Insurance: Competency Based Recruiting

Insurance companies find themselves in a tough position right now: they need to hire fast to keep up with competition, but they also need to hire the right people to avoid the costs associated with turnover and replacing a bad hire. Balancing these two items can feel like walking a tight rope. Traditional hiring practices focus on skills and knowledge, but that alone does not ensure a good hire. Insurance agents these days need to look at a candidate’s overall core competencies, in addition to formal skills when evaluating a potential hire.

Competency Based Recruiting

Competency based hiring is something that is not widely understood. Often times, hiring managers will know some of the skills, knowledge, etc. needed for a position, but that is only half of the equation. According to Guidestar, the other half is understanding behavioral attributes and personality characteristics. While traditional recruiting and hiring focuses solely on the skills needed, competency based hiring seeks to identify and analyze a candidate’s behavioral profile. A lot of times, this is what can be deemed as “culture fit”, yet it is so much more than that. It requires analysis of successful people within the organization to determine what skills they have, but also how they behave, what personality traits they have in common, and where their individual aptitudes lie. Once this is done, you will have a much better picture for what “success” will look like for a new hire. For example, when looking to hire a new insurance salesperson, talk to three other successful agents and see where to commonalities lie. You will find out what skills are important – product knowledge, no fear of rejection, consultative selling, etc. – as well as personality traits desired to protect client assets like, being financially motivated and highly organized.

Using Core Competencies to Reduce Agency Turnover

Using core competencies to drive the hiring process will surface more relevant information on which you can base hiring decisions, as opposed to making gut decisions or hiring on skill alone. For an insurance agency, a single producer can mean revenue generation in the hundreds of thousands, so it is critically important to make sure that the right person is hired the first time. According to a study on independent insurance agencies from MarshBerry, the cost of turnover can be as much as 20% of an employee’s salary. If you couple that with a three year turnover rate of 52%, it becomes very apparent how impactful competency based hiring can be. Ultimately, this will lead to better candidates being hired, lower turnover, and increased profitability.

Implementing Competency Based Recruiting

The question now becomes, how do I do it? The answer is actually quite simple. First, talk to top producers within your company to gain a better understanding of what the person looks like, not just what the position looks like. Next, leverage tools to make the initial screening process much more efficient and streamlined. You can have simple pre-screening questions on the front end of your application to capture some of the skill-based information that you need. Once you have quickly reviewed applicants to see who has the relevant skills for the position, invite them to take aptitude and personality based assessments and compare their results to your existing top producers (benchmarking!). Systems, such as CareerPlug, help standardize and streamline these processes.

Once you have done this, you will be able to have much more meaningful conversations with qualified (skills) and aligned (personality and behaviorally) candidates. This means you will be investing your time with the right candidates, based on their core competencies, saving you time, and allowing you to get the right person hired, faster.

Next Steps

CareerPlug provides recruiting and applicant tracking software built to help busy insurance professionals improve hiring speed, but also to make better hiring decisions through the use of competency based hiring.

To learn more about how CareerPlug can help you, visit our website and request a demo today.

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Use our templates to create an attractive careers page and job posting. Then promote it through our job board partners, as well as directly with your employees, customers, and social network.



Use our notifications and automations to be the first to respond to qualified applicants. Send texts and emails from directly from CareerPlug to convert applicants to scheduled interviews.



Use our prescreen questions and assessments to identify the best applicants. Then use our interview questions and scorecards to evaluate for the right things consistently.



Once you think you have found the right person, use our reference and background check resources to verify them. Then, send an electronic offer letter from CareerPlug to close the deal!



Hiring is hard, but partnering with us makes it easier. From posting jobs to scheduling interviews, CareerPlug allows you to automate certain parts of the process to improve your results and save you time.


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Clint founded CareerPlug in 2007 with the simple idea that there was a better way to help employers connect with quality applicants. Today Clint works every day to fulfill CareerPlug’s mission: Make Hiring Easier. Leading by example, Clint loves spending his time developing new ideas and teaching others.

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