SVP Director of Enterprise Risk Management Interview

Informational Interview

The idea of an informational interview is that a person will reach out to someone in a industry or field that they are interested in to gain more information about the field from a real person in the field. This can also help you to network with employees within companies that you are interested in. Then you to have personal connection with them. The informational interview asks questions related to works days, likes/dislikes of a job, how the person got their job, recommendations for the interview on how to get a similar job, and the like. This helps you to find out if this is a job that is right for you.

The Contact

  • Name: Amanda Swoverland
  • Title/Position: SVP Director of Risk Enterprise Risk Management
  • Company: Sunrise Banks
  • Industry: Banking

Questions about the Contact

Career, Company, Industry; Skills, Success

While interviewing Amanda, I had began with asking her a series of career, company, industry, skills and success related questions. I started by asking her about how she got her job, background of executives, growth of the field and reasons for leaving the field/company.

Amanda told me first about how she got her job. She had worked with the current president of Sunrise Banks at her previous job and hired her at the new bank that she works at now. She also mentioned that every job previously to these she had some type of connection that at least helped her to get an interview. I asked Amanda if there’s anything she would change about her career path and she replied no. I then asked her about the typical background of executives at her company and she stated that most of them have 4-year college degrees or MBAs as well as 15+ years of banking experience. We also talked about how the growth of the field looks and she talked to about how the industry of banking is always growing and within banking, risk is a huge field with many different areas within it that continue to grow. Amanda discussed with me reasons for employees leaving the company are usually culture related. She said that Sunrise Banks has a very defined culture and it is usually that employees do not fit well with the culture. Reasons for leaving the field are usually related to having a hard time with the “grey-areas” of the risk management division.

The next set of questions I asked Amanda were about her typical work day, challenges of the job, negatives of the job and what she enjoys most about her job.

Amanda described her typical work day as being spent mostly doing meetings or responding to emails/questions. She said “As a member of the executive team I am brought into many meetings to discuss the strategy and risk of a variety of topics.” She also spends some of her days coaching and mentoring employees. Her most challenging points of her job are communicating in a way that other will be able to understand. She manages a very distinct area at the bank and she said that it can be be very difficult switching gears from her regular talk to her employees that they understand to talking to people from other areas of the bank so that they can understand the language she s talking. She said that she very much loves her job but sometimes is can be a challenge to turn it all off. Amanda said “I work a lot, so finding a good work life balance can be hard at time.” Things she loves the most about her job are the people. She said that she works with some employees and peers that really move the bank forward and find solutions to problems.

Questions about Communications Practices and Writing

Could you please describe the typical kinds of writing you do and tell me a bit about each?

“Emails and Memos are the most typical forms of communication I do. Emails being fairly informal, and memos used to communicate strategy or formal updates on various topics. In my prior jobs I also wrote a number of policies and procedures.”

What do you find most challenging about your day-to-day writing? What challenges do recent graduates face as they move from “academic writing” to “workplace writing”?

“Learning to address your audience and to be concise. More is often less when writing in the workplace — people are busy and they just want to get to the point — yet have all the information they need to make an informed decision. Finding this right balance can take some time.”

How would you describe the balance between written and oral communication in your workplace?

“Both are used regularly and it is very important to learn when it’s appropriate to just pick up the phone and talk to someone versus an email. Relationships are critical — so oral communication is just as important as written.”

Questions seeking Advice for you

Toward the end of my interview with Amanda, I discussed things such as preparation needed for a job in the field, experience I have personally and how it would benefit me and my skills.

Amanda said that the number one thing to have would be a year degree in business, finance, etc. She said that my experience is great for a financial industry position. After reviewing my resume and reflecting on my previous work with her, she said that I have demonstrated an ability to use many different types of technologies and that would be something great to highlight on in my resume. She also noted that having more and current volunteer work will always benefit me, but for a job specifically at Sunrise Banks that will get you the job because it correlates to the companies culture very well.

Conclusion and Final Thoughts

The most surprising thing I learned from this interview experience is that is much easier to reach out to people than you would expect. You may always think that you are just asking dumb questions that might waste the interviewees time but in fact employees are more than welcome with you reaching out for information. That only helps them to get to know a potential employee better. I have found that employers are looking for highly qualified people to enter into their companies which include having a 4 year college degree as well as having volunteer work gives off a great first impression to them. Now that I have been able to have this experience, I think I will take the time to contact more people for information if I feel I need it and also go out and get more involved in my school and community.

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