Interview questions at Swiss Re

We analyzed 332 interview reviews for Swiss Re from various job sites, social network groups and forums.

Here are the most frequent job interview questions asked by HR managers during initial phone or onsite interviews. This list does not include technical or factual questions.

16 frequent non-technical questions at Swiss Re:

What is your greatest weakness?
Walk me through your resume
Tell me about yourself
Tell me about a time you had a conflict at work. How did you handle it? What have you learned?
Tell me about a time when you've resolved a problem for a frustrated customer
Describe the most exciting project or team you ever worked on
Why did you leave your last job?
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
What would your previous coworkers or clients tell me about you?
What negative thing would your last boss say about you?
What makes you unique?
What are your strengths? Give an example
What are your long-term goals?
What are your drivers? What motivates you?
Tell me about your greatest professional accomplishment
Tell me about a time when you had to work with a difficult or disruptive person. It may be a client, manager, or coworker. How did you handle the situation? What was the outcome?

According to our research, hiring managers at Swiss Re ask soft skills interview questions 3% less than at other companies:

Swiss Re interview question statistics

1. What is your greatest weakness?top question

How to answer

This question ranks as the most challenging for many people. Fortunately, Mr. Simon is here to help!

Interviewers ask this question to gauge your level of self-awareness, your honesty and openness, and your capability for self-improvement.

  1. About Yourself

    No one is perfect and your interviewer doesn't expect you to be perfect either.

    While it is good to be honest and open, it will not help you to put yourself down.

    What's important is to find a weakness that you have overcome or something that is not related to the position for which you are applying.

    For example, one of our clients admitted that he is not very good at public speaking and that he has recently become a member of Toastmasters International to improve. What a respectful answer and approach, in my view!

  2. About The Company

    Research the company (website, social media, etc) to learn about the company culture.

    What personal and professional qualities do they value?

  3. About The Fit

    It is important that the weakness you decide to talk about is not one that will prevent you from performing the job for which you're applying.

    For example, if you're applying for a front-end developer position, do not talk about how you are struggling to understand HTML code.

Pro Tip

Use this question to sell yourself!

It's important to show how well you've overcome a weakness by motivating yourself and learning a new skill to grow professionally.

Statistics

This question is asked 2.3x more frequently at Swiss Re than at other companies.

Take a quiz

Take a quick quiz and check if you’re ready to answer this question at your next job interview:

Which of the following would be the best answer:

ASometimes I just work too hard

BI have trouble saying “no” when a colleague asks for help and I have my own work to finish

CI am a perfectionist

DI cannot think of a single thing

2. Walk me through your resume

How to answer

This question is often asked at the beginning of the interview.

The interviewer wants to hear a brief overview, a summary of your professional experience, in order to have a starting point from which they can dig deeper.

Structuring your answer wisely gives you a good chance to emphasize your Key Selling Points and to channel the conversation in the direction you want.

  1. About Yourself

    Print out your resume. For each of your recent job experiences (at this point do not go back more than 5 years), write down 3-5 key points at which you feel you are strong.

    For example, for your current (or previous) job, you may want to list skills like “Excellent presentation skills,” “Employee Engagement guru,” “Analytical skills,” “Attention to detail” (they don’t have to be all soft skills, but being aware of at least a few of your strong soft skills is important). Make sure you have examples for each of your statements.

    If you have difficulties to think of these points, search online for job descriptions for similar job roles, and figure out which of those keywords appeal to you. Look for people on LinkedIn that have jobs similar to the one you are applying for. Their profiles often contain many keywords that you can use in response to this question.

    Now that you’ve gone through all your recent experiences, are there any points that repeat more often than others, or are especially important to you? These are candidates to be your Key Selling Points -highlight 3-5 of them.

  2. About The Company

    Research the company and the role for which you're being interviewed. When researching the company, find out what skills and qualities they value the most. Carefully consider the job requirements. What is it that you will be responsible for?

    Now, write down 3-5 keywords from the job description that you find of utmost importance for this job role.

  3. About The Fit

    Try to establish the match between your own highlighted keywords, and those of the job description. These are your Key Selling Points! You should normally limit yourself by 3-5 such keywords or phrases.

