Q&A with KC Cho, Partner/1st VP at DW Simpson

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KC Cho is a Partner and 1st VP with DW Simpson and has been with the company since 1995. Outside of his recruiting, client management, and business development responsibilities, K.C. is heavily involved with the firm’s key initiatives of recruitment, training, and development of staff. He also plays a critical role in the expansion and development of DW Simpson’s market presence. K.C. graduated from Northern Illinois University with a bachelor’s degree in Marketing in 1990. Outside the office, besides being a weekend golfer, KC enjoys running, weight training and attending Cubs games and he has completed the Chicago Marathon.

Q: What are the top reasons that candidates give for seeking a new role? 

A: Candidates sometimes find themselves plateauing in their careers. They seek new challenges and opportunities to broaden their skillset and flex their actuarial muscles in a new space.  Obviously, compensation is always a factor.  You can now add work arrangements (hybrid, remote or in-office) to the list of considerations.


Q: How can a candidate ensure that they stand out from the competition?

A: It’s imperative that the candidate fully understands the company’s culture, vision of the role and how his or her skillset and experience will translate to impacting the company.  To truly stand out, the candidate should be able to possess the business acumen and the necessary perspective to be a true problem-solver.


Q: What are the common mistakes that candidates make during the job search process, and how can they avoid them?

A: Lack of preparation is probably the number one mistake.  Envision that you are the hiring manager or company.  What would you look for in a candidate?  Simply work backwards from there.


Q: What is your biggest challenge as a recruiter?

A: Seeing the fit between a client and candidate that not everyone can see easily.


Q: How has the current market for actuaries changed over the last year?

A: Outside the pure volume of activity, the speed and the pace of the searches are unprecedented.


Q: What do you see as the biggest challenges for companies looking to hire top actuarial talent? 

A: The biggest challenge I see is being able to attract the highest caliber candidates that haven’t changed jobs in the last 2 years.  Employers may need to be willing to take the risk of hiring someone who has taken on another role within the recent past.  The true test will be to hire and also to retain your best people.


Q: What are the perks or benefits that can make an offer stand out?

A: There are no magic wands when comes to making attractive offers. The companies that win are those who’ve made a great first impression and can sell their unique proposition the most effectively throughout the interview process.  When it comes to offers or perks, it’s often flexibility and creativity that win out.  Can you modify the title, extend vacation days, offer remote or hybrid options, change the bonus structure and payout, etc.? This can make the difference between acceptance or rejection of your offer.


Q: How important are remote/work opportunities in finding top talent?

A: In some cases, it’s the most important factor.  Companies’ ability to adapt and change regarding flexible work options will be critical not only in finding talent but also for retention.


KC Cho and the team at DW Simpson are here to help you with any questions or concerns you might have about your career journey and working with a DWS recruiter can take the stress out of the process and help to highlight your value to future employers. Find us at www.dwsimpson.com.