MockQuestions

Underwriter Interview Questions

To help you prepare for your Underwriter interview, here are 36 interview questions and answer examples.

Underwriter was written by and updated on March 2nd, 2017. Learn more here.

Question 1 of 36

Do you consider yourself to have strong research skills?

How to Answer

As an underwriter it is very important to be analytical. Tell the hiring manager the ways in which you showcase your analytical skills.



Sample

Written by Nisha Yadav

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36 Underwriter Interview Questions & Answers

  • 1. Do you consider yourself to have strong research skills?

      How to Answer

      As an underwriter it is very important to be analytical. Tell the hiring manager the ways in which you showcase your analytical skills.



      Sample

      Written by Nisha Yadav

      1st Answer Example

      "I am a highly research oriented individual and consider it a vital skill for being a successful internal underwriter. I would consider myself most research oriented when I am presented with a brand new case, or client. I always want to start the analysis of the loan with the correct foundation."

      Written by Nisha Yadav

  • 2. Why are you the best candidate for us?

      How to Answer

      Two-sided question. One one side, it may be looking to see if you are too bold, while it may also be looking to see if you are humble.



      Talking about ourselves in this way can be challenging. We recommend reaching out to a few colleagues, family members, and friends. Ask them for their opinion. You'll probably be surprised at the consistency in their responses! Their answers will give you the response to the question. Tell the interviewer what sets you apart, and explain how your colleagues, family members, and friends have encouraged you with your gift in this area.



      Written by Nisha Yadav

      1st Answer Example

      "I know that you may have received applications from several applicants that have the same qualifications as I do, but what possibly makes me different and better from the others is my excellent risk analysis skills accompanied with the fact that I trained under the best in this profession. Also, I am very punctual and organized and have a great attention to detail which also means I make almost no errors in my work."

      Written by Nisha Yadav

  • 3. What is your greatest strength? How does it help you as an Underwriter?

      How to Answer

      What things have you repeatedly been complemented for? What are the common positive comments you receive on your performance reviews? These can be great starting points for identifying your greatest strength! Share one of these things with the interviewer stating that others have told you this is your greatest strength. Next, share how this strength will help you as an underwriter.



      Written by Nisha Yadav

      1st Answer Example

      "I have been told by past managers that my greatest strength is that I am disciplined. I work hard and stay focused on the task at hand. My consistency makes me reliable and gives others confidence in me. I try to ensure that I make no errors in my work for which I check and recheck my work before submission, which has always been praised by my supervisors."

      Written by Nisha Yadav

  • 4. Tell me something about yourself that is not on your resume.

      How to Answer

      This is a common question used to evaluate culture fit. Don't not mention any activities that are specific to race, color, religion, sex, and national origin.

      If you are a competitive or non competitive athlete, do improv, volunteer, jump out of airplanes, save whales, etc., this is an opportunity to mention them.



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  • 5. Do you have strong computer skills? Which programs are you most experienced in?

      How to Answer

      As an underwriter you may be required to use several high level software and programs. In addition to standard office tools, be prepared to show your skills in job specific tools and other skills that you have (web tools, scripting, programming, etc.). Don't sound over-confident but an answer that exhibits confidence in this scenario is highly appreciated by the recruiting managers. What is important is that you have a conceptual technical knowledge that helps you in solving the problem at hand and communicate it effectively to the stakeholders.



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  • 6. Are you efficient with your time?

      How to Answer

      Through this question the interviewer wants to know how good you are at managing your time and deadlines. The best way to answer this question is to start by explaining that you understand the importance of time and also the repercussions of missing deadlines for any project.

      You can also add how you plan your day or week's work and how you prioritise your tasks, if you keep any reminders or use post-its etc.



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  • 7. Share an experience you had in dealing with a difficult person and how you handled the situation.

      How to Answer

      This is quite a common question for an interviewer to ask as they want to hear if you can describe a work colleague conflict and how you handled it. They are also looking to see how you handle working with changing personalities in a team environment. Talk about how you reached your ultimate solution and any lessons you learned from that.



      Describe the situation and how this person was difficulty. It is important to indicate the how/why they were difficult. Examples might be conflicting objectives or project goals, they had a different management or work style, etc.



      Then describe how you dealt with it. Example might be taking time to sit with this person 1:1 and walking through the project elements, how the two of you needed to work on specific areas for mutual gain.