    Now, craft a story based on your career history. You don’t have to go in chronological order - you can start with your current or last job experience, and then go back to your previous ones, or focus on just the experiences that are relevant to your story, and only briefly mention the less relevant ones and only if needed.

    Select one point to highlight for each phase of your career. Make sure you ingrain your Key Selling Points in the interviewer’s memory - after the interview is over, you want them to remember you as someone who is strong at XYZ, or experienced in A, B and C.

    It's okay to focus more on stellar achievements and brag a little bit about them.

Pro Tip

Don't bore the interviewer by going through your resume line-by-line.

Instead, WOW them by succinctly (keep it within 2 minutes) telling a story of how your career path has brought you to this point and how you are the best candidate for this role.

Super tip: The more you practice with Mr. Simon, the better you'll be at telling WOW-worthy succinct stories!

Statistics

This question is asked 8.4x more frequently at Swiss Re than at other companies.

3. Tell me about yourself

How to answer

This question may sound vague, but it actually requires a matter of fact, concise and relevant answer. Here’s how you can approach it.

  1. About Yourself

    What is your current occupation? Define yourself professionally in one statement.

    Pick 3 key skills that make you great at your work (your Key Selling Points). How have you applied these skills?

    Try to give some numbers to support your statement.

  2. About The Company

    Research the company.

    Based on what you know about the company and the job description, why are you interested in the position you are applying for?

  3. About The Fit

    • Based on your Key Selling Points and your knowledge about the company, why do you think you are a good fit for this position?
    • Can you support your statement with relevant examples from your past experiences?

    Try to be concise and stay within 1-2 minutes.

Pro Tip

You can also end with a question like:

Do you know what the current needs in the company/department are, where my skills and experience can help?"

That can help you learn more about the company and the job, turn the "interrogation" into a conversation and will allow you to relax some tension.

Read our blog post to learn more about how to answer this question.

Statistics

This question is asked 25% less frequently at Swiss Re than at other companies.

Take a quiz

Take a quick quiz and check if you’re ready to answer this question at your next job interview:

Pick the best answer:

AMy name is Andrew Franklin, I am 28 years old, and I am looking for a job that pays well.

BHello, my name is Natalie Price. I have two children and I love playing billiards and travelling. I am 33 years old.

CHi Mr. Simon, my name is Stanley Clark and I am a certified Project Management professional known for completing projects on time and on budget. I am passionate about building agile work culture and delivering results.

DHi Mr. Simon, my name is Dorothy Hanson. I have previously worked as an accountant in retail, but currently I am trying to transition into the field of healthcare.

4. Tell me about a time you had a conflict at work. How did you handle it? What have you learned?

How to answer

Wherever you go, you will always have to work with people. This means that there is a greater chance for conflict to happen. This question helps the interviewer determine how well you would fit within the organization.

  1. About Yourself

    Think of the times you had to deal with conflict.

    • What were the different ways you were able to address the situation?
    • If you were the cause of the conflict, how did the other person talk you down from the conflict?
    • What were the key lessons you learned through your experience?
  2. About The Company

    Research the company and its culture.

    • What do they value?
    • Is there anything that you can find about how they deal with conflict resolution?

    Reading comments to their social media posts often prove helpful to see how they react to customers' complaints.

  3. About The Fit

    • What have you found out about the company’s culture and job description?
    • Are they looking for someone who can take charge and resolve conflict?

    Tell a story of how you addressed conflict and how it turned a negative into a positive. Try to conclude with your lessons learned or methodology for approaching conflicts - this will show the interviewer that you would be able to apply your methodology to future situations.

    Use the STAR method to frame your story.

Pro Tip

A key to addressing conflict is listening, communication and emotional intelligence. Highlight these skills.

If you're able to, turn the question around and ask the interviewer if they have experienced the same thing. This will start a conversation, which is the goal of an interview.

Statistics

This question is asked 3.4x more frequently at Swiss Re than at other companies.

5. Tell me about a time when you've resolved a problem for a frustrated customer

How to answer

Customers are the lifeblood of any business. How you handle a disgruntled customer can make the difference between closing a sale and failing to do so. It takes good people skills to handle such situations, and this question is a good opportunity to demonstrate your people skills.

