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Underwriter Interview
Questions

36 Questions and Answers by Ryan Brown

Updated August 17th, 2018
Job Interviews     Careers     Business    
Question 1 of 36
What do you dislike the most about being an underwriter?
View Answer
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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Answer Examples
1.
What do you dislike the most about being an underwriter?
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.

Ryan's Answer
"Sometimes there are times when the work comes to our desk in bulk and becomes a bit difficult to manage. But it is as necessary as any other and with better planning and time management skills it can be easily managed. As an underwriter, I work as hard as I can to get it done, quickly and correctly, and not dwell on any negatives."
2.
Successful underwriters must have good judgement and common sense. Would you consider yourself to fit in those categories?
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.

Ryan's Answer
"I consider myself to have a good judgement and common sense but yes I do believe in my instincts. I make decisions based on the analysis that I conduct but there are instances where the analysis might tell you something which may not be good for the company in the longer run. At such times I do favour my instincts as well."
3.
Do you consider yourself to have strong research skills?
As an underwriter it is very important to be analytical. Tell the hiring manager the ways in which you showcase your analytical skills.

Sample
Ryan's Answer
"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."
4.
Give an example where you have had to use your negotiation skills.
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.

Ryan's Answer
"In my last job, we were once dealing with this new prospective client who was not sure whether he wanted to go for our services or not. There were a few points in our policy that he was not happy with in particular. I decided to sit with him and talk to him about the whole situation. Once I got to know what his problem was, I gave him examples of situations where those clauses could actually be beneficial for him and also for his satisfaction made a minor change to the contract. In the end we got the contract and he was happy with our services too. We were happy because we got a big client."
5.
If hired, how do you intend on making a difference with our company?
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.

Ryan's Answer
"First of all I would like to say that I understand the requirements of the company and also that I know what might be the expectations from this job. I would make sure that I add value to the company through my presence and work. Also, if needed I would love to volunteer my services as and when needed for any other tasks including training the interns, giving presentations at some other locations on behalf of the company, doing any voluntary work. I will make sure that I understand the company's culture and become an integral part of it and help it in future growth."
6.
What initially attracted you to the insurance industry, and what keeps you here?
You can add a personal touch when answering this question. Be sure that your passion for your career comes through in your answer.

Ryan's Answer
"I love working as an underwriter because I feel that by doing this job I am being valuable not only for the organization that I am working for but also for the society. I get to use my analytical skills, critical thinking and decision making everyday. The challenges that I face everyday as an underwriter and the risks that we face is an extra bonus in itself."
7.
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?
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.

Ryan's Answer
"My current projects are all stable and green. I can transition them to another team member (or my boss) and be able to start with a two-week notice."
8.
What are your general guidelines related to applicable ratios (i.e Debt ratios, loan-to-value)
This question is a way to determine if you understand industry guidelines for these ratios. They should be almost second nature.
9.
If I were to speak with your social circle, what would your friends say about you?
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.

Ryan's Answer
"It depends on who you talk to. As far as I know I was never late for my work and always got the better of deadlines. Also, I check and double check my work before final submission which means there is always little or no chance of an error in my work."
10.
How would you compare your current job to that of an underwriter?
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.

Ryan's Answer
"My current job involves reviewing a lot of documents, analysing them for financial risks, a lot of research and time management. I believe that these skills are of equal importance for the job of an underwriter as well. In addition to all this, I have a very good understanding of the tasks an underwriter needs to perform and thus I believe that I will be a very good match for this job."
11.
Do you have strong computer skills? Which programs are you most experienced in?
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.

Ryan's Answer
"I am well versed in using SQL and SAP and have the basic knowledge of Netsuit and Microsoft Dynamics along with Excel. I am capable of analysing several complicated cases using these and also of communicating the results to the clients."
12.
Have you ever had difficulty with a supervisor?
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."
Ryan's Answer
"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."
13.
Give an example of a time when you made a mistake because you failed to actively listen to a supervisor.
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.

Ryan's Answer
"When I was a trainee I was asked to perform a simple task of collecting data of our clients and I spent two days in doing that. When I submitted my final report I realized that I had made a mistake and had collected the wrong data. The reason was that although I was paying attention there was a part which I could not listen to the instructions given by my senior clearly and since I was new, I hesitate to ask questions. He bought this to my knowledge and I admitted my mistake and apologized and collected the right information. Since that day I make sure that I listen to everything and ask questions if anything is not clear. I have learned that if you hesitate in asking questions if things are not clear you will end up making mistakes which will be even worse than the hesitation in asking questions in the first place."
14.
What motivates you as an underwriter?
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.

Ryan's Answer
"I love working as an underwriter because I feel that by doing this job I am being valuable not only for the organization that I am working for but also for the society. I get to use my analytical skills, critical thinking and decision making everyday. The challenges that I face everyday as an underwriter and the risks that we face is an extra bonus in itself."
15.
What is your greatest strength? How does it help you as an Underwriter?
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.

Ryan's Answer
"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."
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36 Underwriter Interview Questions
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Interview Questions
  1. What do you dislike the most about being an underwriter?
  2. Successful underwriters must have good judgement and common sense. Would you consider yourself to fit in those categories?
  3. Do you consider yourself to have strong research skills?
  4. Give an example where you have had to use your negotiation skills.
  5. If hired, how do you intend on making a difference with our company?
  6. What initially attracted you to the insurance industry, and what keeps you here?
  7. 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?
  8. What are your general guidelines related to applicable ratios (i.e Debt ratios, loan-to-value)
  9. If I were to speak with your social circle, what would your friends say about you?
  10. How would you compare your current job to that of an underwriter?
  11. Do you have strong computer skills? Which programs are you most experienced in?
  12. Have you ever had difficulty with a supervisor?
  13. Give an example of a time when you made a mistake because you failed to actively listen to a supervisor.
  14. What motivates you as an underwriter?
  15. What is your greatest strength? How does it help you as an Underwriter?
  16. Tell me something about yourself that is not on your resume.
  17. Are you efficient with your time?
  18. Share an experience you had in dealing with a difficult person and how you handled the situation.
  19. Tell me about your education. How has it prepared you for a career as a Underwriter?
  20. What do you know about our company?
  21. Do you consider yourself more analytical or a free thinker?
  22. Give an example where you have supported a loan that did not comply with FHA loan guidelines?
  23. Give an example where you have had to challenge loan documentation based on fraud detection processes you use.
  24. Why are you the best candidate for us?
  25. Why do you want a career as an underwriter?
  26. If not an underwriter, what other role within insurance would you like to be in?
  27. Tell me about your financial training and education.
  28. What professional goals have you set for yourself this year?
  29. Have you ever been overloaded with work? What did you do to ensure your deadlines were met?
  30. How do you keep track of work so that it gets done on time?
  31. What do you do when your time schedule or project plan is upset by unforeseen circumstances?
  32. What are the steps you follow to study a problem before making a decision?
  33. Give me a time when you went above and beyond the requirements for a project.
  34. What is the most difficult situation you have had to face and how did you tackle it?
  35. What has been your biggest disappointment as an underwriter so far?
  36. What has been your greatest accomplishment as an underwriter so far?
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