      If it was with a difficult colleague/boss/client, then describe how you communicated the issue(s) you were encountering, what you proposed to solve the issues, and ultimately the resolution.

      Written by Nisha Yadav

  • 8. Tell me about your education. How has it prepared you for a career as a Underwriter?

      How to Answer

      Provide the interviewer with an overview of your highest level of completed education. If you have attended any recent training seminars or conferences that are directly applicable, feel free to talk about those too! Next, share a few highlights from your education. You might talk about your education preparing you to multi-task and manage a busy workload. You can also consider sharing that your education has provided you with a good foundation, and you understand there will still be things to learn once you are on the job. Be sure to mention that you look forward to learning all that you can!



      Written by Nisha Yadav

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  • 9. If hired, how do you intend on making a difference with our company?

      How to Answer

      Your answer can best be framed along the lines that you are interested in the underwriter role and seeing how you can provide suggestions on efficiencies in the role, opportunities for expanding cross-functional collaboration, being a super user and subsequent trainer of new hires. If you are interested, being a resource for future college outreach/recruiting, may also be attractive to a rapidly growing company.



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  • 10. What do you know about our company?

      How to Answer

      With any job interview, it is crucial to understand the organization you are applying to. We recommend visiting the company website to learn key information such as current events and hirings or promotions or anything that qualifies as a news. Watch the videos on their website, and take note of the information on their Careers page if one is available. Come prepared to list off 5-6 things you learned from the company's website such as number of clients they have, number of branches they have, when the company started, who started the company, mission statement, vision statement, core values, etc..

      Written by Nisha Yadav

  • 11. If I were to speak with your social circle, what would your friends say about you?

      How to Answer

      Were you late or absent a lot? Did you get along well with the team? How do you handle tough situations? Refrain from making up answers that aren't true, as you're never sure if they'll make a call to your previous boss. Instead, focus on 2-3 traits of yours that have been highly complimented and tie them in to the role you're applying for.



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  • 12. Successful underwriters must have good judgement and common sense. Would you consider yourself to fit in those categories?

      How to Answer

      The job of an underwriter is something that needs a lot of analysis and presence of mind. From this question the interviewer wants to understand if you have a good combination of analytical skills and common sense. Give an example of an incident where you used both and were able to achieve great results as well.



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  • 13. Do you consider yourself more analytical or a free thinker?

      How to Answer

      Being analytical is of course a very good thing as far as this job is concerned, but there are instances when a combination of instinct and analysis is useful. The hiring manager wants to know if you give more preference to your instincts or do you base your decisions on your analysis of the data and situations.

      For answering this question you can take an example of a situation and stating which of the two you prefer but yes giving more weight to your analysis is always a good idea as this job is more focused on your analytical skills. An underwriter is not supposed to be more of a thinker.



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  • 14. Give an example where you have had to use your negotiation skills.

      How to Answer

      An employee who has excellent negotiation skills and is a good communicator apart from being good at his job is a very rare combination which most of the employers are looking for. Make sure you present an example where you were able to use your negotiation skills and diplomacy to come up with a win-win situation for the company and the client as well.

      You may choose to give an example from your personal life but thats not advisable as the interviewer is looking for a professional achievement which can be of value for the company in the future. Remember your purpose for being there; you are not there to present rosy or sad stories from your personal life to get some emotional reactions from the interviewer.

      Be able to show how you drove to consensus, got to a point where everyone was satisfied with the result.



      Written by Nisha Yadav

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  • 15. When will your current project be completed, or when will be the next logical time to be able to leave on good terms with your team?

      How to Answer

      This question demands for an honest answer, but at the same time you also need to be aware of the company's requirements and if there is an urgent need then you need to be prepared for that as well.

      If you are unable to leave your current job for certain time period, you should say so right here. You can figure out some way together to meet their requirements if needed. Similarly, if you have a project bonus that is paid out on a certain date, let the interviewer know.



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  • 16. Give an example where you have supported a loan that did not comply with FHA loan guidelines?

      How to Answer

      The objective of this question is to figure out if you always go by the book or you also take your own decisions if required. This is a very tricky question as the company might be very strict about the guidelines and might not select you if you have supported some such loan even if that was a very good decision. So you may want to exercise a little bit of caution here. Make sure you do your homework about the company and its culture.

      If you have worked on non-compliant loans, answer this with how in your past you worked on researching and analyzing non FHA loans. Expand on what the differences are, how you conducted your research and analysis. It is OK to present a loan that was not funded as your contribution to the decision is most important, not the result.



