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Burn-out: The Symptoms and the Treatment

Burn-out: The Symptoms and the Treatment

As the economy continues to churn, and despite experiencing five of the 15 costliest global catastrophes in the past two years, the outlook for the Property and Casualty Insurance industry has remained positive. With this favorable outlook, many insurance professionals are finding themselves with multiple career advancement opportunities. This candidate-driven market, combined with the newest workplace epidemic (burn-out) could be contributing to the increase in turnover rates

According to the Workplace Institute, one in four employees will quit this year, with one in three voluntarily leaving their jobs by 2020. One of the growing reasons for this exodus is burn-out.

We’ve all felt it. Those days when just the thought of going into work makes you exhausted or turns your good mood into a sour one. You experience a lack of motivation, feel overwhelmed, and make more mistakes than normal. The longer the feeling continues, the worse it gets until it becomes a major problem. You just feel…burned out.

You aren’t alone. The World Health Organization recently declared burn-out an official medical diagnosis. Scientists have been studying burn-out and its effects since the 1970s, and it’s time to start taking it seriously. By recognizing the symptoms and finding ways to prevent burn-out, you can better the mental health of your employees and have a positive impact on your bottom line.

The Symptoms of Burn-out

Burn-out is the result of a lack of balance between personal and work life. While the symptoms of burn-out can apply to other parts of your life, WHO advises burn-out refers “specifically to phenomena in the occupational context and should not be applied to describe experiences in other areas of life.” Symptoms include:

  • Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion
  • Increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job
  • Reduced professional efficacy

These symptoms can result in a lack of production, and increased fatigue, irritability, frustration, and errors. All of these can culminate in a lack of motivation for team members and can have a negative impact on your bottom line.

Treatment for Burn-out

Burn-out in the insurance industry affects more than the person facing it. When one member of your team feels overwhelmingly negative and is failing to succeed, your entire team suffers. Here are a few ways you can prevent burn-out in the insurance industry and keep it from becoming a chronic issue at your company:

  • Celebrate successes. No matter how small, every goal met makes a difference. By acknowledging daily accomplishments and recognizing successful team members, you increase team motivation. By counteracting negativity with positivity, you can boost the morale of the employees feeling burn-out.
  • Show employees the bigger picture. When setting goals for your team, make sure they see how those goals impact the goals to follow. When moving quickly from one goal to another, team members can feel like they aren’t making any progress. Connecting their performance to the company’s results makes team members feel like they are part of that larger picture.
  • Create a plan. If you’re noticing an uptick in unhappy employees, it’s time to find out what those problems are. Pay attention to who works from home, stays late at the office, or skips lunch. Analyze those workloads and find out why they feel the need to work after hours. Create a burn-out prevention plan that enforces work hours, encourages breaks, and sets goals to preserving mental health in the workplace. This plan will make it easier to prevent burn-out and confront it when it occurs.

Burn-out is a problem that plagues every industry and insurance is not immune. Being able to recognize the signs and symptoms of and finding ways to prevent burn-out is crucial to the success of your employees and your insurance business. For more than 15 years, The James Allen Companies have been partnering with insurance companies to identify and hire leaders who help inspire their workforce and keep them engaged. To learn more, contact us today.

The Value of Soft Skills

The Value of Soft Skills

A successful insurance business needs a diverse group of people with diverse skills and talents. “Hard skills” are easily measured with proven success and practice, but many skills that make an active and successful team member are not so easy to define. Communication and critical thinking are increasingly important as more and more positions are automated—these skills can set a candidate apart and make them more successful as your employee.

Importance of Soft Skills

Soft skills are the interpersonal attitudes that define an individual’s character in a workplace environment and can help determine how a candidate might fit in with a company’s culture. In a Global Talent Trends survey conducted by LinkedIn, 91 percent of talent professionals said they believe soft skills are important to the future of recruiting. The decision of hiring a candidate or firing an employee can ride on that individual’s ability to leverage soft skills. Additionally, 92 percent of talent professionals believe soft skills are just as important as hard skills, and it was found that up to 89 percent say poor hires often lack soft skills.

