Acing online application forms for graduate jobs in insurance, retail banking and actuarial science

Essential tips for answering questions on insurance, retail banking and actuarial job application forms.

When answering questions about why you want the job, you need to provide proof that you have the skills you are looking for and that you will thrive in the culture of the company.

When answering questions about why you want the job, you need to provide proof that you have the skills you are looking for and that you will thrive in the culture of the company.

Be warned: Online application forms for graduate jobs with insurance and retail banking employers tend to be lengthy and can take around three hours to complete.

What to expect on a financial services request form

Online application forms vary by employer:

  • Some application forms ask you a series of questions about skills and motivation, in addition to your personal details and background in education and work experience.
  • Some require you to answer skill and motivation questions and also upload a CV and cover letter.
  • Some require you to submit a CV and cover letter and don’t ask you more questions.
  • Some forms also include online aptitude tests, such as situational judgment and calculation exercises, as part of the process.

When you upload a CV, the form software often automatically scans your CV and fills out the work experience, education, and contact details sections of the form for you.

When forms ask you to answer questions, they are designed to assess:

  • What you know about the employer, the position and / or the graduate program
  • Why do you want to work in this position
  • Why do you want to work for this particular insurer, consulting actuary, broker or bank
  • If you are the type of person to work well for the employer, that is, do you have the right skills? Do you share the values ​​of the insurer, the employer or the bank?

The employer may also want to test your business sensitivity by asking how the company is performing compared to its competition, but they are more likely to ask in an interview.

When you answer questions about the reasons for the plan, the employer and what you know about your job …

Obviously, do detailed research: You need to find out:

  • What does the employer do (what are their products or services)?
  • What markets does it operate in? In what places ?
  • Is the company growing, shrinking, opening up to new markets or withdrawing its activities? Why?
  • Who are its main competitors?
  • What general events in the economy and the financial industry might affect the employer, for example increased regulation?
  • What key skills and competencies does it look for in its graduate employees?
  • What are the core values ​​of the company? What does his brand promote? How does he like to see himself? How is it perceived from the outside?
  • How is the graduate program structured? What training would you receive?
  • What does the daily work consist of?

You can find this information on:

  • Our Employer Hubs, where we’ve put everything you need to know about applying to specific employers in one place
  • The employer’s site – the company’s site, the pages of its press service as well as its graduate recruitment site
  • The financial press – the FT and the professional pages of large-format newspapers
  • The people who work in the organization – your college career department should have a database of alumni who would be happy to talk to you.

Don’t copy and paste. Don’t just regurgitate information: Write what you found out about the organization in your own words and don’t copy and paste. When answering a question about the pension industry, for example, you need to find out who the employer’s typical clients are and how events affecting pensions would generally affect those particular types of clients. Are there any particular challenges in deploying automatic enrollment in FTSE companies, for example? May be; maybe not – but is there a challenge for them to meet the obligations of end-of-salary pensions?

Connect the employer to you, your experiences and your values: When answering questions about why you want the job, you need to provide proof that you have the skills you are looking for and that you will thrive in the culture of the company. When talking about what the job involves, relate the general information you get about the job (for example, what an actuary does) to the type of clients the company works with. Before applying, read our tips on why you are interested in the position.

When answering questions about yourself and your skills …

Use your whole life to answer questions: Don’t limit yourself to just talking about the finance internships you’ve completed. Take examples from all of your work experiences, extracurricular activities and travel: skills are transferable and employers will appreciate you if you come across as the legendary “well-rounded person.”

Don’t forget to say what happened and what you accomplished: Since the jobs in retail banking and insurance are, to a greater or lesser extent, goal-oriented, share what you have accomplished by giving examples of your skills. For example, if you were responsible for increasing the membership of a student association, by how much would you have increased it? When giving examples of when you have completed a skill, use the CAR structure to stay focused: explain the circumstances, the actions, then the results.

Do not copy or paste responses from other application forms: You may think the questions are similar; you might think this will save you some time, but chances are you didn’t get the meaning of the question asked and you will probably leave on behalf of the other employer. Use the same example by all means – even use some of the same sentences – but write it from scratch. This will ensure that you actually answer the question asked, which a surprising number of students do not.

Before submitting …

Check and check again: Before pressing send, check for spelling and grammar errors, verify that you have answered each question in full (not missed half of a question), and that you have completed the form completely – for example, make sure you provided your email address instead of just half, which is known to happen. Read it to make sure you’ve explained yourself clearly. It’s a good idea to give it to someone else to check out too. Do not stand aside from the course of an interview for failure to carefully check the form.

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