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  • 17. Give an example where you have had to challenge loan documentation based on fraud detection processes you use.

      How to Answer

      This question intends to find out how far does the circle of your knowledge go and whether you are able to make decisions that sometimes want you to go against the decisions of others. Provide an example including the fraud tools or methodologies that you are most familiar with. It is important to not disclose any proprietary tools or ratios that a competitor uses.



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  • 18. What are your general guidelines related to applicable ratios (i.e Debt ratios, loan-to-value)

      How to Answer

      This question is a way to determine if you understand industry guidelines for these ratios. They should be almost second nature.

      Written by Nisha Yadav

  • 19. What do you do when your time schedule or project plan is upset by unforeseen circumstances?

      How to Answer

      Assure the hiring manager that you are able to successfully cope with schedule changes and other unforeseen circumstances. How do you react and what do you do to integrate these changes in your plans?



      Written by Nisha Yadav

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  • 20. What has been your greatest accomplishment as an underwriter so far?

      How to Answer

      Start with giving an example of a project or task where you excelled and were also commended by your seniors and team members. Explain the overall idea, what you personally accomplished, and if there were team members, how you helped them, etc. Also be able to explain how this project fit within the overall organization or was of significance in terms of customer size (if work related). In all cases, be able to drill-down into what you contributed, the challenges if any (tech, people, timing, etc.), and how you met these challenges.

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  • 21. What has been your biggest disappointment as an underwriter so far?

      How to Answer

      A typical example may be a project that required a great deal of activity and then was cancelled, a lost sale, even a failed business venture. The important part of this question is your ability to show how you gained knowledge and grew from the disappointment.

      Don't talk about any personal loss that you may have incurred or about anything funny in here. The interviewer is not looking for an emotional outburst but something that helps in acknowledging your decision making and problem solving skills. Also, anything that might make you sound like an arrogant or a negative person is a big no.

      Also, try not to dodge the question as it might end up resulting in a negative comment from the interviewer.



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  • 22. What is the most difficult situation you have had to face and how did you tackle it?

      How to Answer

      This can be answered with a difficult project encountered while in school or work. Difficult situations can be related to team dynamics, unrealistic expectations, incomplete directions, etc.



      Describe the project, the difficulty and how/why it was difficult. Then describe how you dealt with it. Example might be taking a project team member aside and walking through the project elements, how they need to work on specific areas. If it was with a difficult teacher/boss, then describe how you communicated the issue(s) you were encountering, what you proposed to

      solve the issues, and ultimately the resolution.



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  • 23. Give me a time when you went above and beyond the requirements for a project.

      How to Answer

      The interviewer wants to know that you are the type of employee who will go above expectations for a customer. You are willing to do what it takes to make sure that your performance is at its best and your team gets the most out of it. If possible, share what project you were working on, what your basic requirements were, and how you went above-and-beyond. Be sure to mention why you decided to do it for that project to help the interviewer see your drive to be successful in your work.



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  • 24. What motivates you as an underwriter?

      How to Answer

      Underwriting is a complex mix of task and process orientation. Processes have to be followed per company and government regulations while the role also is key to getting deals completed for the organization.



      Your answer should indicate how your motivations are to add value to the organization by completing your work accurately and under time constraints. You will need to be able to indicate that your motivations match to the organization's needs and the job duties.



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  • 25. Have you ever had difficulty with a supervisor?

      How to Answer

      What was your relationship like with your most recent supervisor? Assure the interviewer that you are able to take instruction well and that you show respect to your leaders in the workplace. Although, there are occasions that you may have had certain disagreements but try to project everything in a positive manner avoiding anything that might portray you as a difficult employee to work with.



      If you have not had difficulty with a supervisor: "My most recent supervisor and I had a strong work relationship and she will be willing to give you a strong reference on my behalf. We did not run into any difficulty while working together."



      If you did have difficulty with a supervisor: "In my career I have had many different supervisors with an array of personalities. I did have one supervisor in the past who was not the type of leader that I would have chosen for myself. We disagreed on occasion but nothing severe enough to affect my work performance."

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  • 26. What are the steps you follow to study a problem before making a decision?

      How to Answer

      The best way of answering this question is by making sure that you are not completely giving a bookish answer but also not something that is totally vague and irrelevant. Divide your working style in several defined steps and present it in front of the interviewer. This will help the interviewer in determining how well organized and efficient you are in handling your work.