Essential Soft Skills

Some soft skills are more desired than others and finding candidates with those skills is like finding a piece of hay in a stack of needles. With so many people focusing on how to develop their hard skills, the development and refinement of soft skills can go by the wayside. Some soft skills are even harder to find and understand than others. LinkedIn identified the following skills as the most in-demand relative to their supply:

Creativity is not limited to the artists and musicians of the world. Creativity is a highly desired skill because it can never be automated, and it allows people to solve problems with relevance and novelty. Without creativity, there is no innovation, and to succeed today, you need to be more innovative than the competition.

Persuasion is less about manipulating others, and more about defending ideas and explaining why they matter. This a skill needed for sales, but also in management. By being able to communicate the benefits of an idea with genuine reasons and thought, a successful leader can influence decisions to push innovation forward.

Collaboration proves a person’s ability to work on a team. How that person communicates with others, how they trust and whether they tolerate new ideas and compromise with others can indicate how much of a team player the individual is. Collaboration is key to a successful team dynamic and one weak link can throw off the entire team.

Adaptability can go hand-in-hand with collaboration. An individual needs to be flexible and OK with change. They need to be prepared for new people to join the team, receptive to criticism and innovation and stay calm even in stressful situations.

Time Management can mean the difference between managing a workload or drowning in it. Being able to prioritize tasks can result in increased productivity and faster decision making.

A candidate’s soft skills are crucial to their possible success at your organization. The James Allen Companies’ recruiters understand the value of soft skills. With our nearly 30 years of insurance industry recruiting and over 40 years combined overall staffing experience, we are the experts at placing candidates who are able to communicate, think on their feet and influence change. The James Allen Companies is the answer to recruiting the candidates with all of the skills required to help your insurance organization advance. Contact us today to see how our insurance industry-expert recruiters can help your business with your next hiring project.

How to Create a Top-Rate Salary Range

How to Create a Top-Rate Salary Range

Money can’t buy you love. We believe that to be true, but we also know when it comes to finding candidates to fit into your business, money might be able to get you the best candidates. When it comes to accepting a position at a new company, 43.2 percent of candidates will be convinced to leave their current company for another if it offers them a better salary. If you aren’t offering the right salary to passive candidates, you might lose them. Here are some quick tips to help you determine a proper salary range for open positions at your company.

Determine the Market Rate

When hiring new employees, you need to sell the candidate on your company. You can’t do that when your company is hiring for lower pay than the company they already work for.

To avoid this, it’s important to find out what other companies will pay for the same candidate for the same position or find out what the candidate is currently making. Audit other companies to find out what other benefits they might offer and what the similar position’s duties are. Also, find out where the position ranks in that company compared to where it ranks in yours.

Analyze the Position

Once you’ve completed an audit of similar companies, ask yourself a few questions about the position you’re hiring for. How does this position add value to your company? What are the requirements you’re looking for? What would you expect to be paid for this position?

Look at the requirements and daily assignments and how this employee interacts with the rest of the team. You need to make sure you can fairly determine a compensation plan that is fair to the position. Make it flexible so you can fit it to match the candidates you might hire.

Don’t Forget the Most Important Factor

You’re not just hiring an employee, you’re hiring a person. You have to focus on the technical skills, practical knowledge, experience and personality. You have to determine the value of the individual you’re interested in hiring. Don’t go in hoping to hire at the lower end of the salary range you’ve established. Go in hoping to hire the best candidate that can help your business grow.

At The James Allen Companies, we know that hiring is an important aspect of your job. To help your company grow, you need the best candidates and we can help you find them. By ensuring your offered salary ranges and compensation plans are fair, you can be sure to find the best candidates in the business.

Investing in your business’ future: A culture of education

Investing in your business’ future: A culture of education

“Education is the key to success.”

We’ve all heard the phrase and know how true it can be. You’ve taken the time to educate yourself on the insurance industry and have probably earned at least one of the many specialty designations there are to earn—perhaps the CPCU or another certification. Your career has advanced because of education. Are you helping your team do the same?

