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Sales teams in insurance companies are huge but the opportunities in their back office should not be overlooked. Since insurance involves important works on data analysis and policy making, the back office is the brain of insurance companies. Kerry Rooks, the Chief Human Resources Officer of Prudential Hong Kong Limited, says that there are plenty of opportunities in departments like actuarial, finance, administration and customer support. There is even a graduate program that is specially designed for recruiting and training young leaders.
"Many successful professionals inside the insurance business are very good sport players, management trainees in banks and engineers. They come from broad walks of life but all of them are people with a very positive aspect and they all thrive to build very successful careers." She thinks cultural fit is very important. Graduates and young applicants usually need to go through three to four rounds of interviews which are held by the human resources department, direct supervisors and line managers. In the interviews, there are assessments on aptitude, capability and reasoning skills .
"There is a big differentiation between a candidate who shows knowledge and interest of the company and one who does not."
It is even harder to get into the graduate program that provides strategic professional training. "Each program is highly specialized. Our latest graduate program focused on customer analytics and making related strategies. There were only five positions. Since there are usually a higher volume of applications for this program, there are group interviews as well, which means there are four to five rounds of interviews." Successful candidates will be assigned a mentor who will be the guide in their career and train their managerial and leadership skills.
"We do not ask meaningless questions in interviews because our purpose is not to catch you off guard but I do suggest that you should do some research online beforehand. There is a big differentiation between a candidate who shows knowledge and interest of the company and one who does not."
She also stresses that regardless of their ranks, employees should not stop learning after getting into the company. The company organizes all kinds of courses from the most basic Excel and PowerPoint classes to training programs for first-time new managers. Programs for mid-ranking colleagues usually focus on strategic mentality and business development in regions outside of Hong Kong. For those who wish to climb to the top of the ladder, the company even provides activities that simulate the life of senior executives so that they may experience and understand the required skills.