How Not to Interview at Federated Insurance

Update 2017:  Note that these comments are now nearly 20 years old and they likely do not reflect the reality of a modern interview at Federated Insurance.

I had a second interview with Federated Insurance in Owatonna, Minnesota today.  It was rather odd.

Federated had me take a test called the “Computer Programmer Aptitude Test” that had a copyright of 1966 (!)  and the booklet looked that old.  It consisted first of an algebra section, which should have been easy.   However, the questions were all in paragraph (word-problem) form and I only had 20 minutes to answer 24 questions.  This made things much more challenging than I’d anticipated, as I’d not prepared for this kind of an exam.  As such, I only made it through about  two-thirds of those problems.

The test’s second section consisted of analyzing various charts  that were actually similar to pseudocode.  I worked on the questions in blocks and filled  in missing code chunks.  This wasn’t too bad and I got that portion done in time.  They later told me that I  scored around the average for the entire test.

Of odd note, I was interviewing alongside the student body president of Cornell College.  Despite his youth, he looked like a 40 year old  blond Steve Buscemi-wannabe.  Before taking the test, he thought it appropriate to make fun of gay individuals and other progressive activist groups on his campus.  He had already taken the test before at a different insurance company the prior week and seemed quite familiar with it.  The fact that he had taken an identical test in the recent past, undermined its relevance in my mind.  He, not surprisingly, flew right through it  with plenty of time to spare.

The funniest moment for me came when the guy asked the woman administering the test if he could  cheat with me.  The woman acted horrified.  I just gave the lady my “I have no affiliation  with this guy.  He is crazy.” look and said nothing.

The interview itself, with one of the programming team supervisors, went great and the  tour(s) that I was taken on were interesting.

D.S. Christensen
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