As generations retire and new ones take their place in the field, talent gaps in the insurance industry begin to widen. Many new hires are straight out of college with a bachelor’s or master’s degree but without the same level of knowledge of those retiring. It is crucial that you invest in the new generation of talent to narrow the talent gap and watch your business become successful.

A Culture of Education

We talk a lot about business culture as part of what makes a business successful; after all, if your employees are happy, they’ll be more efficient and more eager to help the team grow. Making education and additional training part of your company’s culture will make your employer brand that much stronger.

What is a culture of education and how can it benefit your business?

  • Improve Motivation: Opportunities to earn new competences show employees you believe in their abilities and align them with the company mission therefore making them feel part of the team and increasing their work ethic.
  • Encourage Innovation: Encouraging education and training also emboldens your employees to think critically and come up with innovative ideas to help push the company forward. The culture of education provides confidence to employees and makes your team stronger.
  • Maximize Employee Potential. When you encourage employees to earn new designations, you invest in your team. These employees may want to move to upper management levels which means they can promote the same work ethic and values to any future teams.

How to Create a Culture of Education

You can begin to create a culture of education the moment someone new joins the team:

  • Hire curious people. People who want to learn will learn and they’ll encourage others to do the same. Encourage people who want to ask questions to do so. They may find solutions to problems you never knew you had.
  • Focus on skills, define behaviors. Allowing employees to refine old competencies and earn new ones will help them succeed at the technical aspects of their jobs. However, by focusing on new behaviors you want your employees to develop, you can greatly improve the success of your business’ culture.
  • Communicate goals. To get everyone on board with your new goals and culture, you must first tell your employees what those goals are. Encourage management on all levels to keep employees updated on company progress and allow them to communicate their successes.
  • Lead by example. To encourage your employees to learn, you should be learning too. As a manager, you should be showing them you’re actively finding ways to improve your skills and earn new designations or competencies. Share new knowledge with your team and send them ideas for trainings they can do with you. Let them know you value your continued education as well.

At The James Allen Companies, we specialize in finding you new talent who appreciate the chance to learn and grow. We identify candidates with a thirst for knowledge not satisfied by their current position. Filling one open position with one knowledge-hungry candidate can drastically change the culture of your business and help kickstart a culture of education in your office.

Contact us to learn more.

How You’re Striking Out With Candidates

How You’re Striking Out With Candidates

In our last blog, we talked about how to perfect your candidate pitch by writing the perfect job description. The job description is a key factor in getting candidates interested in your company’s position, but during the hiring process, every pitch matters and serves as an opportunity to sell your business to candidates.

With the US employment rate at its lowest in 18 years, we are facing a candidate-driven market with more jobs than candidates to fill them. For you, this means more competition for those star players.

Unfortunately, many companies haven’t adapted to this new market and still hire like candidates are desperate for employment. They’re not! Even after a candidate expresses interest in your company (based on that initial job description) it can be really easy to strike out and lose that candidate’s attention.

Strike One: Wasting the Candidate’s Time

There are a lot of ways to waste a candidate’s time and in this market, is that a risk you can afford?  A lengthy application and interviewing process are common ways to lose your candidates’ interest fast. Only 40 percent of candidates are willing to complete an application, especially if you are requiring them to include education and past experience while also asking for a resume.

Another way to waste your candidates’ time is to put them through the ringer of too many interviews. One, two, maybe even three interviews depending on the position could be appropriate, but the more you add, the more time you’re wasting. It’s also exhausting for candidates to take the time to attend so many interviews and potentially lose money or productivity from their current career to do so.

Strike Two: Failure to Sell the Opportunity

Don’t ask a candidate “Why do you want to work here?” Tell them why they should.

Candidates want to be sold on your businesses’ culture. They want to see that employees are staying for long periods of time and they want to know why. They want to know they’ll be listened to and understood by management. Allow candidates to meet current employees who can share their experiences at the company. Your current employees are your best testimonials and your biggest asset in the hiring process. Also, when evaluating passive candidates, realize they will have expectations for a fair and reasonable increase in their current salary.

