As someone who has worked in the human resources industry for years, it always surprises me how few people actually prepare for interviews. After sitting in on more interviews than I could count, it has become glaringly obvious that most people would rather not do the work – a red flag in any hiring managers book.
On the other hand, those who take the time to learn about the role, the company and even the interviewer really come out on top. Which is why job interview preparedness is the number one piece of advice I preach to all those on a job hunt.
Rule 1: As soon as you apply for a position, save the job description.
Many people forget about the job posting as soon as they send in their resumes – this is a big mistake. The job posting is the most valuable piece of information you’re likely to have going in to a job interview. Consider it a cheat sheet that outlines the exact skills, qualifications and personality traits the company is looking for in their next hire.
Since job postings typically have a time limit, be sure to save a copy on your desktop as soon as you apply for the position. Review the job posting in great detail while drawing parallels with your own background and experience. Determine how you fit in with their job description – what relevant experience and qualities do you possess? Be prepared to illustrate your knowledge of the job position and answer these kinds of questions in an upcoming interview.
Rule 2: Learn About the Company
As a candidate searching for an actuarial job, the hiring company likely has a fairly extensive website complete with company information – traditionally located under the ‘About’ section of their website. Do your due diligence – learn how the company is structured, who appears on their management team and how the position you’ve applied for fits within the grand scheme. For more information, be sure to review old press releases, annual reports and official social media accounts (especially LinkedIn). Try to uncover a little history, work culture and any important initiatives the company may support, such as charitable causes. Not only will this information make you shine as an enthusiastic candidate, it also helps you answer why you’d like to work for the company – one of the most frequently asked interview questions.
Rule 3: Learn About Yourself
How well do you know your work history? Obviously, you’re familiar with your previous job positions and periods of employment, but do you know how to answer questions about your listed qualities and skills? What did you learn from your last position? Where do you see yourself moving forward? Were you challenged at your last position?
Try to look at yourself through the eyes of a hiring manager and determine how your work experience is relevant to the company and position.
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