Published On : August 24, 2010
By now, you've tooled your resume to emphasize the skillsets and work experience that make you a great fit for an underwriting job. You've also written an appealing cover letter that sells you as the perfect candidate. Your next step is to get ready for the first job interview. Hiring managers use this initial meeting as an opportunity to learn about you, your employment history, and the talents and skills you potentially bring to their company. It's also when they decide whether or not to bring you back for a second interview.
The first step to increase your chances of getting that second interview or job offer is to observe best interview practices, which apply to nearly every industry. Researching the company, dressing professionally, and preparing responses to common questions are critical to your success. Keep these additional underwriter interview tips in mind, as they're essential in highlighting the skills and experience hiring managers desire in the industry.
Underwriter Interview Tips
Communicate Effectively: As an underwriter, you will be judged by hiring managers on how well you communicate with others. During the interview, your answers to their questions should be concise and intelligent, providing information without straying from your central topic. Preparing answers to customary interview questions is a start, but think about what sort of job-specific inquiries they're most likely to ask, and draft your answers ahead of time to use as talking points. Understand that your goal is not memorization but to demonstrate your ability to effectively relay your message. Finally, you will also be evaluated on your written communication skills, so make sure your emails and letters to hiring managers and other company staff are well written. Use clear, understandable language, and pay special attention to proper grammar and punctuation.
Focus Their Attention on Your Analytical Skills: This is a great opportunity to speak about instances in your employment history, volunteer work, or other situations in which you put careful, detailed analysis to use in problem solving. In underwriting, you will have to draw from information from a wide variety of sources, and your job will be to sift through and parse it down to determine what is relevant. Showing examples of how you have done this in the past provides solid evidence for the employer that you're a capable candidate for an underwriting position.
Highlight Your Decision-Making Abilities: Underwriting requires an understanding of company practices and standards and applying them as you tender decisions about policies, levels of coverage, and costs. You need to prove that you can work independently to analyze the data you've gathered and then make an appropriate choice. During the interview, be sure to describe an instance from your past in which you significantly demonstrated effective decision-making. Also, don't forget to clearly tie your past actions to a visibly positive result, especially if it translates to specific numbers in terms of time or cost savings.
Demonstrate That You're Teachable: While there are larger industry trends at work, each insurance firm offers coverage according to its own standards, ideologies, and business goals. You will discover some of this information as you research the prospective employer. In the interview, don't forget to mention what you've already learned to show that you understand the company. Additionally, it's not enough to just say that you're a fast learner: describe specific situations that required you to learn quickly and illustrate the cause-and-effect relationship between your actions and their solid, tangible rewards.
Emphasize Relevant Certifications and Education: A bachelor's degree is preferred for candidates in this field. If you have one or any advanced degrees, don't forget to mention them when you speak about your educational qualifications. Additionally, it's helpful to highlight any additional coursework you've undertaken that's helped you gain more knowledge in the field. Finally, if you have earned any certifications or designations, such as a CPCU designation or a CLU certification, it's vital that you call attention to them during the interview because they'll differentiate you from other job candidates.
Following these underwriter interview tips helps you succeed at your first interview and increases your chances of being called back. Communicating effectively, focusing on your analytical and decision-making skills, demonstrating that you're teachable, and calling attention to relevant education and certifications will help you stand out from your competition and ace the interview.