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Candidates

IRS offer a completely confidential and professional service to all candidates and never ‘market’ an individuals CV without prior consultation and express agreement.

We will work with you to understand your skills and experience which enables us to meet your future career aspirations and objectives by only discussing relevant roles and potential employers with you.

We believe that building a relationship based on mutual trust and respect with our candidates is key to sourcing the most suitable position for you and ultimately finding the most suitable employee for our client.

Where possible we will ask to work with you on an exclusive basis for a defined period as this suits our ethos of a planned approach. If you are registered with other agencies you might be unaware who they are speaking to on your behalf or where your CV has or is due to be sent.

Many of our candidates are referrals from insurance professionals which we have worked with previously. Due to market intelligence we have never had to rely heavily on advertising like other agencies do.

Interview Guidance

Many companies now are moving away from the formal interview process for the first meeting and like to meet candidates for more of an informal chat to ascertain if there is any mutual ground for taking things to a more formal 2nd stage interview. However it is essential that the following pointers are still taken into account:

The Interview

It goes without saying that you should be well groomed, punctual and polite. However it can still be nerve racking meeting someone for the first time. By carrying out your own preparation you will however not only create a very good impression but will also appear more focused, calm and enthusiastic. 'What do you know about us?' and 'why do you want this job?' are staple questions for interviewers so make sure you know prior to interview! One of the main reasons people fail at this stage is their lack of preparation and ability to answer the most straightforward questions.

If you are a salesperson it is also a very good idea to take along proof of performance for the previous few years or any records of success. A high degree of confidence will come across as arrogance if you can not back up what you are saying.

Another major reason why interviews go badly is that candidates can become preoccupied with describing how bad their current situation is. Although this may well be the case a potential employer does not want to listen to someone bemoaning their luck so always make sure you limit your reasons for leaving to the major issues and put a positive spin on them. 'I have given it my best shot but it is just not the environment for me' sounds much better than 'I realised from day one it was a bad place to work'. Especially in the first interview, when the environment can be very relaxed, it is easy to fall in to this trap.

Competency Based Interviews

The interviewer will ask you a number of scenario based questions, testing your ability to provide firm evidence of how you have demonstrated a key competency required in your field of work. These questions usually start with phrases such as 'Tell me about a time when...' or 'Describe a scenario...'.

Often the STAR method is seen as the best way of answering such questions. This relates to Situation (what was the scenario), Task (what did you have to do), Action (How you did it) and Result (what was the outcome). Clients are looking for specific, in-depth answers about a particular situation so it is imperative that answers are not too generic.

Competency interviews are very popular so it is quite likely you will have to undertake one at some point.

Technical Assessment

Most commonly this takes the form of a multiple-choice questionnaire. It is to test the interviewees' level of knowledge across specific classes of business, products and their suitability. These are generally used to ascertain potential training requirements rather than penalising candidates for any knowledge gaps.

Role Plays

These are another very popular form of assessment for sales related positions,
typically focusing on aspects such as undertaking a fact-find, an initial meeting with an introducer of business, or a meeting with a disenfranchised client. They are looking for how you build rapport with that individual and how you use your influencing skills for a favourable outcome. The focus is also on seeing what type of questions you ask and what process you use to ascertain client needs and ultimately close the deal.

Presentations

Presentations are generally forewarned giving you plenty of time to prepare and can either be very specific 'Describe how you will be a success for XYZ Insurance Company' or very generic; sometimes you are able to present on any given topic, either work or personally related.

These exercises are clearly chosen to assess your planning and communication skills and are common for roles where a lot of new business work is expected.

Personality Profiling

Also known as psychometric testing these exercises are usually carried out on-line and ask you a series of questions, asking you to agree or disagree, or answer which statements best describes you. You can not really prepare and sometimes the questions can seem quite strange and totally unrelated to one another! The only thing to be is completely honest. It is exceptionally rare for people to be dropped from the process after this stage; they are used more as a way of focusing the interview on any perceived strengths or weaknesses.

Behavioural Profiling

This type of profiling is much more situational, asking individuals how they would react in certain work related scenarios. Again the only approach is to be honest.

Assessment Centres

These consist of a variety of the above and could take a full day or even a couple of days for more senior positions.

Always be positive

At interviews and assessment centres you are being assessed from the moment you arrive. Any defensiveness, aloofness or negativity will be picked up on, no matter who it was with. This will ultimately hinder your chances to a huge degree.

Further some of the tasks required of you may appear unrelated to your role and you may not indeed see the benefit of some of the tasks, but they are there for a reason so see it for what it is - an exercise.

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