Strike Three: Not Making A Decision

Hiring candidates can be difficult, but you eventually have to make a decision—and sooner is better than later. Candidates can tell when you’re not confident in your hiring decision. The more interviews you schedule, the longer it takes, the easier it is for them to lose interest in your opportunity.

You may have to get a little creative in regard to the type of candidate you will consider. Comparing your candidate pool to the perfect vision in your head is opening yourself up for disappointment. It’s important to remember candidates must have a reason for change. Passive applicants are open to exploring opportunities that will allow them to progress and grow their career. If the position they are evaluating is exactly the same as they have, then it will be difficult to secure their services.

Just like in baseball, hiring can be “one, two, three strikes you’re out.” Just like you are judging whether or not a candidate is right for your business, they are evaluating whether or not you are right for them. You sold them on the initial pitch, but you have to keep the momentum moving forward throughout the hiring process to make sure you don’t strike out.

The James Allen Companies works with you diligently to identify, evaluate and secure passive, qualified insurance talent. Call us to discuss your staffing needs.

Job Boards Don’t Work. We Do.

Job Boards Don’t Work. We Do.

It’s no secret the insurance industry is facing a talent shortage. An estimated 60 percent of the workforce is expected to retire in the next ten years and only about five percent of the incoming generation is interested in the insurance industry. These factors combined with an increase in technology-based positions result in a shortage of dedicated quality applicants for open positions at your company.

Due to these facts it is challenging to locate and secure the best candidates for open positions at your company in a timely manner. To find those candidates many internal recruiters or HR professionals choose to utilize the most common form of talent acquisition: online job boards. However, online job boards lead to more problems than solutions.

The problems with online job boards

Job boards are the go-to resource for active candidates searching to make a career change. These sites are flooded with millions of job seekers each day. When you post a job, it gets pushed to thousands of job seekers in a matter of seconds.Because of the high volume of traffic on these sites, you may receive resumes of active candidates for your open position.

While the idea of a plethora of candidate options may sound appealing, most of that traffic will be a waste of your time. Job boards tend to push postings to job seekers based on keywords in the job description without really understanding the actual requirements of the role. Because of this, you run the risk of receiving applicants who think they fit the frame of the advertised position (i.e. a job classified as management or sales) but have no relevant experience in the insurance industry. Job boards are ineffective when it comes to delineating truly qualified talent.

Based on keywords alone, you may receive applicants, but take into consideration the job seekers following the classic “apply for jobs you aren’t qualified for because you never know what will happen” advice. Now you have more unqualified/underqualified applicants on your hands eating up valuable resources.

Do you have the time to comb through all of these resumes looking for the one or two candidates who might be a great fit?

Even with high traffic, another limitation of online job boards is the type of candidates that apply. Job boards are swimming with countless active candidates searching for employment, but most of the time, those candidates aren’t the ones you need. The ideal candidate for your position is most likely a passive candidate, one who is happy, gainfully employed and successful in their current position, but if they are approached the right way may be persuaded to take a look at your career opportunity.  

We are the solution

So now what? You know a job board isn’t going to help you find the correct person to fill open positions at your company, but what will?

We will.

At The James Allen Companies, we don’t post advertisements in hopes that the right applicant will knock on your door. Instead, our recruiters are out searching for the appropriate candidate and knocking on their door. We know how to find those passive candidates who would be an excellent fit for your company given the right opportunity.

Wetake the time to interview and evaluate candidates, getting to know the person behind the resume. By doing so, we can analyze whether or not the candidate has the correct skills, personality and previous success to meet your company’s needs. We focus on delivering only qualified candidates to your door.

Nothing costs a business more than an open position. Instead of wasting your payroll combing through endless stacks of resumes, we use our nearly four decades of experience to find you better candidates faster, saving you money. While using online resources to find candidates that fit your business is tempting to many, partnering with The James Allen Companies is your best chance for finding quality applicants. We are the experts at locating, obtaining and delivering candidates that best fit your needs. To learn more about us or speak with one of our experienced recruiters, give us a call at (573) 334-3688 or visit our website jamesallenco.com.