  1. About Yourself

    Think of a time when, as a customer, you had a problem with a company.

    • How did you feel?
    • How did you want to be treated?
    • How would the situation ideally be resolved?
    • If it were you on the serving side of the table, what would you do differently? Have you had such experiences in the past where you helped a frustrated customer?
    • What was the critical factor in a successful resolution of the situation?

    Try to define your principles or approach.

    For example, I know that people tend to be frustrated when they feel neglected and unimportant.

    Whenever possible, I try to meet in person and establish face-to-face contact with someone who feels disgruntled, so that I can fully focus on the situation. (And believe me, checking your phone while speaking with such a customer is definitely NOT a good idea).

    Of course, this may not always be possible in your line of business or profession, but I guess you see what I mean - showing full attention greatly improves your chances of mitigating the situation.

  2. About The Company

    Every company relies on customers.

    Research the company you are applying to and try to find out what their standards of customer relationship or service are, as well as try to find out some real cases where the customers complained about the company, and what the company did to mitigate the situations (a possible source might be Yelp! or another social media platform).

    Based on your research, how does the company treat customers? How do they resolve customer issues?

  3. About The Fit

    How can you make things better and WOW the customer? Give an example that demonstrates that your approach to resolving customer frustrations is in line with the company policies.

Pro Tip

A disgruntled customer generally just needs someone to listen to them.

The three A’s of customer service can help diffuse the difficult situation:

  1. Acknowledge - what the other person is feeling,
  2. Apologize - for the way the other person is feeling,
  3. Admit - that there was an issue that you are working on to get it resolved.

Add the extra “A” - Ask for the customer's contact information so you can update them on any progress on their issue.

Statistics

This question is asked 36% more frequently at Swiss Re than at other companies.

Take a quiz

Take a quick quiz and check if you’re ready to answer this question at your next job interview:

Customers are often frustrated by what they perceive as poor service especially when they are on the phone. Which one of the following answers do you consider to be good customer service?

APlacing the customer on hold for too long

BPaying close attention to the customer’s complaint in an attempt to solve their problem

CAsking the customer to repeat their complaint many times

DFailing to empathize with their problem

EDirecting the customer to your website instead of resolving the issue yourself

6. Describe the most exciting project or team you ever worked on

How to answer

When hiring managers ask you about your past projects that you were excited about, or about the most exciting team you ever worked with, they want to know specifics about your personality, interests, dedication to work and approaches to reaching goals.

With this question, the interviewer gauges what you value at work and whether you have the right mindset for a project-oriented work style and, in the case of teamwork, how you work with others, so they can envision how you’ll work within their team.

Pay particular attention that THIS question is not about how important it was for the company, it is about how interesting and exciting it was for YOU!

  1. About Yourself

    Think of a time when you worked with special pleasure as a team player and helped to achieve a team goal.

    • What did you do? What made it interesting for you?
    • What emotions did you have working on it?
    • How did it help you on a personal level?
    • Who did you participate with? Were you satisfied with your team?
    • What did you learn from the experience?

  2. About The Company

    Based on your research of the company, what kinds of projects can you expect here?

    • What do you know about the goals they are trying to achieve?
    • What do you know about their current challenges?
    • What do they value in their employees?

    Review the job description as it may give you clues to whether the job focuses on teams, independence or both.

  3. About The Fit

    If possible, choose a project that will be relevant to the job you are applying for.

    Show your Key Selling Points to the interviewer – the best qualities which help you to stay positive and passionate about what you like doing, prove that the process of thinking, researching, communication and creativity at work satisfies you.

    Here is an example of an answer to the question from an Indian engineer, which combines both an exciting team and an exciting project:

    It was a research project which involved people from different backgrounds. The long-term aim of it was to evaluate and then test some completely new types of aircraft structures and concepts. I think it helped me develop on a professional level more than on a personal level, although I did get a lot of opportunities to interact with people from other countries and practice my English a lot. The team was great! It was particularly challenging and remarkably interesting for me. It is the first international research project I have been involved in, so it was quite exciting as well. Overall, I think I learned a lot more about collaboration, as well as gaining some useful experience in negotiating and discussing in English.”

