Position in Reserving P&C - Behavioral interview questions


I’ve applied for a position in p&c reserving and so far I’ve had two interviews where we have discussed only technical aspects of the job. In the third interview, we are going to be joined by a person from HR and the focus will be on behavioral / soft skills questions. From what I gathered from the first two interviews, they are putting a lot of weight on teamwork. On Actuarial Outpost there used to be a plethora of information on this topic, which is all gone now. What questions should I expect and how would you prepare for this kind of interview?

Thank you for your help!

what’s your experience level?

Well, you never know which questions they’ll ask. Sometimes a company has its own list, to keep things consistent.
In the past, I have downloaded (and possibly printed) a ton of behavioral questions, thought about answers for each and every one (you can use non-work situations to answer behavioral questions), and kept those answers in my head ready to answer.
You’ll find that you have fewer situations than there are questions, so there will be overlap.
So, download a ton of behavioral questions from the internet. Have a situation ready to discuss for each of them

I don’t think Westley ever migrated here. :cry:

Yeah. I was gonna say I really don’t have any good advice for entry level behavioral interview questions.

I know people have ways to deal with them, but the answers always seem to0 try-hard or phony. And I personally hate try-hard and phony people.

The blame is really on the interviewers to torture entry level people with behavioral.

Hello John,

I’ve been working in this field for almost 10 years.

10 years and you’ve never had experience with behavioral interview questions?!

I would suggest working out a list of experiences you can reference and talk about regarding various aspects of soft skills.

  • Leadership & managing people
  • Managing projects of various sizes
  • Handling personality conflict within a team
  • Handling insensitive people on your team
  • Handling personality conflict & insensitive people outside your team that interaction is required


Very likely that such questions today are different than what they might’ve been 10 years ago.

I do, but to be honest, it’s been a long, long time since I’ve interviewed for a new position.


Think about your work style. For example, my spouse does not work well in groups. They know this and they’d be miserable in a position where a lot of teamwork was required. On the other hand, I thrive in a team environment because helping out others is really satisfying to me.

After you understand your work style, think of five or six different situations that illustrate that work style. Make them a story. For example: “I’m know in my department as an Excel expert. I frequently get asked questions about how to do different “obscure” functions. Just the other day, one of the directors came over and was asked me if I’d be willing to show Steve how to create a dropdown box. Steve is a pretty shy guy and he isn’t comfortable asking for help. So I sent him an email with a spreadsheet that I had made that included a dropdown box with a message saying that I thought this was pretty cool and I thought that he might find it cool as well. I also included a link to a youtube video that I used to learn how to do it in the first place.” You’ll be able to use this example to multiple types of questions and it also gets across a bunch of stuff about you. Feel free to reuse the story on multiple questions but give a slightly different angle. For example, you might bring up what Steve’s reaction was to your email. (He probably posted in the Insignificant Signals thread!)

Finally, tell the truth. First off, the interviewers will know you’re lying because you’ll have to answer too many questions to keep the lies straight. As Judge Judy says, if you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything. Second, if you give the answers that you think the interviewers want to hear you very well may end up in a job that you aren’t suited for. Sometimes not getting an offer is better than getting an offer. I’ve had this happen to me for several positions where I’m pretty certain I was the most “qualified” candidate. In hindsight, I’m really glad I didn’t get offered any of those positions.

If the rest of the actuarial department already likes you then that last interview with HR is mostly a formality as long as you don’t say anything offensive.

It depends if there are other candidates they also like. I’ve seen the HR person cast a deciding vote. Or rather, say something that swayed the decision maker.

Thank you very much for the link!

Very, very nice. Thank you very much!

I think that I really am in the position you have described. They seem to like me very much and I believe the interview with HR will not be a dealbreaker. However, my performance was so far (from my point of view) pretty solid and I would want to keep this level in any interview with them. I am doing this more for me, so I can say: “I really gave this my very best, regardless of the outcome”. This is the reason why I want to be well prepared for the behavioral questions.

A specific question if I may. How would you answer the following question:

“If we give you 20.000$, what would you do with it?”

I would say that I would invest them in reserving related seminars.

Probably throw it in the kids’ 529s to reap that sweet sweet PV


1000% that question will not come up. Behavioral questions have changed for the better (or worse, depending on how you look at it). They’re less about gotcha’s than just trying to get to know your experience and personality from a different lens.

That said…if I had $20000, I’d get rid of my short term debts (car payments), and put the rest into savings. It’s not nearly enough for me to care about long term interest gains.