How to kill your career in one easy step

How to kill your career in one easy step

At The James Allen Companies, we are continuously working in earnest to help our candidates avoid the pitfalls and predicaments that threaten to undermine their attempts to further their professional success. Throughout the process, from the first resume to the first day at their new company, we leverage years of experience to help the individuals with whom we work navigate the unpredictable job market and improve their lives. Unfortunately there is one danger that stands above the others, luring too many candidates into the rocks with its siren song and forever leaving them professionally stranded:  the counteroffer.

 

We’ve written at length about the trap that is the counteroffer, but its recent resurgence has inspired us to remind our candidates of just how deceptive a counteroffer is, especially in today’s candidate-driven job market.

 

COUNTERACTIVE

If your goal is to advance within your career, there are few things you can do that are worse than accepting a counteroffer. Advancement requires courage. Accepting a counteroffer is hardly intrepid. A counteroffer is the quickest way to neutralize your career, ensuring nothing except that your path forward will only be more difficult. Your current employer will only see a person halfway out the door, which means opportunities for growth and promotion will be all but null. The company you turned down will no longer view you as a trustworthy option. With a tattered reputation and no viable options, the best you can hope to gain by accepting a counteroffer is maybe a little more money and only for as long as your current employer keeps you on board.

 

COUNTERPRODUCTIVE

The great fallacy of the counteroffer is that it is the successful result of leveraging an offer against your present employer. There is only one real winner when a counteroffer is accepted:  your employer. A counteroffer buys them time. Time to use your energy and insight to resolve projects and time to find your replacement. If a counteroffer wasn’t advantageous for them, they wouldn’t extend it. And if they realized and respected your value, it shouldn’t have taken the threat of departure to earn their attention.

 

COUNTERINTUITIVE

If you think of a counteroffer as an “option,” think again. The time to vie for improving your current employment is not in the eleventh hour. No one likes to be on the receiving end of an ultimatum, especially an employer who, on top of feeling pressured, likely feels betrayed. Accepting a counteroffer is essentially pouring lighter fluid on the bridge between you and your current employer and then handing them the lighter. When the time comes (and it will) that your employer decides to ignite that bridge, you will be dismayed to discover that your relationship among recruiters and other companies has left you with little options and less opportunity.

 

If you are seeking other opportunities only with the intention of leveraging a counteroffer, stop. Aside from the enormous waste of resources you are creating for all those involved, you are taking active steps toward destroying your career potential. If you are legitimately seeking a better opportunity, it won’t be found with your current employer. Don’t lose sight of the reasons you decided to pursue a new organization, and don’t cost yourself a better position and a greater opportunity by falling for the counteroffer trap.

Getting the Most out of Your Recruiter:  Communication is Key

Getting the Most out of Your Recruiter: Communication is Key

As we approach the conclusion of our series intended to equip candidates with key insight integral to their success, let’s consider what we’ve covered and how this final installment fits within the greater theme. In the first chapter of the series, we began with the end in mind. We discussed the dangers of counteroffers and how they can upend your professional growth. In the second chapter we approached the other end of the process, helping you understand why now is the time to capitalize on today’s candidate-driven market. From making the decision to explore opportunities to overcoming counteroffers, it is vital that candidates listen to and communicate with their recruiter.

 

The importance of open and honest communication may seem obvious, but its value to the recruiting process cannot be overstated. What we must reinforce is that the recruiter’s goal is to make the best possible match between candidate and company. We are trying to help individuals elevate their careers, and to do so, there needs to be reciprocal communication at all stages of the process.

 

MAKING THE DECISION TO MOVE

A career change can be a dramatic, life-altering occasion, and we believe that it is not something to be entered into lightly. We want to help our candidates improve their professional lives, and we believe that how that affects their personal lives is paramount. Among the numerous variables to consider, we stress that compensation should not be at the top of the list. Finding the right organization is more than finding the one that will pay the most directly out of the gate. Geography, company culture, and opportunities for growth should be among the most important factors a candidate considers when deciding to seek out new opportunities. It’s to the candidate’s benefit to be thoroughly transparent with their recruiter about why it is they would consider a change and what it is they are truly looking for.