Pro Tip

Be specific and enthusiastic telling your story.

It is your own positive experience that encouraged you to become what you are. Use it for your advantage to gain the interviewer’s interest in you.

Statistics

This question is asked 11.0x more frequently at Swiss Re than at other companies.

7. Why did you leave your last job?

How to answer

This question may be a little touchy for some people, but it's a question asked by interviewers, to find out why you left, in order to better understand how you may or may not make a good fit with their company.

Remember, never speak ill of your old company (this will not go over well).

  1. About Yourself

    Most likely, there are three possible reasons you left or are leaving your last job:

    • You are looking for a career change
    • You are unhappy with your current employment
    • You were let go.

    Whatever the reason, it's best to always speak in a positive light.

  2. About The Company

    Based on your research about the company and the position, what do you like most about the company?

  3. About The Fit

    If you are looking for career advancement or a career change, you can be very upfront and honest. Be as enthusiastic as you can about the position.

    If you were unhappy with your previous job, focus on the positives. Talk about the ways that you will best fit in with the company, in the role for which you're applying.

    If you were let go, focus on the positive. Share your accomplishments at your previous employment.

Pro Tip

Whatever the reason you are looking for a new opportunity, always turn things around to show how you are the perfect fit for the job for which you are interviewing!

Statistics

This question is asked 20% less frequently at Swiss Re than at other companies.

8. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

How to answer

This question belongs to a family of behavioral, or even more precisely, reflective questions.

The interviewer wants to see whether you are reflective about yourself, whether you are ambitious and strive to grow as a professional, whether you like to learn and develop your skills.

They are also looking for your ambitions to fit the career path opportunities related to the position you are applying for.

  1. About Yourself

    Presumably, you are interested to grow professionally.

    Think about the possibilities that may lie ahead for you: take a personality test (I recommend 16Personalities which is based on Myers-Briggs test), research the internet on what career paths are possible with your skills and current job.

    What challenges do you like overcoming?

    For example, if you are applying for a software tester position, you may find it fascinating to master automated testing in full and eventually become a software engineer, or you may be a natural trainer and love coaching other people which may lead you to become a QA team or department lead, or you may be more interested in understanding business aspects of requirements which may logically lead you into a Business Analyst position.

    However, if you are happy just where you are and want to further your current skills, that is also fine as long as there is a growth path for you that can be imagined and described.

  2. About The Company

    Research the company to learn what career opportunities may be available in the department you are applying to, and what the trends are in the company in general.

    • Is the business expanding, are they opening new locations, or starting new projects?
    • Or are they heavily automating and cutting staff?

    Let’s say you are applying for a UX designer position for a brand-new product.

    In the future, if the product becomes a success - which is what the company hopes for - the company will hire more designers and you may become a lead designer, or you may become a product manager.

    On a side note: If you train your mind to be open to opportunities you will be amazed at how much this world has to offer to you!

  3. About The Fit

    And, of course, try to see where the perfect fit lies between your own potential and aspirations, and the company’s trends and hopes.

    However, beware of the risk of showing too much excitement for future opportunities compared to your attitude towards the current position.

    If you aren’t really excited about the position you are applying for and you demonstrate this lack of enthusiasm, the interviewer may conclude that you are not a good fit for the current position.

    Try to find a source of excitement in the current position as well, otherwise, you may be doing yourself a disservice by applying to a position you will find boring in 2-3 months.

Pro Tip

This question gives you a good opportunity to showcase your Key Selling Points (e.g. “As I am very good at delegating tasks, I can easily see myself leading a team of software testers in the future…”), and end your statement by asking about current initiatives and goals at the company.

It is generally NOT a good idea to say something like:

“Oh, I cannot imagine what happens to me tomorrow, let alone in 5 years”.

This will show you as a person who is unimaginative and not forward-thinking enough to grow with and be a good fit for the company.

Statistics

This question is asked 69% less frequently at Swiss Re than at other companies.

9. What would your previous coworkers or clients tell me about you?

How to answer

This question is another way of saying, “Tell me about yourself” but from another person’s point of view.

