Interview preparation for insurance professionals

Morgan McKinley June 11, 20123 mins read

You have secured an interview for your dream job! How do you guarantee that you perform your best during the meeting?

Being selected to interview with a company is not a test.

It is the opportunity for the client (Line Manager/HR) to find out more about your experience, skill set and personality. It is also an opportunity for you to find out if this is the right role for you and your career.
It is essential that you take some time to prepare and practice, so that you impress and have the chance to demonstrate why you are the most suitable candidate.

1. First impressions count
Make sure you dress appropriately for the meeting. Upon meeting the interviewer(s), smile and shake hands firmly. Make polite conversation and remember eye contact is important. This is your first chance to sell yourself!

2. Be prepared
Re-read your CV and the job description just before the interview, so you have a clear idea of the role, responsibilities and the type of person they are looking to employ.

Do your research thoroughly on the company (look at their website), their corporate vision, why they are successful, their competitors and regional/global coverage and be aware of any recent events/news involving the organisation or current trends.

3. Be clear and specific with your answers
The majority of interviewers will ask you to provide a summary of your experience - do not simply read through your entire resume. They want a ‘snap-shot’ of your experience and significant achievements. Be concise and clear in your communication, highlighting your experience that is most relevant to the role you are applying for. Be prepared to talk about your strengths and weakness (provide examples if possible) and answer questions clearly and specifically - even if you need a few moments' silence to collect your thoughts.

4. Why are you the best person for the job?
If you have the job description for the role it will identify qualities that they are looking for. You need to demonstrate that you have these or that you have transferable skills, by providing examples. Be prepared to share your experience, abilities and skills. Also explain why you are interested in the role and joining the company, demonstrate what value you can add to the organization.

5. Be positive
Employers will be wondering what you would be like to work with, so refrain from talking negatively about your current/previous manager or colleagues, even if this is the reason you are looking to leave. Employers are looking for motivated candidates who are looking for a challenge.

6. Remember your body language
Sit upright and try to maintain good eye contact. During the interview, do not fold your arms, lean back or look to the floor. Many people cannot think and control their body language at the same time, which is why you need to prepare.

7. Expect the unexpected
Your interviewer may try to catch you off guard. It is impossible to plan for every difficult question, such as "How would your current Manager would describe you?" or “What would I find on your Facebook page if I were to view it?” but try to appear relaxed and in control, not defensive. Ask the interviewer to repeat the question if necessary but do not evade it.

8. Develop rapport
Show interest, smile and maintain eye contact even if you are nervous!

9. Clarify
If you are unsure of a particular question, or what you’re interviewer is asking you, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification.

10. Ask questions
This is also your chance to ensure that you have a clear idea of the role, the team and career progression for the role, as well as training provided and culture.

You need to be able to leave the meeting with a clear decision as to whether this is the right next step for you, so take some time to prepare!

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