      The Problem Solving process consists of a sequence of sections that fit together depending on the type of problem to be solved. These are:

      *Problem Definition

      *Problem Analysis

      *Generating possible Solutions

      *Analyzing the Solutions

      *Selecting the best Solution(s)

      *Planning the next course of action (Next Steps)

      It may also be important to indicate where you seek out confirmation, validation and/or approval at various steps



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  • 27. Give an example of a time when you made a mistake because you failed to actively listen to a supervisor.

      How to Answer

      Failing is normal, natural. No candidate can answer this with a 'it has never happened.'
      Be honest on this one, and present a short summary of your example. As is the case with other questions, the importance is to indicate how you learned and developed from making this mistake.
      Active listening is just listening and saying 'yes or OK' and not asking for clarification, confirmation of what you think you heard, or at a minimum, summarizing the instructions.
      As a student, this may be that time that you wrote an entire essay only to find out you were supposed to write a one-page summary.

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  • 28. Why do you want a career as an underwriter?

      How to Answer

      You can add a personal touch when answering this question. Be sure that your passion for your career comes through in your answer.

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  • 29. How do you keep track of work so that it gets done on time?

      How to Answer

      If you have a daily planning period, now is the time to bring this up. For example "Every morning I spend 30 minutes planning my day over coffee, entering my 'to-dos', reviewing my long and mid-term projects on XYZ application."



      If you also have an end of the day ritual, where you go over what you got done, bring it up now.

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  • 30. Have you ever been overloaded with work? What did you do to ensure your deadlines were met?

      How to Answer

      This question drills deeper into how you manage your time, projects and what happens when things got out of your hands? Were you able to come out of such a situation on your own? Did you have to ask for help? What did you exactly do?

      The best way to answer this question would be through giving an example of a situation where such a thing happened with you and how you tackled with it. In case this never happened then explain how you manage your work everyday, how you prioritise things at work etc.

      Key to this is recognizing that there are limits to your capabilities, that you are able to recognize them, and for the better of the company, you were willing to take the corrective measures.

      Also, if you are giving an example then try to state something from the initial days of your career, something thats not recent.



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  • 31. What initially attracted you to the insurance industry, and what keeps you here?

      How to Answer

      You can add a personal touch when answering this question. Be sure that your passion for your career comes through in your answer.



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  • 32. What professional goals have you set for yourself this year?

      How to Answer

      Be honest while answering this question. The motive of the interviewer is to find out if you will be a good fit for the organization and will stay with the organization for a long time. The hiring managers are not interested in going ahead with a candidate who doesn't see himself/herself as a part of the organization in the long term or not even for a year for that matter. Thus make sure you state realistic goals which are in sync with the career defined by the company.



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  • 33. What do you dislike the most about being an underwriter?

      How to Answer

      The best way of answering this question is to be positive and not to say anything that makes you appear like a pessimist. You should appear to be interested in this profession on a whole and make the interviewer feel that this is not just a few days stop for you. Its your choice for a long term career.



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  • 34. How would you compare your current job to that of an underwriter?

      How to Answer

      Be prepared to provide at least three aspects of your current role that are transferrable to becoming an underwriter. Specific experience in reviewing documents for completeness and accuracy, adherence to corporate policy, and legal compliance in other industries may be the best examples you can bring to the table.



      Additional skills in gathering research and developing financial risk assessments would be good.



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  • 35. Tell me about your financial training and education.

      How to Answer

      Some companies prefer candidates who have bachelors degrees most specifically in finance, mathematics, economic, accounting etc. but most of the times either a degree in the above mentioned or a related experience is sufficient along with good knowledge of computers. For senior positions a candidate may be required to have certain certifications.



      Be prepared to present your skills in standard financial applications (most important would be MS Excel or comparable) spreadsheets. Strong skills (pivot tables, if-then, multi-variables) would be ideal.



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  • 36. If not an underwriter, what other role within insurance would you like to be in?

      How to Answer

      This is an opportunity for you to show your knowledge of other roles, either as potential other roles that are open at this time in the company, roles that feed into becoming an underwriter, and roles that work with underwriters but have additional or other skills. You can begin with expressing how much you enjoy doing your job as an underwriter but at the same time also let the interviewer know that if not an underwriter then you would have been doing some job that is something similar to an underwriter's job.



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