Most prospective employers ask this interview question to compare your self-assessment to how your references might describe you and to assess your soft skills to determine how well you’d fit into their group dynamic and company culture.

  1. About Yourself

    Spend some time reflecting on how others perceive you so that you can speak smoothly without overinflating or undervaluing yourself.

    Recall conversations with coworkers or managers in which you received acknowledgment or feedback.

    It is an opportunity for you to share your best traits (your Key Selling Points).

    • Would your coworkers and clients say that you are dependable, trustworthy, flexible, honest?
    • Do you always show up to meetings on time and promptly reply to emails?
    • Would your coworkers say you are punctual and responsive?

    If you frequently lend a hand when co-workers or customers struggle, your colleagues, clients and managers would highly likely say that you are helpful.

  2. About The Company

    Research the company to learn what the employer or interviewer values.

    Compare their values with your qualities that you think would be a good fit and carefully read the job description.

    The employer's job posting is a great guide for what employers want to see in candidates.

  3. About The Fit

    Use the question as an opportunity to emphasize your strengths.

    It’s important to highlight how well you communicate and how well your personality and work style will match the company and team culture.

    Using the STAR method, describe a successful team project from your previous job mentioning how well you interacted with your colleagues.

    For example:

    My past coworkers have told me that I am highly organized and quite good at time management. During one specific project, my team members gave me praise for developing and sticking to a timeline for all the different aspects of the project. We ended up successfully completing the project ahead of time, and it went really well! I’d love to have a similar relationship with my team members in this position.

    If by chance you didn’t get along well with your coworkers at your last job or your coworkers would be likely to note that you didn’t fit in, it could mean that the company culture wasn’t a good fit for you.

    Make sure that if the job you are interviewing for has a similar company culture, or you may not be deemed a good fit for that either.

Pro Tip

A potential hiring manager may check your references, so it’s important to be honest and consistent with the feedback you give the interviewer, and the feedback the former manager or colleagues will give to you.

Statistics

This question is asked 8.3x more frequently at Swiss Re than at other companies.

10. What negative thing would your last boss say about you?

How to answer

This question is another way of asking “What is your greatest weakness?".

Interviewers ask this question to gauge your level of self-awareness, your honesty and openness, and your capacity for self-improvement.

Understandably, people might be intimidated by this question; it's because the question refers to your shortcomings. Fortunately, Mr. Simon is here to help!

You can be fairly sure that the interviewer will ask this question sometime during the interview. Just as with your STAR stories, you should have a “weakness” story ready to relate, so be prepared.

  1. About Yourself

    While it is good to be honest and open, it will not help you to put yourself down. What's important is to focus on a weakness or shortcoming that you have overcome.

    Be certain not to mention something that is vital to (or related to) the position for which you are applying.

    Think of something that may have been noted by a past supervisor that was, perhaps, mentioned in your performance reviews as a developmental area.

  2. About The Company

    Research the company (website, social media, etc.) to learn about the company’s culture. What personal and professional qualities do they value?

    Carefully check the job description to avoid speaking about any past weaknesses that may touch upon key areas of responsibility for the position that you are applying for.

  3. About The Fit

    Despite what may seem to be a negative question, you can actually turn this into a positive one! You do this by stating a negative trait or a weakness, unrelated to the position you are applying for, and explain how you have either already overcome it or are working to improve it.

    Be careful with your choices, if you mention any weaknesses that are needed to be successful in the position you are interviewing for, you probably won’t get hired!

    For example, if you're applying for a front-end developer position, do not talk about how you are taking classes to improve your HTML coding skills. Even if you think you are succeeding in your studies, this will look to the hiring manager to be a shortcoming on your part.

Pro Tip

Use this question to sell yourself! Show how well you've overcome a weakness by motivating yourself and even learning a new skill to grow professionally.

Statistics

This question is asked 6.6x more frequently at Swiss Re than at other companies.

11. What makes you unique?

How to answer

Essentially, this question really means "What makes you an exceptionally good candidate?"

Interviewers ask this kind of question to understand what specific skills or qualities help you to stand out from the other candidates. They want to see the evidence of strengths and soft skills you might not have included in your resume or application, but that will help you do well on the job.

