Insurance

Insurance: Attracting Millennials

Millennials are Shaping the U.S. Workforce

Millennials are a generation that will shape the economy for decades to come. Today, the insurance industry is facing a challenge of recruiting millennials to replace retiring baby boomers. By 2020, 46 percent of all U.S. workers will be millennials. It is essential now more than ever for insurance employers to build a recruiting strategy centered around mobile-friendly applications and a digital hiring process to be able to attract and evaluate a new generation of educated workers.

Benefits of Attracting Millennials

Millennials current view of the insurance industry is not very positive. According to the Insurance Journal, 53 percent of millennials perceive the insurance industry as not being innovative and as having a poor public image (65 percent). Moreover, 71 percent of millennials want to work with people in their age group yet they perceive the insurance industry as predominantly employed by older workers.

Most millennials are considered tech savvy multitaskers, which is a huge benefit for an insurance agency. In addition, millennials are motivated by more than just making money. Most millennials want to work for a company that practices social responsibility and gives back to the community. Millennials have the education, tech-savviness, and passion to improve your agency’s processes and culture.

If agencies try to avoid hiring millennials, they may be inadvertently hurting their long-term sales. When an entire industry is unattractive to millennial workforce, it can be an indicator that the industry as a whole is less likely to appeal to millennial customers as well, perhaps forgoing the traditional insurance sales process in favor of self-service online or through an app. Like every generation before them, millennials are more likely to listen to their peers, and a millennial insurance salesperson will have much more first hand insight into how to connect with this audience and deliver an effective message.

Using Technology to Attract Millennials

There’s a pretty simple answer to the question, “where do I even begin with recruiting millennials?” Start by formalizing your hiring process with an applicant tracking system, or ATS. There are many applicant tracking systems out there, but agencies will benefit most from a system that empowers hiring managers to attract millennials to a mobile-optimized careers page, showcasing company culture and open positions right on an applicant’s smartphone. Agents and recruiters stand to benefit greatly from prioritizing a great mobile candidate experience and distributing job posts to search engines and social media. In fact, job searches from a mobile device have increased dramatically over the past few years. In 2014, 50 percent of job searches in the United States were done on a mobile phone.

Social media sites like Twitter and Facebook should be constantly updated and have frequent posts and links to the agents’ careers page in order to let job seekers know there are open positions. It is important for recruiters (or agents who manage recruiting themselves) to update their LinkedIn profile as well to let their connections know they are hiring. Millennials are mostly visual learners and rely on reviews before making a purchase on the internet. Similarly, these job seekers will look up the employers they are interested in on LinkedIn to get an idea of who they will work for. From our experience, most online job seekers will apply to jobs on Indeed, the job search engine that produces 50% of hires made online in the US. Therefore, it is crucial for insurance agents to build a strong online employment brand and begin recruiting the growing millennial workforce.

Recruiting Millennials Made Easy

CareerPlug can help insurance agencies attract the millennials they need. CareerPlug makes the hiring process easier and attractive for millennials with our specialized Careers Page and hiring tools. Moreover, CareerPlug works along with job boards like Indeed in order to help agencies attract more applicants. To learn more about how CareerPlug can help you turn your agency into a talent magnet, request a demo today!

To learn more about the approach we take to hiring, download our free ebook, How to Build a Talent Magnet.

Insurance: Pipeline Recruiting

Finding Top Talent in the Insurance Industry

For the past decade, insurance agencies have struggled to hire qualified employees due to the changing workforce. According to the U.S. Department of Labor there are 5.5 million unfilled jobs, and 49 percent of employers say they are unable to fill many positions because of a lack of skilled workers.  Compared to other sectors in the economy, the insurance industry has a greater shortage of qualified people. Moreover, a study by McKinsey and Co., reveals that 25 percent of the professionals in the insurance industry will retire by 2018. Thus, there will be a greater talent gap in the industry that is already experiencing a shortage of workers. Today’s competitive economy has challenged insurance employers to modify their hiring strategies to close the skills gap and effectively recruit and retain employees.

Hiring managers and recruiters can get ahead of this talent shortage by taking a proactive recruiting approach. Right now, many employers take the opposite approach: reactive recruiting. This is when a company waits until there is a vacant job position to rush and fill the spot. In this scenario, employers often rush through the hiring process out of a necessity to fill the position as soon as possible and are more likely to make a bad hire.

Benefits of Building a Talent Pipeline

A pipeline will help with maintaining a pool of qualified and interested external candidates.  A hiring manager will have the opportunity to spend time  assessing candidates’ skills more thoroughly.  

