An Interview to Remember
Overcoming obstacles to your career and job search with interview advice
By Roger Lear
Great Insurance Jobs’ Cofounder Roger Lear is here to help you overcome obstacles to your career and job search. This month, he offers up some interview advice.
"I have a claims interview next week for a job that I really want but I have not interviewed in over nine years. What can I expect in the interview and how can I really stand out?”
The interview is the key to getting that job, for sure! Earlier this year, Great Insurance Jobs surveyed over 72 insurance companies, and the final report included a page dedicated to employer hiring challenges. According to the survey, employers get frustrated because they cannot find qualified insurance talent. When they do, sometimes they cannot afford it due to salary range restrictions.
What does this mean for your upcoming interview? It means that if you have the claims experience they specifically need, and you fit in the salary range, you are off to a great start before you walk in the door. If you don’t, then you may be wasting your time. The interview itself can be very nerve-racking but if you follow these few tips, you will excel.
First, be prepared with examples of your claims ability. When asked a question about the size of claims that you have handled, don’t just give a number. Rather, use examples such as the following: “At ABC Steel, I handled a $800,000 water damage claim, while the smallest claim I handled was JJJ Retail for $95,000. In both cases, as with most of my claims, I was able to estimate, negotiate, and close the file in a very short period of time.” If you can answer any of the interviewer’s questions about your negotiating, closing, customer service, and technical skills with real examples, then your interview will go great. You should spend your preparation time writing down strong claims examples in these areas so that during the interview you can paint a picture with real claims experience. Be careful, though, because I have seen many claims professionals take too much time on these examples. Be clear, concise, and enthusiastic when giving examples, then stop talking.
If your interview is with human resources, then they may ask you more structural questions about your work history and your reasons for leaving. HR is the gateway to the manager, so please take this interview seriously and with great enthusiasm. The hiring manager will be much more technical, but both are looking for skill match as well as company fit. You may be asked a question like “Tell me about the work environment in which you would be most productive?” I have seen many candidates blow the interview here. They will go negative on their current work environment or manager (which is a reason many leave jobs). The best advice here is to always do as much research on the company as you can by using Glassdoor.com or by asking anyone you know who works there in order to make sure that it fits your idea of culture. Whatever you do, keep everything positive—even if you are coming from a hellhole.
Finally, have fun. With your experience, they need you and just want to make sure you will be a fit. The best way to do that is to build a rapport and be authentic. The confidence you will gain talking about real examples of your claims work will tell your story and be the deciding factor against any competition you have for the job. Good luck!
Got a career question for Roger? Email him at Roger@GreatInsuranceJobs.com.