 

THE PROCESS

From preparing and polishing one’s resume to prepping for interviews, a candidate needs to keep in mind that the recruiter is more than a conduit between themselves and potential employers. When given the complete picture of a candidate’s needs and wants, a recruiter can be an effective advocate. Throughout the process, recruiters are most effective when they have honest feedback both from the employers and from the candidates. Additionally, not only is it vital that communication be open and honest, but it should also be timely. Being slow to respond or completely unresponsive erodes leverage that might help recruiters assist candidates in pursuing and achieving their favored opportunities.

 

TRANSITIONING

Recruiters like us at The James Allen Companies do not consider the job completed once a candidate has accepted an offer. The transitioning phase can be one riddled with questions and concerns for all parties involved. Continuing to maintain open and available communication helps ensure this process goes as smoothly as possible.

 

At The James Allen Companies, we are committed to creating matches between employers and candidates that exhibit the potential to be mutually beneficial. We want to help organizations find the people best equipped to help them grow, and we want to help candidates land opportunities with the promise of helping them achieve their professional goals. Ultimately, what is most important for our candidates to understand is that we are concerned with helping you achieve those goals, and we have the best chance of success when there is consistent and reliable communication through all portions of the process. The more engaged a candidate is, the more likely we are to succeed.

Getting the Most out of Your Recruiter:  Understanding Counteroffers

Getting the Most out of Your Recruiter: Understanding Counteroffers

If you are potentially open to exploring new opportunities, a recruiter can be a valuable, if not vital, ally. The benefits of a dedicated recruiter go beyond providing access to options, which in and of itself is a hefty benefit. A quality recruiting professional can provide the resources and recommendations to help you stand apart from other applicants, and they do this at no charge to you. To provide candidates with a better understanding of how recruiters can help them, we have developed this series to present three unique perspectives of the job search and hiring process and how a recruiter can help you overcome obstacles and create opportunities. We will discuss everything from better understanding how the overall insurance market is ideal for dedicated and driven professionals to elevate their careers to the importance of communication throughout the process. While this series does not entirely encompass the total value of a recruiter, it should provide you with a greater understanding of their necessity throughout the process.

 

In his bestselling work The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey urged his readers to “begin with the end in mind,” and that’s what we’d like to do in this series, which is why we open with one of the final hurdles of the hiring process:  counteroffers. The topic of counteroffers is an apt one because it should serve as a reminder of why you began the process, and why it is important to understand a counteroffer for what it really is.

 

WHY ARE YOU POTENTIALLY OPEN TO A CHANGE?

At The James Allen Companies, when we approach a potential candidate with an opportunity, we are interested to know what factors are important in a new opportunity. Salary is only one component but it can’t be the sole reason for considering a change. In the full spirit of disclosure, we are exceedingly hesitant to work with individuals whose only driving force is a better salary. We are looking for dedicated and driven professionals who have the vision to look beyond salary and consider other cultural and professional factors. If we feel that your aspirations and attributes are a match with our client, then we help facilitate and navigate the process. If the process culminates in an offer, then you may have to contend with a counteroffer. If a counteroffer occurs, it creates an opportunity to reflect on why you chose to seek out and accept a new position with a new company. It is also a good time to refresh yourself on the truth and consequences regarding counteroffers.

 

A WOLF IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING

Before going any further, it’s imperative to see a counteroffer for what it really is. Keep in mind that at this point you have accepted an offer from a company excited to bring you on board. The counteroffer is presented when you tender your resignation for your current company. In reality, the counteroffer is an insult, a last-ditch effort to save the company from an inconvenience. Loyalty is vital, and a counteroffer is the opposite of loyalty. It’s an act of desperation that your former employer will use to allow themselves more time to find your replacement. To accept a counteroffer is to sacrifice more than a great opportunity, but it is to sacrifice your reputation, and all for an empty gesture that will most assuredly end poorly.

 

WHAT IF YOU ACCEPT THE COUNTEROFFER?

