Interviews are by far one of the most nerve-wracking parts of hatching your career in insurance.
Along with the pressure of making a good impression on you potential new boss is the determination to answer questions about yourself in the best possible way.
Did you know that you (yes, you!) can decide how well your interview will go? It all comes down to the preparation.
How to prepare
Finding a place to start when preparing for an interview can feel overwhelming – there are no doubt so many good things you’ll want a potential employer to know about you, so what’s the best way to organize them?
You can start your preparation for your insurance interview by familiarizing yourself with the hiring process. A typical hiring process for an insurance company will most likely include a two-step interview.
First, you may encounter a telephone screen. This part of the interview process is often done by someone from the human resources department of the company. Even though this is one of the shorter parts of the hiring process, there’s no reason not to prepare.
Here are some sample questions you can ask an interviewer:
- When can I expect to hear about the outcome of this interview?
- How has the company changed since you started working here?
- What is the most important quality the ideal candidate for this position would have?
The recruiter will usually want to confirm your qualifications and ensure that you understand the role. A good way to prepare for the telephone screen could be to write some notes summarizing the role, and make connections with how your qualifications fit. Because this is over the phone, you’ll be able to have your notes by your side in case you want to refresh your memory at some point (just don’t rely on them! An employer will be able to tell if you are just reading them aloud…).
After the telephone screen, you’ll be interviewed in person. It’s becoming an increasingly common practice in the insurance industry to be interviewed by a hiring panel, as opposed to just one person. Being interviewed by a panel can give you the chance to appeal to more than one person, so try not to worry if you walk in and see a few faces participating in the process.
To prepare for the in-person portion of the hiring process, try thinking of a few potential questions you might be asked. Many questions in insurance interviews focus on scenarios and how you’ve handled certain situations. Try to think of a few occasions where you’ve shown initiative, efficient problem solving or excellent customer service. Where possible, try to demonstrate how your previous experience relates to the insurance sector.
During the interview
Plan to arrive to the interview at least 15 minutes early, not only will this give you a moment to collect yourself but you’ll have time to go through your notes again if you need to.
Greet the interview with a smile and firm handshake. Be sure to make eye contact and show you’re confident (even if you’re not feeling it right at that moment!)
Take any opportunity you can to expand on your answers and include information on how your experience can tie into this job (especially as it relates to the insurance sector), but try to keep things to the point as best you can. Losing an employer halfway through an answer is bad, and losing track yourself is worse.
When the interviewer asks you if you have any questions for them, feel free to ask a couple. These will show your interest in the job and tell the employer that you’ve done your research.
After the interview…
Send a thank you note or email. Use this as an opportunity to reiterate what you think were the strongest points in your interview and why you think you would be the best candidate for the job. Thank you notes should be sent within 24 hours of the interview.