On March 23rd, 2016, Michael Sobel from Travelers came to talk to SHRM@QU about the company, opportunities, personal branding, and tips for interviewing. Michael is in the Travelers HR Leadership Development Program (HRLDP). Travelers has 30,000 employees and is the second largest writer of commercial US property causality insurance. They have multiple opportunities for students and recent graduates including internships and their full-time HRLDP.
Michael shared some tips for interviewing, including how to prepare before the interview, during the interview, and after the interview. He discussed the two types of interview questions at Travelers: traditional questions that assist the employer in getting a general understanding of who you are and behavioral questions that assist the employer in making predictions about a potential employee’s future success based off of their past behaviors.
When preparing for an interview, it is important to research the interviewer, the company mission and purpose, possible interview questions you may be asked, and questions you would like to ask. Practice is also important, but it is also necessary to be personal rather than scripted. He also gave pointers for the actual interview, such as bringing several copies of your resume, bring note-taking material and becoming familiar with the interview location.
Michael also discussed the STAR behavioral interview method: Situation, Task, Action, and Results.
- Situation: Describe the situation that you were in or the task that you needed to accomplish. You must describe a specific event or situation, not a generalized description of what you have done in the past. Be sure to give enough detail for the interviewer to understand. This situation can be from a previous job, from a volunteer experience, or any relevant event.
- Task: What goal were you working toward?
- Action: Describe the actions you took to address the situation with an appropriate amount of detail and keep the focus on YOU. What specific steps did you take and what was your particular contribution? Be careful that you don’t describe what the team or group did when talking about a project, but what you actually did. Use the word “I,” not “we” when describing actions.
- Result: Describe the outcome of your actions and don’t be shy about taking credit for your behavior. What happened? How did the event end? What did you accomplish? What did you learn? Make sure your answer contains multiple positive results.
Michael closed the session by illustrating how personal branding is a critical component of the job search and provided ways to for us to establish ourselves and attract a potential employer.
Michael Sobel definitely provided some excellent information to benefit SHRM@QU members. Members learned tips about how to brand themselves and how to successfully interview. He also provided insight about how to apply for opportunities at Travelers.