It's a chance to provide the interviewer with insight into how you'd be the best candidate for a role, proving you're someone who can think on your feet.

  1. About Yourself

    Remember, unique does not mean “quirky” or “odd.” It means the skills, personality traits and other attributes you have developed over the years that make you “YOU.”

    Think about your creative skills. Maybe you combine both logical and emotional aspects at work to solve problems? Show that you are not afraid to take risks and try something new.

    It’s time for you to remember your best qualities and share the examples from your background, which highlight what you like about yourself as well as your level of confidence.

  2. About The Company

    Research the company and review the skills listed in the job description to see how well your unique attributes relate to the job requirements.

    The more you know about the organizational goals of the employer, the better equipped you’ll be to connect your unique attributes to the job. It can be helpful to think of what’s special about you and how those characteristics will enable you to make a strong contribution to the organization.

  3. About The Fit

    Prove that you're a good fit for the job and that you are compatible with the organization’s culture. Always keep it relevant to the position you are applying for.

    For example, for a management job, you might want to demonstrate communication skills, strong leadership or a willingness to take risks.

    For a job in finance, you might focus on your discretion or your meticulous attention to detail.

    If you previously worked at a small startup and now you want to transfer to a large corporation, it's important for you to mention how the experiences gained at that company have prepared you to take on the tasks at the new company and have given you a “leg up” over other candidates.

Pro Tip

While it's important to share an example or two of what makes you unique, be sure to keep it brief. You don’t want the interviewer to think your unique quality is “talking too much.”

Mention that you always try to find the creative approach to non-standard situations.

Providing strong examples shows the interviewer that you're results-driven. Never use generic phrases like “I’m a hard worker” or “I’m a perfectionist” to answer their questions.

Statistics

This question is asked 6.5x more frequently at Swiss Re than at other companies.

12. What are your strengths? Give an example

How to answer

Many people think they know their personal strengths and consider this question simple. However, to impress your interviewer you must be ready to turn your response into a meaningful and insightful answer.

It’s an open invitation to talk about your Key Selling Points, your accomplishments and to show how you match the employer’s values and requirements.

You must be ready to stand out and demonstrate your unique value as a candidate.

  1. About Yourself

    Reflect on your best professional qualities. What are they? Are you dependable, flexible, friendly, hardworking, a strong leader, formal, punctual, good team player?

    Pick at least three personal strengths that will help you at your new workplace, and make sure you can give specific examples to demonstrate why you say these are your strengths.

    If no key strengths spring to mind, ask your friends or colleagues what they think your greatest strengths are. What examples can demonstrate your success due to these qualities?

  2. About The Company

    Make sure to research the company and read the job description thoroughly in order to identify the key strengths required for the role.

  3. About The Fit

    Recruiters and hiring managers want to know how your strength relates to the job you’re applying for.

    Match the skills required by the position with your list of strengths. Choose up to 5 top skills. These are your Key Selling Points! Prove your point by providing examples.

    Craft your stories using the STAR method.

Pro Tip

Tip 1: Aim to strike a balance between over-confidence and underselling yourself. If you list too many strengths, you risk sounding arrogant. Listing too few implies a lack of confidence or even a lack of skills.

Tip 2: One of the most in-demand skills nowadays is being adaptive. In order to emphasize your adaptiveness, try to think of an example when you had to quickly learn something new, or quickly become a team member with a completely new group of people, or started contributing quickly in a new environment or project.

Statistics

This question is asked 3.0x more frequently at Swiss Re than at other companies.

13. What are your long-term goals?

How to answer

Even in this age of the so-called Gig Economy, employers are always looking for people who can become their strong and loyal “soldiers,” a part of their “army” to help them conquer their market share against their competitors.

So, even if at this moment this job may be a temporary contract, you never know what opportunities may present themselves to you in this company.

Trust me, your hiring manager doesn’t know either!

So, be open to opportunities and use this question to emphasize how your personal goals correspond with those of the company.

  1. About Yourself

    Start with honestly assessing yourself. (At this moment, you are not sharing these thoughts with anyone, so be as open as you can).

    Imagine that you have all the resources in the world and that all roads are open for you.

    • How would you use them?
    • Which road(s) would you choose?
    • What do you see on the horizon in that direction?

