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Thread: Interview Experiences - Funny, Good or Bad

  1. #21
    Actuary.com - Level IV Poster
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Most don't ask for personal references anymore but they do run criminal background checks and credit checks.

  2. #22
    Actuary.com - Level V Poster djerry81's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    atlanta, ga
    Quote Originally Posted by Trojan_Horse View Post
    Most don't ask for personal references anymore but they do run criminal background checks and credit checks.
    The HR manager at my company told me they only require credit checks for positions in accounting/finance. I think they were most interested in do I really have a degree, where did I really work, and do I have any felonies.

  3. #23

    Worst Job Interview Ever

    Okay, so I was studying for exam P in February and also had started looking for an internship. I literally had sent out my resume to every actuarial firm that I came across. I was very surprised (but happy) that I got a call from a very prestegious consulting firm in a nearby city despite of not having yet passed an exam yet.

    So in preparation for the interview, I spent countless hours on the Internet looking for any article that even remotely mentions this company. I also practiced the interview questions with my parents and had my resume double checked by the careers counselor at my college. I wanted to make sure that everything was perfect on the interview day. What I didn't realize was that I was "over-prepared"...

    On the big day, I skipped my classes and instead went over my responses to typical interview questions. I looked at my watch and realized I was running behind schedule. So I frantically changed into my suit and ran out the door. As I was driving, I realized that I was heading towards another place (in the same direction) that I went to the previous day. I got it confused to where I was supposed to go for the interview. Trying to find my way back, I was on the phone with my parents who had no clue where I was (neither did I) and eventually found the company (about 5 minutes late).

    Then as I parked, I realized that I forgot my suit jacket (it was a warm day). (I later told me interviewer that I spilled coffee on it, so cliche.) I really wanted to reschedule the appt, but my parents insisted that this was a bad idea. As soon as I entered the interview room, I realized that I left my questions for my interviewer (which I spent way too much time formulating) in the car.

    Needless to say, I was so nervous about the interview that everything that could've gone wrong went wrong. I heard from the company about 3 months later and obviously did not get the job. But don't worry, this ends well: after having more interviews, I felt much more comfortable and prepared (but not over-prepared). I got my first-choice internship with a large health organization. I would much rather do this than consulting which I've heard requires a lot of overtime. Plus, dealing with people can be a pain (I was a waitress).

    So my advice to others is not to give up. Keep marketing yourself and try to get over and learn from those disasters, like mine.

  4. #24
    Actuary.com - Level II Poster
    Join Date
    May 2007
    This past fall, I was interviewing with a big consulting company. Everything went really well until I got back to my car. My keys were locked inside! I felt so dumb. I talked to the secretary and she helped me call a place that was able to '''''' the car for me. She must keep good secrets because I ended up getting an offer! haha

  5. #25
    Actuary.com - Level V Poster
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    I drove to an interview about three hours from home. The interview went OK. I thought I'd get the job.

    I stopped at a gas station a few miles away (in a bad neighborhood), filled up the car. The credit card I gave them was declined, I had no other cards with me, and too little cash to pay for the gas. So I called the insurance office I'd just left to see if they could advance me a few bucks (as part of reimbursement for the interview trip), but they couldn't.

    When the clerk called the station owner to ask what to do, the owner had the clerk call the police. The police showed up, talked the owner into having the clerk take my address from my driver's license and send me a bill. I was very grateful.

    My daughter (at my request) called the station later that day, gave them a valid card number. My panicked explanation to the prospective actuarial employer of my need for cash probably left a very bad impression. I didn't get the job.
    I thought this WAS a real job

  6. #26
    Actuary.com - Level I Poster
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    I sort of have maybe a different philosophy on looking for work.

    Work comprises at least one third of your life, so it better be enjoyable most of the time. If you're miserable every day, you might as well be in prison. So I don't try and maximize my job offers, I write an off beat cover letter that spells out exactly what I have to offer and exactly what I am looking for, always in positive language of course.

    When I started to do this, instead of trying to say the things they wanted to hear, the number of call backs I got for interviews was much lower. But the quality of interview increased immensely.

    One particular recruiter had the audacity to say to me "Your unorthodox methods won't get you very far." and it took every ounce of strength I had not to retort "Well, opinions are like assholes, everybody's got one."

    In the end, I found another job in a reasonable amount of time doing what I did, and had probably one of the greatest bosses in the world (until she quit :/ ).

    And some of these grandiose-titled pompous jerks, who truly feel themselves above others, who get a kick out of making condescending comments to those who they interview, really, really, in my opinion, need to be put back in their place.

  7. #27
    Actuary.com - Level II Poster
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    For my first interview for an internship, I didn't prepare for it at all. One of the first questions they asked me was "why do you want to work here?", and I honestly didn't have an answer. I look back and wonder why I even showed up because I had no interest in them.

  8. #28
    Actuary.com - Level II Poster tyhawk10's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008

    Big Read! Positive experience.

    Hearing my interview story will hopefully take the edge off the frightful interview experience.

    Keep in mind that based on on prior posts, one's individual interview experience depends heavily on the people that make up the company.

