With a severe talent shortage on the horizon, insurance agents need to think outside the box to find new talent.
Incorporating new technology isn’t the only challenge the insurance industry faces in the coming years. Insurance agencies and companies are also grappling with a more human dilemma: how to recruit new agents as older professionals retire.
Estimates from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics hint at a looming labor shortage in the industry. By 2020, the number of job openings in insurance will soar to 400,000, forcing agencies and insurers to accelerate their recruitment strategies now — or be left without the talent needed to propel the business into the future.
To fill those soon-to-be empty positions, industry leaders have set their sights on the 83.1 million millennials who are either contemplating their career choice or have already entered the workforce. Unfortunately, according to a 2015 study from the Hartford, less than 5% of millennials look favorably on a career in insurance.
Given those daunting statistics, insurance agents and companies must pursue fresh recruitment tactics if they want to attract millennials — or other working adults — to the field. Posting a job ad in the hopes of receiving numerous qualified candidates simply won’t work anymore. It’s time for insurance agents to think outside the box and try some innovative recruitment strategies, like these five outlined here.
1. Recruit from Outside the Insurance Industry
Hiring an experienced insurance agent from another agency is ideal, of course, but agencies need to expand their potential talent pool beyond just insurance. Since so much of insurance depends on great sales skills, a professional with sales experience in a related field like finance is an excellent candidate for the industry. To cast an even wider net, agency owners could also consider teachers because they know how to clearly explain complex topics to other individuals — a key skill in any agent’s toolbox.
2. Hire for Skills, Not Just Experience
Too often, agents weed out candidates because they don’t appear to have the required background for a particular job within an agency, such as salesperson or underwriter — a process that may turn away many qualified applicants. A better approach would be to focus on the candidate’s skill set and determine where that person’s abilities fit within a multi-faceted organization, from data analysis to IT. Placing a candidate into a job that enables them to maximize their talents while simultaneously learning new skills only leads to greater job satisfaction for them and better ROI for you.
3. Give the Candidate a Challenge
To really engage candidates in the hiring process, agents can request that applicants complete an interesting test or challenge. For example, agents can task candidates with designing a social media campaign for the agency and have them present their final product in the form of a video or other graphic presentation. Not only does a challenge showcase a candidate’s abilities, it gives an agency a chance to present itself as modern organization that isn’t bound by traditional hiring protocol. A test further ensures that only those candidates truly interested in working for the company will continue with the process.
4. Ask Clients and Employees for Potential Candidates
If they haven’t already, insurance agents should give bonuses to current employees when they refer qualified candidates to work for the agency. Recruitment doesn’t need to be confined to staff members, however. Whenever agents meet with clients they should ask if they know of any friends or family who would be interested in a career in insurance.
5. Hire an Agency
Running a small business like an insurance agency is time-consuming enough without the added burden of finding new hires. When agents can no longer spare the time to vet applicants, they can work with an agency specializing in the insurance industry. Agents provide the recruiters with a list of preferred skills for the job, and then have them select the most qualified candidates for further review.With agencies rapidly facing a severe talent crunch, agents don’t have the luxury of sitting back and waiting for applications to pour in. They must be proactive in reaching out to potential candidates and use non-traditional methods if they want to fill their open positions with talented individuals who will guarantee the long-term success of their businesses.