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Top 30 Alleghany Corp. Interview Questions

Question 1 of 33
At Alleghany Corp. our business portfolio is diversified which can create a challenging management environment. Are you able to effectively manage unrelated business units?
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Question 2 of 33
Because Alleghany Corp. is a diversified organization, we offer a wide range of opportunities for career growth. Where would you like to see your career in 5 years?
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"I saw a few leadership opportunities posted on your company website that seemed very interesting. Ultimately, I would like to work my way into a management role that offered leadership opportunities. I am very interested in working for Alleghany Corp. because of the multiple growth opportunities present here and I look forward to proving my capabilities to you."
"In 5 years I would like to be seen as an authority in our industry. I would like to be well-connected and trusted when it comes to my work here at Alleghany Corp.."
Before your interview be sure to visit Alleghany Corp. career opportunities online. Take note of the range in opportunities. Perhaps there are opportunities in other locations? What kind of growth is available in the particular department you are interviewing with? Assure the interviewer that you desire a long term opportunity with Alleghany Corp. by discussing the career path you would like.
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Question 3 of 33
Clear communication is key to our success at Alleghany Corp.. Describe to me your communication style and why you think your style will be a fit here.
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"My communication style leans more to the formal side. I like to be to-the-point and keep expectations simple to understand. If I had to sum up my communication style in a few words I would say it is concise, clean, and friendly. From the communication exchanges I have had with Alleghany Corp. so far, I believe our communication styles are a great fit."
"My communication skills are very strong. I often utilize written communications as a follow up to verbal communications. They provide a great resource for associates to go back to and reference, plus might answer any questions that come up along the way. I think my style of communication will be a fit here because it's thorough and flexible."
Briefly describe your communication style to the interviewer and be sure to include the ways in which you feel your communications styles align. The interviewer would like to be assured that your communication style is a close match to the communication preferences of Alleghany Corp..
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Question 4 of 33
At Alleghany Corp. we offer a wide range of products and services. How do you plan to positively impact our business, if hired?
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"I really appreciate the range of products that you offer your clients at Alleghany Corp.. I am sure that it is a bit of work to become familiar with all of the products; however, I am very good at memorization and my recall abilities are above average. I expect that I will be up to date on your product lines much faster than your average employee. This strength also helps when it comes to my up-selling percentages because I can easily recommend additional products based on the customers needs."
"I plan to positively impact your business, very quickly, by being incredibly diligent in my training, getting to know your service offerings in and out, and being an engaged member of your team from day one."
The interviewer is looking for a couple of main points in your answer. One, they would like to know that you have clearly researched the products / services offered at Alleghany Corp.. Two, they would like to see that you have actively thought about your potential fit with Alleghany Corp. and the ways that you would make a fast and positive impact on their organization. Your answer should display your confidence and touch on your particular specialty. This could include your great ability to memorize product features, your natural sales abilities, or your cold calling skills.
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Question 5 of 33
Because Alleghany Corp. has a large geographic footprint, we have to accommodate a variety of time zones. Do you have experience working for clients and co-workers in multiple time zones?
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"In my current position I collaborate with our offices in the U.S., Canada, Scotland, and Finland. It was a struggle at first to always remember what day and time others were working in; however, I now have a great desktop application that tracks this for me so I have quick reference to the information that I need."
"If you do not have experience working with clients and co-workers in multiple time zones: "I do not have exposure to working around multiple time zones; however, this is something I could pick up on very quickly. With technology these days I am sure I could find some help with a handy phone or desktop application. Also, I am not opposed to working outside of business hours on the occasions where I would need to communicate with a client across the globe."
Working for a diversified services organization can bring some unique challenges as their global footprint may be vast. Be sure to express to the interviewer that you are able to successfully handle the challenges that come along with a large geographic footprint. If you have experience working with clients and co-workers in multiple time zones: "In my current position I collaborate with our offices in the U.S., Canada, Scotland, and Finland. It was a struggle at first to always remember what day and time others were working in; however, I now have a great desktop application that tracks this for me so I have quick reference to the information that I need."
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Question 6 of 33
Have you ever been employed through a company merger or acquisition? If so, tell me about your experience.
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Question 7 of 33
Alleghany Corp. puts a lot of focus on our local and global impact so we seek to hire those with the same values. What do you know about our company values, and how do they align with your personal values?
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Question 8 of 33
We have many strong competitors. In your opinion, what does Alleghany Corp. do to stand out from the rest?
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Question 9 of 33
Typical "corporate culture" is something that we work hard to avoid here at Alleghany Corp.. Tell me about your ideal workplace culture.
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Question 10 of 33
Tell me about a time that you have helped a co-worker accomplish an important goal.
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Question 11 of 33
When have you been asked to perform a function or complete a task in which you had little or no experience in doing?
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Question 12 of 33
When have you had to think quickly in response to sudden change?
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Question 13 of 33
How would you describe your work ethic?
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Question 14 of 33
After receiving information from your supervisor, how do you ensure you properly communicate this information to your team?
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Question 15 of 33
Describe your working relationship with your previous or current colleagues.
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Question 16 of 33
Tell me about a time when you took the initiative to improve work related procedures.
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Question 17 of 33
Tell me about a time when you created a unique idea or solution, and it was rejected by your colleagues. How were you able to bounce back?
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Question 18 of 33
When have you had to be extra thorough in completing tasks?
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Question 19 of 33
We are asking for 8 years of industry experience and you have just 5. Why do you think you are qualified for this position?
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Question 20 of 33
When have you shown great integrity at work?
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Question 21 of 33
What causes you to feel dissatisfied on the job?
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Question 22 of 33
Do you believe you are a leader? When have you led a team?
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Question 23 of 33
How do you evaluate success among your team members?
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Question 24 of 33
What are you reading right now?
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Question 25 of 33
How do you prioritize multiple projects when they all seem equally important?
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Question 26 of 33
What would you do if a client asked you about a product or service and you were unsure of the answer?
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Question 27 of 33
How long have you been looking for a job?
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Question 28 of 33
Have you ever worked in a cross-functional environment?
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Question 29 of 33
What is your personal mission statement?
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Question 30 of 33
What are your salary expectations?
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Question 31 of 33
Do you have any questions for me about this position?
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Question 32 of 33
Why do you think you will be successful in this role with Alleghany Corp.?
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Question 33 of 33
How has your post-secondary education prepared you for this job with Alleghany Corp.?
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About Alleghany Corp.

