Good employees are certainly hard to find. As an insurance agency owner, it’s your job to provide your customers with peace of mind, but first, you’ve got to have a bit of peace of mind yourself. Learn how to attract and hire top talent that allows your agency to thrive and provides your customers with the protection they need for some of their biggest investments and possessions.
There are more resources than ever for finding and hiring insurance producers. One of the best places to start is on LinkedIn, where you can post job openings for free and users are able to send your post to individuals they feel might be a good fit for the position. Other viable resources for attracting good candidates include summer internships, sponsorships and sites such as Simply Hired, MOGUL and ZipRecruiter.
Vetting Potential Producers
Once you’ve successfully attracted the attention of individuals who feel they would make great additions to your agency, you’ve got to determine how well they’d fit in and what they bring to the table. During interviews, it’s best to ask such questions as:
- What is it you feel you can contribute to this agency?
- What makes you stand out from the other applicants we’re currently considering?
- Is there anything in particular your former supervisor will tell me about your work performance if I call him/her?
- What fuels your desire to come to work every day?
- How have you planned the course of your career, and what are you doing to achieve your goals?
With this particular step, you also want to think beyond basic interview questions in order that you don’t have a basic candidate. Think about the type of insurance producer who exemplifies your agency philosophy, goals and brand. Use that information to structure pointed interview questions.
Setting Employees on the Right Path
Is there a specific capacity in which you want your next producer to work? If so, it’s best that you indicate this in your job posting in order to find candidates whose talents and career trajectories line up with your own. You might also like the idea of hiring an intern. The benefit of this is that the individual gets a taste of what it’s like to be an insurance producer while you have the opportunity to see if the intern would make a good full-time employee.
No matter if you have an intern or an hourly employee, know the short- and long-term role this individual will fill. Provide examples of specific day-to-day activities and projects, and touch on them in the job description as well as during the interview. In addition to immediate responsibilities, think about how the producer’s role will grow over time and how responsibilities will change.
Paid vs. Non-Paid Employees
As you’re structuring your ad for insurance producer jobs, you may wrestle with the decision to hire paid vs. unpaid employees. A few legal requirements and dos and don’ts will be instrumental in helping you make a decision. For instance, you’re likely better off offering a paid internship for the simple fact that individuals who are perfect for the position may be dissuaded from applying because they can’t put their financial obligations on hold. Additionally, try not to limit your candidate pool to only those who have a license. The reason for this is individuals who are truly hungry for the job will study and take the licensing test on their own time.
No matter if the intern is to be paid or not, brush up on the most current legal requirements for interns set forth by the Fair Labor Standards Act from the U.S. Department of Labor. For example, the DOL has determined that regular employees cannot be replaced by interns and any skills you teach interns have to be transferable.
Personal & Professional Development
In addition to hiring insurance producers, agencies should also know how to train insurance producers to help them bring out their best and become true assets to the company. Partner new producers with more experienced ones in order that the new recruit knows how prospect calling works in your agency and can learn about policy forms. It’s not uncommon for such mentorship programs to last as long as two or three years. This extensive period of time ensures newer producers are ready to take over the books of business and prospects built and maintained by older producers. Remember that the younger, fresh-faced producers you hire are going to be your agency’s next generation. Make sure they’re ready when it’s time to pass the torch.
Besides mentorship programs, producers can also participate in seminars, web-based training, online courses and continuing education courses. There are more personal and professional development tools than ever, some of which might be offered free of charge.
Just like selling insurance, hiring insurance producers is an art. Use these tips to perfect your technique and prepare the industry’s next generation of policy-painting Picassos.