Why do you want to work at State Farm?
Try to praise them for something. Maybe the fact that they are the biggest insurance provider in the United States, or that they have an excellent reputation, and, in contrary to many of their competitors, they have never been involved in any big money laundering scandal or similar endeavor. Just some small missteps, but nothing huge.
Many people work for State Farm, and you for sure know at least someone (perhaps a distant connection you have on Facebook). You can say that they praised the working environment in the company, the employee benefits, or anything else. Basically they told you something that motivated you to apply.
One way or another, try to convince the hiring managers that they are your first choice, and that you did not apply with 20 other companies at the same time.
Why sales agent (customer service representative, underwriter, any other position)?
Try to connect your skills, abilities, and experience with your job choice. If you apply for a sales agent job, you can say that you excel in convincing people, that your sales skills stand out, that you believe to have all it takes to be a successful insurance agent, and generate nice sales volume for the company each month.
You can also say that you like the job description and, considering everything you’ve done up to this point in your professional career, it seems like a perfect choice. You can also mention a job you want to have in five years time, some logical progression in your career with State Farm (perhaps their CFO or CTO, if you are ambitious :)).
It is important to speak with enthusiasm. They shouldn’t get a feeling that you apply only because you can’t find any other, better paid job.
What do you consider your greatest professional achievement?
Try to pick something that relates to the job you try to get with State Farm. Applying for an Insurance Agent job, you should talk about a successful sales experience, or some great results you achieved in one of your previous jobs, while selling something to someone.
As a customer service worker, you can talk about improving the level of customer satisfaction in your last job, or the rate of customer retention, or something similar that your former employer tracked.
And if this is your first job application, and you have not achieved anything great yet, you can say that you are still waiting for some really big achievements. You are motivated to achieve something big, and your job at State Farm is definitely an opportunity to do so. Alternatively you can point out some achievement from school (perhaps the fact that you graduated, though you struggled with studies).
This is a repetitive job. What will motivate you to try hard each day?
You have a few options here. One is being totally honest. You know that the job is repetitive, and you may even be bored in work. But you are also aware of the fact the everything is monitored at State Farm, and they have some KPI for even the smallest tasks you do in the job.
Hence you cannot afford to under-perform, or to not try your best, because it will immediately show up on your KPIs, and you’ll lose the job, or in the better case you won’t get any bonuses. Just like everyone else you go to work to make money, and cannot afford this to happen to you. Hence you will try your best, even when bored in work. At the end of the day, most jobs are boring.
Another alternative is trying to convince them that you prefer repetitive jobs. You aren’t the smartest fellow in the city, and do not enjoy creative thinking. It’s much better for you to take care of the same tasks hour after hour, day after day, even if they are dull.
You simply do not like to think much, and also you prefer to leave the work at 4pm with a clean head. That’s definitely possible in routine jobs, but you may find it hard as a manager or engineer.
Special Tip: Download all questions in a one page long PDF, and practice your interview answers anytime later:
How do you deal with rejection?
You may get this question especially in the interview for a sales agent job. Because most people are tired of the endless phone calls from all sorts of sales representatives, people who bother them with all types of offers. So they will hang up when you call, or they will meet you in some nice place, let you to pay their dinner (or at least a coffee), and eventually reject your offer.
You have again a few good options here. One is saying that you understand that selling insurance is a game of numbers. You’ll hear NO more often thee YES, but statistically every third or fifth meeting will result in a sale. You will always remember this when facing rejection. Each no simply moves you once step closer to another YES.
Another alternative is saying that people do not reject you. They reject your offer, and that’s a fundamental difference… You try to help them, you have the best (and most expensive) product from State Farm ready, perfectly suitable for their situation (or at least you believe so). They reject it, that’s all right–it’s their mistake. But they do not reject you-just your offer. This perspective helps you to get over it and quickly move to another client.
What do you consider your greatest weakness when we talk about a job of a sales agent (underwriter, customer service rep.)?
You have several options for a good answer. One is saying that you do not think to have any major weaknesses as a sales agent (or other position you apply for). That’s the reason why you opted for this role, and not for a job of a general manager or street sweeper.
Sure, you have some weaknesses (perhaps you struggle with leading a team or you are not physically fit at all), but these things are not essential in a job of a sales agent.
Another option is saying that you do not know. Sure, you’ll have some weaknesses, and you will try to improve on them. But you have to do the job first, for a month or two, to understand in which areas you struggle and what you should work on.
This job is not a rocket science, however, so once you identify your weaknesses, you’ll simply work on them and get rid of them over time.
Other questions you may face in your job interview with State Farm (both Hirevue and face to face)
- Where do you see yourself in five years time? (How long do you want to have this job?)
- Sell me this pen (role play).
- Why did you leave your last job? (Why do you want to leave your present job?)
- Tell me about a time when you had to handle a difficult customer.
- What do you know about State Farm? Try to characterize the company with three words.
- Describe a time when you had a conflict with a colleague. What did you do to resolve the conflict?
- Describe a time when you struggled to build a relationship with someone important. How did you eventually overcome that?
- What is the best project you’ve ever worked on?
- Do you consider yourself successful?
- Do you know anyone who works for us?
- Tell us about a time when you felt overwhelmed with work.
- After everything we discussed here, do you have any questions?
Special tip: If you struggle with scenario-based questions (“tell me about a time when”, “describe a situation”, or even “sell me this…”), check out our Interview Success Package. Multiple premium answers to 31 most common scenario-based questions (+ more) will help you streamline your interview preparation, outclass your competitors, and eventually get the job. Thank you for checking it out!
Interviews for sales and customer service jobs at State Farm belong to interviews with average difficulty. They have an excellent training program in place, for all new hires. Therefor they do not require any higher education, or even previous experience with the same work (though it is a plus if you have such experience).
On the other hand, you may face some tricky scenario-based questions, just as I describe in this article. The Hirevue interview is a tricky experience for some people as well. And if you remain silent after hearing some of their questions, they won’t hire you… Try to show some enthusiasm for the work you’ll do with State Farm, and prepare for the questions. I hope you will manage to do so, and wish you good luck!
May also interest you:
- How to overcome interview nerves – 4 simple strategies on how to get your nerves under control, and show your very best when it matters the most.
- Salary negotiation tips – Learn how to get as much as you deserve, or even more, when it comes to money talk in the interview.