03May2012
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SOA Blog
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General
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What to look for when hiring an actuary

For hiring decision-makers new to evaluating prospective talent from the world of actuarial science, it’s important to recognize that the process is likely to be a telling indicator of a prospective actuary’s fit within your organization.

A common misconception is that an actuary is someone who predicts events or eventualities, but the actuary’s role is typically broader:

  • Assessing risks and their potential impacts on an organization
  • Providing data-driven options for decision-making
  • Developing scenarios that balance and illustrate the impact of various risk factors, opportunities and rewards.

Actuaries are expert builders of predictive models that integrate specialized information from various experts – economists, industry analysts, health care experts, etc. – to encompass the multitude of risk factors that can have an impact on the success of your organization, regardless whether it’s a life insurance company, a public pension fund or global manufacturer of aircraft.

Like all good candidates for any job, the prospective actuarial hire will do his or her homework on your organization.  And, given his or her exceptionally strong math, analytic and predictive modeling, he or she will be able to provide an excellent analysis of the quantitative aspects and potential risks associated with your organization.   Yet, how the candidate relates the analysis to the potential contributions he or she can make to your organization’s immediate and longer term challenges (and opportunities) provides strong clues to the value the candidate can bring your business teams.

No doubt you’ll start your search by screening tens, or even hundreds, of resumes looking for a few interview-worthy candidates.  At this stage, the Society of Actuaries can do quite a bit of the work for you by:

  • Pointing you to actuarial candidates with the qualifications and experience you’re looking for on the Society of Actuaries’ Employer web link.
  • Detailing the key actuarial credentials to look for.   Depending on the candidate’s career stage, these are Associate of Society of Actuaries (ASA), Chartered Enterprise Risk Analyst (CERA) and Fellow of Society of Actuaries (FSA)—for details, visit:  http://www.soa.org/education/exam-req/

During the interview process, how well does the candidate relate his or her experiences and skills to  real-world problems and solutions? In addition to spotting the risks and potential remedies, does the candidate offer insights that balance the risks with potential opportunities?   Insights and clarity in the candidate’s answers often indicate how well he or she understands the core drivers of your organization.  They also give you, as the prospective employer, a sense of the individual’s potential fit within your organization’s culture and needs.

We welcome your thoughts as a prospective employer or a potential candidate on what hiring decision-makers should be looking for when hiring an actuary.

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Discussion

One response to "What to look for when hiring an actuary"

  • Janet meziani says:

    We would like to know how to hire an actuarial to advise us of a claim of compensation against our council

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