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Thread: Interview Experiences - Funny, Good or Bad

  1. #11
    Actuary.com - Level I Poster
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    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.

  2. #12
    Actuary.com - Level I Poster
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    Humor in interviews

    Quote 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.

  3. #13
    Actuary.com - Level IV Poster
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    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

  4. #14
    Actuary.com - Level II Poster
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    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.

  5. #15
    Actuary.com - Level IV Poster
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    Quote 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.

  6. #16
    Actuary.com - Level I Poster
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    Beauty contest

    I think interviews are like a beauty contest and the most popular candidates among the interviewers get the vote. Almost everybody interviewed is in common ground and things like charisma, personality, communication gets you through. I would suggest joining toastmasters club or an improv comedy club to really bring out those qualities. Like everything...everybody has those things, but some bring it out easier than others but with practice it can be perfected. I think companies don't only want a qualified candidate (which there is a bunch), but also want a good communicator and team player. If you want to stand out of the bunch, then I suggest you work on those things and put yourself out there to really bring out those qualities. Remember, all they are going to say when they are making a decision is "I like this guy/girl" and you're in. Anyways, that's just my two cents.
    The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.

  7. #17
    johncourcy
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    Once I got an interview, and I arrived late.

    No, I Did not get it.

  8. #18
    Actuary.com - Level I Poster
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    Now I have a question. Do these employers ask for a list of personal references? I can never provide them that since between working my fulltime job and going to school and taking care of a family, there is no time for a social life. But these people will not accept former colleagues nor family members as personal references.

    Now I once had a very bad experience. This interview was for a non-actuarial job and close to end of the interview, she made a remark "Just so we know you are not an ax-murderer, we need personal references." That really offended me since first off, I am only 5'2" and don't weigh much so I cannot even lift an axe much less use it and if there are so concerned about that, they should have the police check us out. I never mind if they have the police run a background check since for my current job, that is what they do for all potential employees. But I thought she made a very derogatory remark and I can never provide personal references.

    Am I wrong here and can someone give me hints?

  9. #19
    You spam? I ban! Irish Blues's Avatar
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    Quote 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.
    Probably the same company where I would get asked a question and answer it, and the people interviewing me responded several times with "really ..." in a, "yeah, I'm really sure you're not making this up" tone. They asked some question about self-motivation and actually applying what I had learned in my college math classes, and I briefly explained the model I had used to predict standings in the NHL at the end of the season - to which I got that response; I pulled out a memory stick and said, "Yes - I can show it to you now if you'd like." The look I got reminded me of a scene in a horror movie when someone opens the door and their best friend is lying dead on the floor.

    No, I wouldn't lose sleep over not getting that one, either.
    "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.

  10. #20
    Actuary.com - Level V Poster djerry81's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tweetykiss View Post
    Now I have a question. Do these employers ask for a list of personal references? I can never provide them that since between working my fulltime job and going to school and taking care of a family, there is no time for a social life. But these people will not accept former colleagues nor family members as personal references.

    Now I once had a very bad experience. This interview was for a non-actuarial job and close to end of the interview, she made a remark "Just so we know you are not an ax-murderer, we need personal references." That really offended me since first off, I am only 5'2" and don't weigh much so I cannot even lift an axe much less use it and if there are so concerned about that, they should have the police check us out. I never mind if they have the police run a background check since for my current job, that is what they do for all potential employees. But I thought she made a very derogatory remark and I can never provide personal references.

    Am I wrong here and can someone give me hints?
    The remark to me seemed like a joke. Now if you were middle eastern and they said " just so we can make sure your not a terrorist" then thats derogatory. But with any insurance company they have to do a background check, that was just a "lighten it up" way of saying, this is something we have to do. And the personal references aren't always neccessary for each position, sometimes they only call one and thats enough. Being short doesn't mean your harmless

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