If you were to accept a counteroffer from your current employer what can you reasonably expect to change other than your salary? If you’re lucky, nothing will change, but statistics suggest you probably won’t be that lucky. According to numerous industry reports, 70 to 80 percent of people who accept counteroffers either leave or are let go within a year. Either you discover that the same reasons that led you to seek new opportunities persist and you find yourself back on the hunt (only now, most likely, with one less option since the company whose offer you rejected in favor of the counteroffer is likely no longer interested), or your company retains you long enough so that they can seek out your replacement. Even if you are one of the 20 to 30 percent of people who make it beyond that year, how will you handle future negotiations? How do you think you will be received in future negotiations? Accepting a counteroffer doesn’t move you forward but only keeps you mired in the past.

 

If the only way to inspire your company to reward you is through the threat of accepting a new offer, is this the kind of company in which you really have a future? You sacrifice more than just a new opportunity when you accept a counteroffer. You sacrifice your reputation with your current employer, other companies and recruiters. Ultimately, a counteroffer is never going to take into account the most important reasons for seeking out a new opportunity. A counteroffer is not going to improve your professional ambitions. It is not going to improve your career. What it should do, however, is remind you why you chose to move on in the first place, and why you’ve made the right choice.

Why Passive Candidates Are Like Bananas

Why Passive Candidates Are Like Bananas

When referring to the candidate market, the term market is often used in relation to candidates as a commodity, but the more traditional definition of the word as it pertains to a store is also applicable. To run with this analogy, we have to think about candidates as products, but we also have to be careful to not lose track that unlike typical products on a store shelf, candidates aren’t simply there for the taking. They are in greater control of their destiny than a bag of chips or a case of water. Unfortunately, too many prospective employers misunderstand the candidate market and cost themselves exceptional professionals in a market where the shelves are not so easily replenished.

 

Candidates Have a Shelf Life

Candidates aren’t canned goods. They aren’t going to sit on the shelf forever. In the words of a fellow recruiter, when it comes to explaining “the lifespan of a person’s psychological excitement when approached with an exciting career opportunity,” candidates are like bananas. After about a week on the shelf, bananas have passed the threshold for most people’s taste preference. When searching for talented professionals to meet your staffing needs, it’s important to understand that the best are not products filling the shelves. The best candidates aren’t really candidates at all. They are passive talent. Fresh and handpicked. Like the freshest produce at your local market, these professionals are only going to remain ripe for your opportunity for a limited time.

 

Supplies Are Limited

It takes extensive experience and a concerted effort to locate the best passive talent to match the unique needs of an organization and specific opportunity. Our experience has proven that the best are rarely already on the shelf, and they are even less likely to remain available after they’ve been given the chance to consider new opportunities. As we’ve already established, passive candidates have short shelf lives. It’s equally important to understand that there isn’t a deep back stock of candidates with the right combination of qualifications and culture like those we present to our clients. If you allow a candidate’s interest to expire, don’t be surprised to not find another as talented or as qualified.

 

Beware Other Shoppers

When professionals are recruited for specific opportunities, it’s important to keep them focused on the client for whom they have been sourced. But this is where the market analogy begins to break down, because as much as we can make these comparisons, candidates aren’t products, they’re people, and when people are made aware of one opportunity, it isn’t long until they grow curious about other opportunities. The goal is to encourage smooth and seamless processes that keep candidates excited about the specific opportunity, but there is only so much that can be done to maintain their interest. In the end it is not the candidate, but your opportunity that becomes the banana, and the longer they wait the more sour it becomes to them.

 

Ultimately, the market works both ways. Candidates have expiration dates, but so do opportunities. When a passive candidate moves past their expiration date, they either move back into the comfort zone of their current position or they move on to a newer opportunity. When an opportunity reaches its expiration date, it loses out on the best talent and either settles on less-qualified candidates or remains vacant, both of which can be a strain on the resources of an organization. Passive candidates have an exceptionally short life cycle and positions that are open too long quickly become less appealing to more discerning talent. At The James Allen Companies, we rely on years of experience and extensive sourcing to locate and present our clients with the most relevant passive talent. Our efforts uncover professionals that have the skills and background needed to not only fit the needs of the opportunity but also the culture of the organization. Often, the vital difference as to whether or not our clients are successful depends on how aggressively they move on the talent we present.