Alleghany Corporation is an investment holding company originally created by the railroad entrepreneurs Oris and Mantis Van Sweringen as a holding company for their railroad interests. It was incorporated in 1929 and reincorporated in Delaware in 1984.

After the company's bankruptcy in the Great Depression, control of the company fell into the hands of Robert Ralph Young and Allan Price Kirby. Young used the company as a vehicle for his vendetta against the J.P. Morgan banking interests, who had financed the Van Sweringens and managed to defeat them and the Vanderbilt interests in a 1954 proxy fight for the New York Central Railroad. The failing New York Central was in worse shape than Young had bargained for and he committed suicide shortly after being forced to suspend the dividend in January 1958. After Young's death, his role in NYC management was assumed by his prot?g? Alfred E. Perlman. Although much had been accomplished to streamline NYC operations, in those tough economic times, mergers with other railroads were seen as the only possible road to financial stability. The most likely suitor became the NYC's former arch-rival Pennsylvania Railroad. During the early 1960s, New York Central negotiated a merger with the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR), which was led by Stuart T. Saunders after 1963. Saunders had most recently led the Norfolk and Western Railway through a successful expansion through acquisition and mergers including the Virginian Railway, Nickel Plate Road and Wabash Railway. There was great hope that success would result from the NYC-PRR combination. Penn Central Transportation Company was formed by the merger on February 1, 1968. However, the underlying financial weakness of both former railroads, combined with the fact that the ICC forced the chronically weak New Haven Railroad into the system, doomed the Penn Central and bankruptcy was declared shortly a little over 2 years later, on June 21, 1970. Many of the Penn Central railroad assets ended up in Conrail, formed in 1976. The bankruptcy of the Penn Central railroad mostly ended Alleghany's involvement in the railroad business.

The company's residual railroad investments led to president and CEO John J. Burns serving on the board of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation from 1995 to 2004.

Now Alleghany Corporation focuses on the insurance business (property, casualty, surety and fidelity insurance). Until his death in February 2011, Allan Kirby's son, Fred M. Kirby 2nd, was the chairman of the board and a sometime member of the Forbes 400 list of richest Americans.

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