    Be audacious and don’t limit yourself. There is no longer a perspective than “long-term,” so be as futuristic as you possibly can.

    List a few “road” options that you would be enthusiastic about going down.

    For example, this list may be as broad as the following:

    • writer
    • choir director
    • software engineer and architect
    • CEO of a unicorn startup company,
    • entrepreneur.

    As William Shakespeare once said, “We know what we are, but we know not what we may be.”

  2. About The Company

    Now, look at the company.

    • What is the industry they operate in?
    • What is the position you are applying for, and what are potential career growth possibilities within the department, company, and industry?
  3. About The Fit

    Which of your “road” options correspond best with the opportunities presented by this company?

    Highlight this option and focus on it. Imagine, in as much detail as you can, going down this road.

    What would be the major milestones for you, in order to move towards your goal?

    Describe the chosen option by focusing on the first 1-2 milestones, and by presenting it in light of company goals and current initiatives.

    For example, if you are applying for a project manager position in a corporation engaged in the education industry, and your “road” option is “CEO,” your next career step may be a program manager, or an innovations and research manager.

    Explain why you are enthusiastic about reaching these goals, and what makes you think you have the necessary traits and skills to reach them.

    How can the company benefit from these traits and skills of yours already today, in the current role you are applying for?

Pro Tip

Framing your answer in the same terms used by the company will help ensure the interviewer can easily understand your language and help both of you to be “on the same page.”

The easier you make it for the interviewer, the better are your chances they will “vote” for you over other candidates.

Statistics

This question is asked 33% more frequently at Swiss Re than at other companies.

14. What are your drivers? What motivates you?

How to answer

Motivation is what we use to drive ourselves forward to complete tasks and bring results.

Why do hiring managers ask this question?

They want to get a sense of your personality. But more importantly, they want to see your resiliency and determination.

They do not want to hire someone who will quit when encountering difficulties, whose focus will be elsewhere, or who will just waste their time.

Enthusiasm ranks very high on the list of qualities employers are looking for in a candidate.

If you can demonstrate that you are genuinely passionate about your profession and interested in the position you are applying for, your chances of getting hired will improve significantly.

  1. About Yourself

    This question requires serious self-examination; you should be asking it yourself long before the interviewer does.

    Look back on everything you’ve done in your life, job, and career so far.

    • What was it about your best days that made them the best?
    • Can you take those feelings and apply them to specific moments from your life and past work experiences?
    • Are you ready for tough projects or for being asked to do something that isn’t quite on your job description, or for having to stay at work till late instead of another team member?
    • Will meeting deadlines, learning new things, finding a way to solve problems or overcoming a challenge inspire you and make you want even more?
    • What gives you a sense of accomplishment when you can look back on and say "I achieved that"?

    Look deep inside.

    Analyze your experience by types of tasks, by type of environment, type of feedback, level of responsibility and stakes? Do you prefer independence, or being part of a team?

    1. Task type: if you were given a whole day or even week at work to focus on just one of your tasks, without interruptions or multitasking, which one would that be? Why?
    2. Environment: do you feel motivated in a dynamic environment with lots of action, communications, deadlines? Or would you rather disconnect from the outside world and immerse into a single task, with your headphones on?
    3. Feedback: are you better motivated by positive feedback, or by healthy criticism? Or maybe by customers’ smiles and “Thank you” messages?
    4. Responsibility and stakes: are you motivated to do your best when you know that the stakes are high and your contribution will make a great impact on the bottom line? Or do you feel better in a more safe and relaxed environment when someone else is responsible for making big decisions?
    5. Financials: what is the salary range that makes you feel comfortable and respect yourself? Let’s be realistic, this is one (although definitely shouldn’t be the first) of the drivers.

    Be creative, this list is not exhaustive.

  2. About The Company

    Take a long look at the job you’re applying for.

    • What kinds of tasks will you be responsible for?
    • What will the environment be?
    • What do you know about the possible kinds of feedback you will be receiving?
    • What is the level of stakes in this role?
    • What do you know about the salary they can possibly offer?
  3. About The Fit

    How comfortable are you with the drivers the company can offer, comparing to those of your own? Pick those that have a match and give some examples.

