Actuary Job Interview Questions and Tips

Actuary job interview questions can be behavioral based questions, or actuarial science based technical questions.

Be prepared for some levels of complexity with this type of interview. Actuarial interviews may involve several stages of interview at the professional level.

Interview structures

To cover all possible stages of the interview we’ll discuss them in a single structure. The order of these interviews may vary, and some employers don't use all stages of interview.

Phone interview: This is a screening process interview, and it’s extremely important. The phone interview stage is the primary culling stage for applicants, and the interview is essentially a mini job interview in its own right.

First stage job interview: The primary interview is a behavioral interview; a typical job interview with many of the standard questions like “What are your strengths and weaknesses” built in.

Technical interview: Some actuaries describe this as interview with the equivalent of SAT or quantitative value questions. It’s also a necessary part of the assessment of your skills and experience, based on matching you to the technical requirements of the job.

Management interview: A higher tier of interview, which may deal with career aspirations, and your range of skills and value to the employer. In this phase your knowledge base may be tested with some oblique questions asking for your opinions of situations and getting a perspective on your professional skills and ability to deal with hypothetical scenarios.

Written tests: These can be numerical, verbal, report writing, or even group related in some cases. These tests are quantifiers, proof of skills and ability to deal with issues related to the job.

Interview questions

The actuary job-related questions form a very important part of the interview process. These questions are essentially asking you to show your knowledge and understanding of issues. All of them have practical applications within the role, and require the best answers you can provide. 

The questions deal with fundamental issues for actuaries:

  • What causes businesses to succeed?
  • What’s a business model that you admire?
  • Give an example of a failed business, and explain why you believe it failed.

Career based questions

The career based questions give a good picture of how you’ll fit into an actuarial position. This isn’t a particularly mobile profession, with career actuaries tending to remain in organizations and progress up through the organizational ladder.

The employer needs to know:

  • Why do you want to work with this particular line of work?
  • What are your career aspirations as an actuary?
  • What’s your current level of qualifications?

These questions are a snapshot of your degree of commitment to a career path, which is equated with your motivation in applying for the job.

Tests

The tests aren’t always held, but you need to be prepared for them.

Numerical tests

These are basic numeracy tests at various levels, usually the multiple choice type. They’re not difficult, but if you haven’t done one of these tests for a while, it’s advisable to do some practice tests so you can get a reasonable number of questions answered.

Written and comprehension tests

The tests usually involve reading a passage and drawing the correct information from the passage. There are often a lot of questions, and this is another area where practice may be required to make sure you perform effectively.

Reports

Report writing is fairly straightforward. You’re given all the information required to write an accurate report with relevant conclusions. Keep your report clear and use simple sentences as frequently as possible.