The only thing that makes interviewing easy is if you currently have the best job in the world. For most of us, this isn't the case. However this is how we should approach interviews. Why? Because confidence and enthusiasm will be extremely helpful when gathering information about a job and a company. Interviewers "open up" to good candidates. They sense when a candidate is nervous, desperate or downright unprepared. Below are some detailed interview tips we have compiled directly from interviewers to help you succeed at your next interview.
Gather Information About the Job
Most insurance companies have job descriptions posted on their website. We have found these descriptions or helpful but not always exactly correct. Each department has its own individual needs. For example, the job description may call for a multi-line supervisor. You have a multi-line background but when you interview, you find out that 85% of the position is property. A lot of times, unless you are using a recruiter, you may never know what the job entails "exactly" until the interview.
Research the Company Thoroughly
Being knowledgable about the company shows your interest to the interviewer. By learning about the company's goals or mission you can you personalize your answers to the companies needs. Larger companies can be researched on the Internet. For smaller companies, you may have to talk with current employees, the chamber of commerce, trade magazines editors or better business bureaus.
Comfortable Interview Attire
Interviewers can read your body language. If you are not comfortable, they will be able to tell. Make sure your attire fits well and doesn't cause discomfort. If you get a new suit or dress, try it on and wear it for awhile to get used to the feel. This may sound corny, but there is no feeling worse then a pin sticking you in the stomach in the middle of the interview.
Maintain Good Eye Contact
When you are in an interview situation, good eye contact always displays confidence. To do this without looking away, all you have to do is take both your eyes and stare at just the left or the right eye of the interviewer. Try this at home. You will win all staring contests. Just a small word of caution: Don't concentrate so hard on staring and forget to listen to what the interviewer is saying.
Clearly State Your Career Goals
We all want to grow and be dedicated to our careers. The key during an interview is to communicate this fact. Show examples of what you have done to grow you career. Let them know where you see your future and the plan to get there. Let's face it, your well thought out plan should be exciting to the company you are interviewing with…if it isn't, the company probably will not be a match for you.
Stress Your Biggest Achievements
Potential employers can read your resume themselves. What they don't see is what you need to share with them. Have you received any awards, letters of recommendations or employee awards? Have you been published? Did you save your current company money by designing a paperless claim file? Add information of your accomplishments and relate them to the job you are interviewing for.
Know and Overcome Your Weakness
This is always a tough interview question. We all have weaknesses. If your weakness is a major part of the job you are interviewing for, that job isn't for you! Don't try to snow the interviewer. Most of the time, this isn't the case but the interviewer stills wants this information. It's okay to have a weakness as long as you tell the interviewer how you are overcoming this obstacle.
Don't Be Afraid to Ask Questions
Ask the tough questions too. Why has your profitability fallen by 6% three years straight? You need information like this to make a good career decision. It can also help you identify a great opportunity. If the company has been losing sales, is it the product or the manager? People drive companies. If you get the job and turn the sales pattern around, your career will skyrocket.
Handling Salary Questions
If a salary range isn't stated on the job description, research salary for similar positions in that market to gather a median salary range. In the insurance business, your salary depends on two things: what others in the same department are currently making and your current salary. If someone in your department has 8 years experience making $63,599, your seven years experience will only get $62,000. Typically, offers will come in at ten to fifteen percent above your current salary. If you are up for a review at your current job, you may be able to use that as leverage for salary negotiations. If salary comes up during an interview an appropriate response would be "The opportunity you have presented is challenging and exciting. If an offer would be forth coming, I would consider as much as my background and experience permits". In the insurance business, salaries are usually "by the book".
Ending the Interview and Follow-Up
At the conclusion of the interview, ask the interviewer to tell you what the next steps will be and in what time frame. The information you get here will be all over the board. If you are interviewing with the manager, you might get a great feeling that he wants to hire you quickly. If your interviewing in human resources, they may love you but will tell you that they have five other people coming in before they will know anything. Don't get discouraged if this happens. After the interview, always send thank-you letters to everyone you meet with whether you want the job or not. You never know when your paths may cross again. Handwritten notes are the only acceptable forms of correspondence. Spell the person's name correctly, thank them for their time and emphasize reasons why you are the best for the position using your skills and experience.