Whether your agency has an open position or not, adopting an ongoing recruiting approach will set you up to build a successful team. In fact, it is more important to build a talent pipeline when you are not actively hiring. The many benefits of proactively hiring include:

  •         Less stress on the recruiting process.
  •         The ability to attract more and higher quality applicants.  
  •         The ability to provide your firm with a competitive advantage.
  •         The ability to fill critical open positions more rapidly.
  •         Increased retention rates among new hires.
  •         Dedicating a sufficient amount of time to thoroughly evaluate applicants.

Moving Promising Candidates to the Pipeline

A good applicant tracking solution offers tools that go beyond simply prescreening and sending assessments to candidates. The ideal tracking system helps agencies effectively keep in touch with those quality applicants that are available, even when there is not currently an open position. Think of this as a pipeline of qualified, interested candidates who you can contact the moment you have a job opening – this is the number one tool that an agent or hiring manager can leverage to keep recruiting and interviewing costs low, and it significantly reduces an agency’s time to hire. Once you’ve built a talent pipeline, you can resume the hiring process with applicants from the pipeline when you are ready to consider them for a current job opening.

Recruiting Pipeline Made Easy

CareerPlug specializes in working with over 6,000 insurance agencies to hire top sales producers. CareerPlug makes hiring easier by helping agencies build their talent pipeline to ultimate make the right hires and grow their company. To learn more about how CareerPlug can help you turn your agency into a talent magnet, request a demo today!

To learn more about the approach we take to hiring, download our free ebook, How to Build a Talent Magnet.

Insurance: Hiring for Cultural Fit

Why Culture Fit Matters When It Comes to Top Performers

Insurance agencies who hire and develop top producers have realized there’s more to evaluating candidates than considering skills and experience.  While it may be important for candidates to have the sales potential and industry knowledge you need to grow your business, if hiring managers forget to hire for culture even the most promising candidates may fail.  A study published in Organization Science examined hiring practices at insurance firms and found that a bad culture fit completely negated great experience.  This means that agencies who ignore culture during the hiring process risk negatively impacting both their culture and retention. 

What is your culture? 

Your office culture can encompass anything from your dress code to team events to whether your office prefers afternoon or morning meetings . . . but it usually begins with your core values.  Your values are the crux of your employment brand and should tie your diverse cast of employees together.  Take some time to think about how you describe your office culture and how you present your values.  This doesn’t only matter in terms of employment brand, but carries to your company’s brand and reputation as well.

Hiring for Cultural Fit

Incorporating your culture into your hiring process is critical to setting up new hires for success.  It’s a way of being honest about the environment and expectations so both you and the candidate can make the best decision.

Careers Page

Begin by looking at where you show off your employment brand.  Showcase your culture on your careers page by writing about your values and including company photos.  With this information upfront in the hiring process, you will immediately attract candidates who are drawn to that culture.  You can also ask current employees to speak to your culture when writing a review on Glassdoor.

Interviews

During the interview process, be sure to include culture questions alongside ones targeting skills and experience.  Find out what they value in a job and in a work environment.  Take some time to write a few questions that speak directly to your unique culture.

Assessments

Comprehensive personality assessments can be a great asset in determining culture fit.   Hiring managers can measure key competencies – such as teamwork, integrity, and conscientiousness – that thrive in their agency.  Current top performers can also take these assessments to benchmark against candidates.

CareerPlug Helps Insurance Agencies Make Great Hires

CareerPlug works with over 6,000 insurance agents to make hiring easy. From building out compelling careers pages to show off agency culture, to creating customized interview guides, CareerPlug works with agents to build a better team to grow their business.

To learn more about CareerPlug, download our free ebook today! Ebook: How to Build a Talent Magnet

Case Study: American Family Insurance

Insurance agencies depend on having the right people in place to grow their business. But while agents often have strong sales talent, many don’t have experience recruiting, interviewing, and hiring. To find top producers who can hit the ground running and become a team contributor, agents need the tools to effectively evaluate candidates and make better hiring decisions.

Terry Moore, an American Family Insurance Agent in Brookhaven, GA partnered with CareerPlug to easily identify qualified applicants and design a hiring process that allowed him to make better hires:

“I began using CareerPlug a few years back and absolutely love their system. I have managed to get over 150 applicants since creating my account. I really like the candidate management system which allows you to track all candidate interactions, schedule phone interviews and face-to-face interviews. CareerPlug is a tool that I will continue to incorporate in my business plan.”

Terry adopted CareerPlug’s pre-screening best practices to Fast-Track the best applicants.  As a result, he can immediately identify the candidates who meet the criteria critical for success (e.g. experience and/or willingness to work in a commision-based role, bi-lingual ability, previous sales experience, etc). When it comes to top sales talent who have many opportunities to consider, the ability to prioritize and quickly contact the best candidates is crucial.  

CareerPlug works with over 6,000 agents around the country, providing powerful, easy-to-use software that helps them make the right hires, so they can have a strong team in place to build a successful business.

To learn more about how CareerPlug can help your agency grow, contact us today!

