Written by Leo Bird
I am writing this blog because I am surprised that more people haven’t tried interviewing other people and I find interviews interesting reads. This could help you better see what an interviewer is looking for.
- Find a topic that you are curious about. Do you want to learn about study habits? Interviewing skills? Talents that an employer wants? Find burning questions in your mind.
- Find a good person to interview. Your career counselor or teachers might be a good ones. A job interviewer might be good too. Or perhaps an actuarial peer who may have different experiences than you. Acquiring an experienced actuary might be a challenging task for a person early in the exams – maybe it was someone you met at an internship or a relative. I got in touch with an experienced actuary through our school’s mentoring program. That is when a experienced person teaches you about their profession and reviews job situations you may be in. I recommend it, and you may want to ask your teachers if they could do something like this for you. The program earned me a job interview and a job shadow at Transamerica. Or maybe an experienced actuary could interview a less experienced actuary.
- Don’t ask yes or no questions. When you conduct an interview you want to get the other person talking, and hearing just a yes or a no does not give a lot of material.
- If the person says something that you would like them to elaborate on, ask them about it. For example, if you ask about what the notes taken down during an interview looks like when the notes about your interview are compared to other candidates, and after the response you want to learn what good notes would look like, go ahead and ask. Your interview can be partially improvised and the set of questions you prepare do not have to be the ones that you decide to publish.
- Read some interviews of celebrities you admire. It could be a movie star, sports player, politician, anyone famous there’s got to be some. They are good insights to thought processes and can set an example for your interview.
- Tell the other person what the interview is about. This way they can think through their answers to your questions.
- If you are going to do a live interview, record it in Garageband so you don’t forget what is said. I find transcribing audio difficult, so you may want to submit questions by email if the blog is written down. Although you could submit video if you want (Cameras designed for photos get better audio than phones. I note that although my camera will not play back audio, when I upload it to my computer that will get audio. Be sure to do a test before the interview.)
- Have the questions be on one topic. If the questions are all over the place, the interview will lack focus.
You could incorporate an interview into a standard blog. For example, if you were doing a blog about being focused for the exams, part of it might read, “Other students have also found it difficult to stay motivated for the exams. ‘I found it easy to get distracted from the exams when I was a student,’ says Charlie. ‘The things that keep me motivated were…’” Someone who isn’t an actuary might be good to quote to express their views on the profession (though they might not know enough about actuaries to do a full interview).