    For instance, if you’re applying for a software engineer job, describe how you are motivated by solving complex technical challenges.

    If the job involves teamwork, give an example showing that you love collaborating and accomplishing big things as a part of a team.

    That is what drives you to do your best each day. You can say you enjoy meaningful work creating products that change people’s lives, if this is relevant to the company.

Pro Tip

Be enthusiastic. The more enthusiasm you have for what motivates you, the more enthusiasm the interviewer will have for you!

Statistics

This question is asked 3.2x more frequently at Swiss Re than at other companies.

15. Tell me about your greatest professional accomplishment

How to answer

Of all your accomplishments (and I am sure you’ve had a great many of them!), you should choose the one most relevant to this job position.

  1. About Yourself

    Write down your Key Selling Points - your top 3-5 skills that make you a strong professional.

    Write down a list of your top 3-5 professional accomplishments that you are most proud of. No need for lengthy descriptions, just 1-2 words for each one to help you recall each situation.

    Make sure you have developed the story behind each accomplishment and have a strong command of the details of what happened so that you can tell the story clearly and distinctly.

    Along with each accomplishment, mark which of your Key Selling Points they showcase. How exactly?

  2. About The Company

    Based on your research of the company, what are their current needs?

    • What are the major projects going on?
    • What are the expectations for the position you are applying for?
  3. About The Fit

    Try to imagine yourself being an employee of the company you are applying to, say, at your 6th month into the job.

    • Which of your Key Selling Points and accomplishments would be most relevant to the company?
    • What “have you accomplished at your new job?”

    Choose the most relevant accomplishment from your list and then practice telling your story.

Pro Tip

Most enterprises are now going through major transformations, often called Digital Transformation.

Do your research on what it means and what is often involved, to get a better idea of the current goals and environments in companies. But one thing that definitely characterizes this transformation is striving for agility.

In particular, for startups (if you are applying to a startup or a small business), agility is their middle name, in order for them to survive among bigger sharks in the market.

So, demonstrating qualities like agility and adaptability should generally be helpful and quite a safe choice in most circumstances today.

Statistics

This question is asked 6% more frequently at Swiss Re than at other companies.

Take a quiz

Take a quick quiz and check if you’re ready to answer this question at your next job interview:

Why do interviewers ask this question?

AThey want to know why you think the accomplishment you chose is your greatest, to give them an idea of what you think is important

BThey want to hear a specific example of your work to see if your problem solving skills fit in with the issues and problems their company might be experiencing

CThey want to know if you are a great multitasker who can get 10 different things done by the end of the day, no matter how long you have to stay at work to complete it all

16. Tell me about a time when you had to work with a difficult or disruptive person. It may be a client, manager, or coworker. How did you handle the situation? What was the outcome?

How to answer

People skills are highly valued in a company. It is important to show how you can manage difficult personalities, especially if you are applying for a job that involves teamwork, or a lot of interactions with clients.

  1. About Yourself

    Look back on your experience. Have you worked with a difficult or disruptive person? Remember a few such situations and how you diffused them and turned things around. What are your approaches to resolving conflicting situations at work?

  2. About The Company

    • What have you found about the company and its culture?
    • What have you learned about how the employees value each other?
    • How do they treat their customers?
    • Do they have any specific standards and policies?
  3. About The Fit

    Using what you found about the company, choose one of your examples that fits best with the company standards and share your story.

    If it's a customer, how did you turn things around and made a customer happy?
    If it's a coworker, how did you diffuse a tense or difficult situation?

Pro Tip

Use the triple A of diffusing a difficult situation:

  1. Acknowledge - what the other person is feeling,
  2. Apologize - for the way the other person is feeling,
  3. Admit - that there was an issue that you are working on to get it resolved.

If it is a customer, it would add that extra touch if you "Ask" for the customer's contact information so you can update them of any progress on their issue.

Statistics

This question is asked 57% more frequently at Swiss Re than at other companies.

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This page has been updated on August 12, 2020.

You can practice answering this question, as well as over 160 other common job interview questions from Swiss Re by engaging in a mock interview with Mr. Simon. As an artificial being, his undeniable benefits include:

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