Insurance: Fast Track Recruiting

There are over 2.5 million people employed in the trillion-dollar insurance industry in the United States. Read that again…2.5 million people…trillion dollar industry. As an independent agency, that means there is A TON of competition out there when you are looking to hire. It also means that there is an opportunity to make a lot of money. Hiring a top producer for your agency can mean hundreds of thousands of dollars in increased revenue. Hiring someone that you need to replace in six months costs you much more than just their salary.

As an agency owner, you may often feel overwhelmed when you need to hire a new team member. “It’s expensive”,”I don’t have time”, and “there are no good candidates” are things we often hear. While hiring is not easy, like any job, you need the right tools to do it efficiently and effectively. After all, you wouldn’t hire a carpenter to build a house without a hammer and a saw, would you?

Ask the Right Questions

Asking the right screening questions on the front-end will set you up for success when it comes to finding the right hire. While questions relating to communication, listening skills, and their cultural fit are more appropriate for an in-person interview, there certainly are insights you can gain during the application process by asking tailored screening questions when an applicant first applies.

For example, if you are hiring for a Producer position, you would want to know more details about a candidate’s experience and education. Questions like “Are you currently licensed? Do you have experience selling P&C insurance? How many years of experience do you have?” can be asked at the beginning of the hiring process using prescreen functionality offered within CareerPlug. Receiving this information upfront is beneficial to you in more ways than one. In an industry teeming with opportunity, a truly qualified applicant has plenty of options for employment. Applying to several positions is now the norm and great applicants have the power to choose employment based on fit, rather than necessity. As a hiring manager, this means following up with qualified applicants right away is critical, lest they get swept up in another opportunity.

Put Top Candidates on the Fast Track

CareerPlug helps agencies follow up with quality applicants promptly and make better hiring decisions with our Fast Track program. Using Fast Track gives you the ability to identify your top candidates, in real time. For example, applicants that are already licensed and have experience selling P&C insurance can automatically be put on the Fast Track.

Contacting your quality applicants faster and starting the hiring process sooner could prevent you losing them to a competitor and ensure your agency continues to win. This also helps to reduce the time that you are spending with the wrong candidates, helping you to get your positions filled faster and ultimately increasing the money you are making.

Agency Hiring Made Easy with CareerPlug

CareerPlug helps thousands of insurance agencies and franchise systems institute and leverage effective hiring practices to provide drastic returns on investment. We think about it this way – a great customer can provide repeat revenue to an agency, but a strong team will deliver exponentially greater long-term value to the business. To learn more about how CareerPlug can help you turn your agency into a talent magnet, request a demo today!

To learn more about the approach we take to hiring, download our free ebook, How to Build a Talent Magnet.

Insurance: Building a Strong Employment Brand

Insurance agencies depend on an outstanding company brand and reputation to win and retain their business. In the same vein, agencies also need a strong employment brand to win and retain to talent. Since a great performer is almost always more value than a great customer, finding ways to recruit and retain this talent is a key priority for top performing agencies.

Attracting these A-Players begins with showcasing your business to the talent pool and to your community. Here a few starting points to building a strong employment brand:

Careers Page

Careers pages are instrumental recruiting tools, used not only to list open opportunities but to showcase your company culture. Use your careers page as a platform to build your employment brand, including company photos, sharing employment benefits, and talking about why your agency is a great place to work. Then, don’t keep your careers page in a box. Share it with your networks – many agents include their careers page link on their business cards so they are always promoting their opportunities.

LinkedIn Profile

Job seekers want to know who they could be working for before they submit an application. Your LinkedIn profile is one of the first stops – what will candidates see about you right now? Do you have a picture up? What does your summary say? Do you include a call to action if you’re looking for talent? Spend some time building out your profile to address the call for information from potential candidates.

Social Media

Social sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Yelp are also must-stops for most job seekers. As they are looking at your website and searching for customer and employee reviews, they are also visiting your social profiles to get a feel for your company culture. Post frequently to share company updates and employment opportunities. Having a strong online presence will also establish you within the community, attracting top talent to you before you’re actively looking.

Hiring Process

Run a great one. Candidate experience matters in today’s social age and how you treat candidates impacts your employment (and company) brand. Communicate openly throughout the hiring process. Send rejection letters to candidates you don’t pursue … these sting much less than never hearing back at all. When candidates have a negative experience their attitude can spread through their networks, discouraging future top talent or even potential customers.

Creating your employment brand begins with putting your best foot forward and showing the community and talent pools what your agency has to offer. From information about who you are to a snapshot of your agency culture, you can begin to build a strong brand that attracts A-players.

Start Improving Your Employment Brand Today

CareerPlug can help you build compelling careers pages, connect with your social networks, and run a great hiring process to consistently make better hires. Email us today to schedule a free demo!

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.