When you’re looking for a good insurance hire in an employee’s market, you need to understand the forces at work.

 

I recently read an article about the current real estate market and it seems a great analogy for what we are seeing in today’s insurance hiring marketplace. Everyone has heard of home seekers losing out to more competitive bids or terms.  As frustrating as that can be, the first step toward success is understanding and accepting the market you are dealing with.

Just like the real estate market often fluctuates, so too does the insurance employment market.  Make no mistake that we are in an employee market currently.  Insurance employers in an employee market can make great hires, but they need to be smart about their interviewing and recruiting efforts.  Here are some mistakes that we see as specialty insurance recruiters. 

Not making your best offer upfront

Trying to obtain the house we want for as little money as possible is our default position.  This is true for many things in life!  In the current market multiple offers are common, and many are at or above list price.  This is not the time or the market to low ball an employment offer. An employment offer of a salary lower than asking is not a reasonable strategy in the current market. Sometimes there will be negotiation, but if there is a better offer on the table you may not get that opportunity. It is important to understand the market and the prevailing salary ranges before making an insurance employment offer.

Not being open to different solutions

Perhaps a you have a firm idea of the ideal house, in the ideal location, and at or below what you are prepared to spend.  In this market a homebuyer needs to keep an open mind so they can work with what is available. In an employee’s market, you may be waiting a very long time to find someone who fits exactly the criteria you desire.  It is better to identify the problem or workload that you need to resolve within your insurance organization.  Is it possible that it could be managed by two part-time employees?  How about a full-time employee that needs to work remotely 1-2 days per week?  An employee that needs a flexible schedule due to traffic or daycare needs?  Lastly, you may need to consider candidates with less experience than you desire.  An eager learner may bring more enthusiasm into your organization and help build your bench for the future.  

Not making the candidate feel valued during the interview process

Okay, this one doesn’t really follow the analogy, but it is so extremely important that it cannot be stressed enough.  Timely communication and feedback are crucial.  Long delays between interviews, lag time after an assessment has been taken, excessive processes and interviews, failure to keep the candidate informed of the process along the way – all these things impact the feeling that the candidate is developing toward your organization.  Candidates have options right now.  The option to stay, or the option to interview with multiple organizations.  They simply are not going to make a move if they don’t feel confident about the organization or how they will fit in and be able to contribute.  Counter offers are very common and can be quite aggressive right now.  If the candidate has doubts, their resolve to leave will waiver.   A seamless interview and hiring process along with great communication will provide the extra reassurance a great insurance employee may need to make a change.

Not working with an experienced agent

An experienced realtor (or recruiter) will know what the market will bear.  If you have a seasoned recruiter on your side, you’ll be in a much better place to get your offer accepted.  They understand the emotions that are churned up by both parties, they know salary and benefit levels for their segment intimately, and they will prevent you from making an offer that will not be accepted.   They know which items are most important to each party, and they can help facilitate a match that benefits both.  Motivation, counter offers, needs for accommodation – those are all concerns that recruiters deal with regularly.  Rely on this experience and you will not be sorry that you did.

Not learning from your mistakes

Just like house hunting, you might have to go through a few disappointments with unaccepted offers.  It is not fun learning that your job offer has been declined, and it’s easy to get frustrated if you are having multiple offers declined.  It is important to solicit candidate feedback on your interview process and offers.  Is there something you can tweak to make things smoother?  Is your idea of salary levels off base?  How is your organization perceived in the local insurance arena?  If you have had the good fortune of historically low turnover, these can be difficult questions to ask but they are important if you want to attract and retain great insurance talent in this market.