An overview of our typical application process is set out below. The exact process can vary slightly, but broadly follows the stages listed.
Stage 1 – About You & Application Form
The About You section asks for information about you including your qualifications, which will be reviewed against our minimum entry criteria. Unfortunately, if you do not meet these criteria, we will not be able to progress your application to the next stage, so please ensure you complete this accurately and carefully.
In the Application Form, we want to know more about you, your qualifications and any work experience you may have had. We also want to know why you are considering an actuarial career, your motivations and how you may deal with new situations.
If successful at this stage, you will be invited to a telephone interview with a current member of the XPS Actuarial Team.
- Give yourself plenty of time to complete the application and prepare your answers. We don’t anticipate that it should take you longer than an hour but note that you can save your application form and return to it at any time before the application deadline to complete it.
- Double check your spelling and grammar and avoid jargon or ‘text’ speak. We pride ourselves on providing a professional service to our clients – quality and attention to detail is very important to us.
- Tailor your application to us. We’re really passionate about working at XPS and want to employ people who believe in our business as much as we do.
Stage 2 – Telephone Interview
The telephone interview is an opportunity for us to get to know each other a little better and find our more about your skills and experience. The interview contains some competency questions as well as providing an opportunity for us to find out what you know about the actuarial profession, the pensions industry in general and XPS.
Telephone interviews are generally held with a member of the Actuarial Team from the office you have applied for. This gives you a really great opportunity to turn the tables on your interviewers and find out about what it’s really like to work at XPS.
- When answering competency questions, remember to personalise them and bring out what you personally did in that situation. If you talk in generic terms such as “we did this”, we won’t get to find out about you and the contribution you could make to XPS.
- Make sure you are in a quiet place to receive the call, ideally on a landline.
- Be prepared – have your application form and CV to hand so you can refer to them if necessary, and make sure you’ve thought about what you want to get out of the interview personally.
“When preparing for the phone interview I made a list of some generic questions that I thought might be asked and prepared a series of short bullet point answers to each question. I didn’t prepare full answers and rehearse them as I didn’t want to sound like I was just recalling information or having to try and remember whole answers. This approach worked for me but there are other approaches that could be taken.”
Dominic Warwick, Reading
Stage 3 – Invite to Assessment Day and Online Numerical Test
If you are successful at Telephone Interview stage, we will invite you to attend our Assessment Day. At this point, we may also invite you to take an Online Numerical Test. The results of this test will be used alongside the results of your performance at the Assessment Day. Your invitation to the Assessment Day is not contingent on your test performance.
We use online numerical testing to measure your numerical potential and ability to work with data, rather than checking your learned mathematical knowledge. Your degree or A Level results will give an indication of your ability in this but won’t necessarily reflect how well you could perform in a new situation within the workplace.
- Try some sample tests, even if you have taken them before. This will help you to get used to the format of the test, the types of questions you may be asked and the amount of time you will have to complete the test. Remember to take your time over the practice tests provided.
- There are also books available, which will have practical examples and answers, so you can see what you need to learn before sitting the real thing.
- Make sure you’re relaxed and prepared before you start. Make sure you give yourself time and quiet space to complete the test. Don’t try to do it on your mobile on the bus home!
Stage 4 – Assessment Day
XPS’s Assessment Day is a great opportunity to meet our current staff, some of whom will include successful candidates, now working in the XPS Actuarial Team who went through this process in previous years.
Our Assessment Day will last a whole day and there will be a drinks reception and dinner afterwards. You must be able to attend the whole event and XPS will provide accommodation and cover all reasonable travel expenses where required. A full guide to the Assessment Day will be provided when you are invited to attend.
You will take part in various activities that are designed to allow you to demonstrate to us your full range of skills and competencies. It will include a range of individual, small group and larger group tasks, and will likely include a presentation, data analysis and numerical reasoning exercises.
The Assessment Day is very much a two-way process. It is an opportunity for us to find out even more about you but also for you to decide if we are the right company for you.
- Research current issues related to the pensions industry in general before you attend – there is information on our website and other professional sites to help you.
- Remember that help and guidance is available from your University Careers Team, your University peers or the XPS Graduate Recruitment Team – although we won’t be able to divulge exact details of the exercises prior to the day!
- Whilst an Assessment Day can be daunting, remember to be yourself on the day and have fun!
“The assessment centre was certainly unlike any I had been to before. Activities were a lot more group focused and at certain points it felt like it was more a team building day as opposed to an assessment centre! It wasn’t as formal as other centres which allowed you to be yourself. It was definitely a lot friendlier than other centres I had been to, allowing you to socialise with office staff over dinner (and the dreaded Jenga games that followed). I got a good feel for the company and office culture during my time there.”
Josh Heenan, Leeds