We get dozens of applicants for internship postings. All of the applications look almost the same. I need to see something that shows you took what you learned and did something interesting with it where you didn't have someone hold your hand in a classroom.
You can easily bullshit through this in an interview.

Thats why it is always best to give them a small case study to complete at the interview stage. That will tell you most of what you need to know.
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  #16  
Old 05-07-2019, 12:53 PM
Dr T Non-Fan Dr T Non-Fan is offline
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I have an interview coming up for hopefully my first actuarial job. I have failed several interviews in the past and came close to sealing the deal to one company but it always ended up either the company ghosting me or receiving a rejection email. So I am here to ask for help for those who are passing candidates in interview. What are you looking for in a candidate? What determines an immediate yes/no for a hiring manager? Are there any red flags you are looking for? Thanks in advance for the help.
First off:
What's wrong with your face? Wait, let's get back to that in a moment.


There is no immediate yes/no. But, you got the interview, so your resume has passed the mustard (sic). Congrats, you are in the top ten or so, determined by some unknown method that differs among hiring managers (and committees).

The choice for a hiring manager (or committee) is you or one of the other 10+ interviewees.
You have to be, according to the hiring manager (or committee) the best available candidate. And that means you don't have a lot of control or input in the process. You have your input, and that's it. So, 10% or so of the input process for the hiring manager (or committee). 90% of the input is the other candidates.

Now, back to your face. Do you scrunch your nose or furrow your brow when you're asked a question that bothers you? Are you going to do that every time I ask you a question if I hire you? There might be a few other candidates who are not scrunching their noses nor furrowing their brows at questions.
Are you smiling? Is your smile creepy? Are you going to smile creepily at me every day if I hire you?

Can I understand your answers? Are you a major mumbler? Have you texted so much that you can't speak without a monotone, SNL The OC Dialect/whine? 'cause, I don't want to have to hear that every day. There are other candidates not mumbling nor running their words together.

Are you crouching down, not sitting up?

Lastly, do you like my sports team that I'm a fan of, and, more importantly, are you not a fan of my team's biggest rival? 'cause, I'm not mature enough to accept someone from a different sports tribe than mine.

In short, there are plenty of irrational feelings that go along with hiring, even among actuaries. They're human, honest, but I just cannot prove it beyond a shadow of a doubt.

To fix any physical behavioral issues you might have during interviews, PRACTICE INTERVIEWING!!!!

Also, the internet has a list of behavioral interview questions that are stock questions these days. Read them, have a TRUE answer for them (true answers are easier to memorize, since they actually happened to you), with a positive spin to them.
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Last edited by Dr T Non-Fan; 05-07-2019 at 12:58 PM..
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  #17  
Old 05-07-2019, 12:59 PM
Westley Westley is offline
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Originally Posted by The_Polymath View Post
Note to self: never, ever let Actuaries become hiring managers.
Not sure what role you see actuaries having in the hiring process, but definitely should be making the final decisions on hiring actuaries - few muggles, if any, have the ability to understand the technical skills needed for the job and whether the candidate has them.

That said, having *only* actuaries involved leads to dumb stuff like we're seeing from H,MB.

I think actuarial roles are generally technical enough that an actuary needs to run the process - hopefully one that's smart enough to get other viewpoints involved as well.
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  #18  
Old 05-07-2019, 01:02 PM
Westley Westley is offline
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Originally Posted by Dr T Non-Fan View Post
To fix any physical behavioral issues you might have during interviews, PRACTICE INTERVIEWING!!!!
Practice is important for more than just the physical behavioral stuff. We've sorta gone off track relative to the OP, but this was going to be my advice: get some interview practice in if you haven't already.
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  #19  
Old 05-07-2019, 01:19 PM
Sssuperdave Sssuperdave is offline
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As others have said, it depends greatly on the hiring manager. Here's what I look for:
  • Positive Attitude
  • Intellectual Curiosity
  • Competance - I want to hear examples of projects that show you can evaluate and solve complex problems.
  • Communication - This one is the most important. When I ask for examples, you need to be able to clearly and concisely walk me through a project or experience that answers my question such that I clearly understand the goal and outcome. Ideally, your explanation will also exhibit some of the three bullet points above. In my experience if a candidate can't clearly explain a project to me then they actually understand the project very well, and they aren't going to understand the projects I give them that well either.
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  #20  
Old 05-07-2019, 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Dr T Non-Fan View Post
First off:
What's wrong with your face? Wait, let's get back to that in a moment.


There is no immediate yes/no. But, you got the interview, so your resume has passed the mustard (sic). Congrats, you are in the top ten or so, determined by some unknown method that differs among hiring managers (and committees).

The choice for a hiring manager (or committee) is you or one of the other 10+ interviewees.
You have to be, according to the hiring manager (or committee) the best available candidate. And that means you don't have a lot of control or input in the process. You have your input, and that's it. So, 10% or so of the input process for the hiring manager (or committee). 90% of the input is the other candidates.

Now, back to your face. Do you scrunch your nose or furrow your brow when you're asked a question that bothers you? Are you going to do that every time I ask you a question if I hire you? There might be a few other candidates who are not scrunching their noses nor furrowing their brows at questions.
Are you smiling? Is your smile creepy? Are you going to smile creepily at me every day if I hire you?

Can I understand your answers? Are you a major mumbler? Have you texted so much that you can't speak without a monotone, SNL The OC Dialect/whine? 'cause, I don't want to have to hear that every day. There are other candidates not mumbling nor running their words together.

Are you crouching down, not sitting up?

Lastly, do you like my sports team that I'm a fan of, and, more importantly, are you not a fan of my team's biggest rival? 'cause, I'm not mature enough to accept someone from a different sports tribe than mine.

In short, there are plenty of irrational feelings that go along with hiring, even among actuaries. They're human, honest, but I just cannot prove it beyond a shadow of a doubt.

To fix any physical behavioral issues you might have during interviews, PRACTICE INTERVIEWING!!!!

Also, the internet has a list of behavioral interview questions that are stock questions these days. Read them, have a TRUE answer for them (true answers are easier to memorize, since they actually happened to you), with a positive spin to them.
this is good for several reasons
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