"so why do you want to work here?"

Up there with “what’s your greatest strength and an area for development?” and “Almost any behavioral interview question” is “So why do you want to work for company XYZ?”

It’s probably not gonna cut it to say you were desperate and that’s all the recruiter was still placing for. So you do additional homework on the company, at a minimum look at their website, maybe a press release if they have it.

But this get me thinking, how could one be more targeting in their career search. There’s certainly recruiters who can present what they have or maybe reach out to candidates they’ve placed to see if they’re hiring. There’s reaching out to your networks on linked in and perhaps stealthily admitting you’re looking for you next opportunity.

But I was trying to think of what the other main resources are.

Other resources for finding open opportunities
There’s individual company website careers’ sections
There’s indeed as a generic job search portal
The CAS job board is sparsely populated.
There’s your university job search board.

But the best question to be able to answer is “where should I be looking?” To that end I’d really appreciate the ideas of the go actuary community.

Resources for tailoring your search
Annual statements. Now, this is much, much easier if you have bestlink or S&P’s access to annual statement data, so you don’t have to tediously try to pull this data yourself. I don’t know if the NAIC has any data aggregators. The reason for this is a few fold. If you know you like large company appeal, you can go straight to either Annual WP or policyholders surplus, and assume the top 10% of companies are “large”. that metric is flexible, but can let you know who is big. IT also lets you know who is not big, if you think a mid-sized or smaller carrier would be a better fit for you. The other benefits of reviewing annual statements, are you can see if they write lines you’re interested in, or at least get a sense of what they write, and what they probably need to support those writings. Like if the company writes a lot of homeowners, dwelling fire, or commercial property they may have in-house CAT-modelers. Another benefit to reviewing annual statements is “How is this company doing?” Like, you can restrict your search to companies with positive net income on each year over the past few years. At a minimum this can tell you if they are profitable and more likely to pay bonuses, which I strongly prefer to receive.
The Great Place to work website?

Are there other resources to help find companies? I’m afraid worth of mouth and individual websites may be best for consulting, intermediaries, reinsurers, or other niche employment.

How else can you be targeted in your career search?

Till all are one,


did you try chatGPT?


Like, ask my question to ask AI bot? I did not. Any ideas for the career search ideas @meep ?

Interviewer: So why do you want to work here?
Candidate: Shouldn’t I be the one asking that? After all, you’re the one who’s actually worked here.


Actuarial isn’t that big so you can usually literally list out all the employers in your physical area, with big help from sites like this:

After I had a so-so experience with a recruiter I stopped using them. Now I have a spreadsheet with all actuarial employers within commutable distance (a little pre-COVID now) along with details like how many actuaries work there, etc. and finally a score for how much I’d like to work there (1-5). If I’m job hunting I sort by descending score, go to the company’s site and apply for any relevant jobs and then note the date and continue down the list. Then revisit in a week or two (and update spreadsheet with any developments). Then for the question you posed I usually have a genuine answer because I already ranked that company.


@NormalDan I was not aware of this AT ALL. what a great resource! I like that it includes consulting and other types of employers.

I’ve had okay experiences with recruiters. They’ve helped place me before and the one who discouraged me from negotiating with i don’t talk to anymore. The others are fine, though have different styles . I guess they’re both kind of “big name” firms. I don’t really respond to random linked in or indeed requests, though i do respect the hustle.


Happy to help! Yes the map makes making a list a lot more feasible.

Recruiters can be great, the trouble is their interests aren’t fully aligned with yours. They save you the legwork of looking for jobs, although of course they’re limited to just the jobs they’ve been contracted to search for. And then assuming it works out and it’s time to negotiate the recruiter very much just becomes a broker, they just want the deal to close as quickly as possible because doing one more deal is much more financially impactful than getting a slightly better deal, so the recruiter will likely try to “advise you on expectations”, etc. but they’re just trying to get you to take this job.

In theory you should also get paid more if your future employer didn’t have to pay a recruiting commission (not to mention better negotiated outcomes).

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It is a question designed to make candidates squirm. Those that squirm are VC. The ones that don’t are well-disciplined VC.

So, be well-disciplined and have an answer ready that is honest (so you don’t have to remember a lie) and refreshing to hear.
“I did some research and noticed on your website that your offices have really clean bathrooms. I hope those weren’t stock photos. But, seriously folks… you have an opening and I want to fill it, and I think you’ll pay me more than what I am currently making, which is classified information.”

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costanza would like this

Yeah, it’s really not that hard to figure out all the potential actuarial employers in your area. I always just used the actuarial directory. Then you can check their websites. Other than that, networking, keeping in touch with former coworkers.

I have used a recruiter, not because I wouldn’t have found the opening on my own, but because I was getting autorejected for the jobs I was interested in because my very relevant experience didn’t exactly match the experience requirements because it was in a somewhat different area/function, and I needed help getting past the HR screen to talk to an actuary who would understand the relevance. But usually recruiters won’t be aware of secret companies you can’t easily find on your own. That said, sometimes companies prefer to go through recruiters because there can be a perception that they can find talented “passive candidates” that way, and that those applying actively on their own through company websites are more desperate lesser tier talent. I don’t think anyone fully believes this but it is a recruiter selling point with partial truth behind it that some companies may somewhat buy into. So if you don’t have a personal contact at a company, maintaining a relationship with a recruiter can be good for the access to occassional jobs that don’t get posted online where they are solely working with a recruiter.