    My experience went great becuase the company interviewing me kept in constant touch. Very good communication throughout the entire process. First, HR got in touch and did a quick phone interview. Basically to explain the job descpription in more detail, see if I was serious about the job, and MOST IMPORTANTLY if I was able to communicate and hold a decent conversation. The job was over 400 miles away from home, so they needed to see if I was willing to move also. After this conversation, another phone interview took place a week later. This time with one of the leads in the office I would be working at. Turns out, he is a hockey fan just like me. This helped break the ice and we eased into a more natural conversation. After some back and forth for about a half hour, he recommended me to fly in for a face to face. I was then in constant contact (phone and e-mail) with one of the admin assistants in charge of new hires. A call or e-mail every other day or so for a couple weeks made the process go very smooth. She made all flight and hotel arrangements and was very very very helpful and took care of every meticulous detail. The company flew me to their city, put me up in a hotel, paid for all my meals, and even compensated for the gas I used driving to the airport and back. Anyways, now the interview. The interview process was just as smooth. I met with 5 total employees. First the admin assistant who was in touch, then three leads (FSA's), and finally another analyst with about 3 years experience.

    Now, here was my preparation (This works good for ONE on ONE interviews):
    In short:
    I Google'd "best interview questions/answers" the night before on the hotel's computer untill I found a great mix of questions. Ones like: 5 good words to decribe yourself, 5 weaknesess, 5 stengths, talk about your experiences that will help you preform your job duties, tell us about your past/education/prior jobs...etc. Then, I went back to my room and looked over all this for about 2 and a half hours. During this time, I constructed notes on three pieces of paper with my most important notes from all the Google'ing. I had these with me at all times. Write big, keep it simple and quick. Next, I thought of 5 questions to ask each interviewer and wrote them on a piece of paper and made 5 copies, one for each interviwer. The questions were the same for everyone (Leave a big space up top that says: "Name". That way you can write the interviewers name down as soon as you meet them and you will never forget it throughout or at the end. I had the names of my interviewers before hand but this is still a VERY easy way to be safe.) When the interviews happened, I had rememberd all of my preparation from the night before because of my notes I had with me. The questions I had prepared kept the interviews flowing and also impressed the interviewers. Questions also show that you are prepared and more importantly interested. Note: I saved the two most important questions for the end of the interview:
    1) Is there anything else you would like to hear from me to convince you I am able to perform the the job / have I said anything to put you off from hiring me and
    2) When will you make a decision/when will you contact me.

    Anyways, the interviews were great because the people were great. Friendly. They didn't ask questions to make things awkward or challenging. They didn't make me take any tests or excel quizzes. Basically they acknowleged my credentials and wanted to see if I was a decent, bright, enthusiastic person who can continue to grow with an open mind and who they could stand to work with. So, moral of the story: If you can confidently convince someone that you are those things, they will believe you.

    Needless to say, I took the job in Oct 2009. Still here and loving it. Not bad for my first interview. Any other questions? Feel free to get ahold of me!
    Last edited by tyhawk10; June 10th 2010 at 07:29 PM.
    "You will miss 100% of the shots you don't take"


  9. #29
    Actuary.com - Level III Poster
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    My first interview occurred very early in the job searching process. I was still finishing my degree, polishing up my resume, learning how to write decent cover letters, etc. Not only that, I was overwhelmed with a wide ''''' of work for my degree, and for unrelated reasons I was not in the soundest emotional state. In this condition I did the phone interview.

    I had done a bit of research when I knew the interview was coming, but very little. I looked at the website and picked up a few basic facts. I thought I could wing it, and wondered somewhat bitterly how I could disguise the fact that I was applying to any and every firm I could find that was looking for entry level actuaries.

    Well, the interviewer asked point blank what I knew about the company. I muttered a few factoids that I had picked up from the website, and then I sheepishly admitted that I didn't know much. Do you know that sickening experience on a blind date, when the moment you meet, you can see that look of disappointment in her eyes? But for the sake of politeness you both have to go through with the date anyway? I did my best to salvage the interview, but that's basically how it was.

    When the subject changed to why I want to be an actuary, I breathed a sigh of relief, since I knew that I was in friendlier territory. I have been marketing my ability to work on many things at the same time as a personal strength, and I put that into my resume. The interviewer asked me for an example of when I did that. I figured that the best example I had was from the recent past, when I was publishing papers, studying for actuarial exams, teaching, and active in local politics at the same time. Active in politics? That seemed like a potentially explosive topic for a job interview, and I had to decide instantaneously whether to mention that.

    I mentioned it and regretted that decision immediately. The interviewer wanted to know more, and when the interviewer asked what other kinds of jobs I was pursuing, I mentioned that I had some interest in legislative jobs (at the time I did; the opportunities evaporated, though, and since then I shifted my attention fully to actuarial jobs).

    Several other things went wrong. When asked that the most important characteristics of a workplace are, I answered the best I could. In my mind I was thinking about the opportunity to take on interesting responsibilities, but either it came out wrong or the interviewer misunderstood and the answer morphed to wanting to get into management. He told me, more or less, that I was interviewing at the wrong company for that.

    I never heard back from them, which I think was merciful on their part. I was embarrassed to have botched an interview so badly, and it was quite obvious that I wasn't going to get the job.

  10. #30
    Actuary.com - Level III Poster
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    I must say, I have come to suspect that the censor on this forum is paid by the word.

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