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What do candidates really want?

What do candidates really want?

We’ve talked a lot in the past few blogs about the importance of selling candidates on opportunities at your company, but that’s often easier said than done if you don’t know what candidates want. As markets change and new generations take their places in the workforce, expectations for employers change—and it can be hard to keep up. To help you out, we’ve broken down many benefits and perks today’s candidates are looking for when seeking new opportunities.

How important are benefits?

Recent studies show that benefits are among the top factors candidates consider when looking for new opportunities, but also that employers aren’t offering the incentives employees really want.

While only 10 percent of employees said benefits are the most important factor when accepting or rejecting job offers, 80 percent said they would take a job with good benefits over one with more money and 55 percent said they would accept a job with lower pay if there were better benefits. Benefits are vital for recruitment and retention, and by keeping track of the benefits candidates are interested in, you can set your business above the rest.

The benefits candidates want

Candidates value many things in the workplace. Competitive pay immediately comes to mind, but these days, the additional benefits and perks are even more important than financial gain.

Regarding traditional benefits, 88 percent of workers say health benefits are important to them. These benefits can include medical, dental, vision or any other health-based benefit or perk. However, only 44 percent of employers actually offer these benefits. That number is even lower when it comes to mental health benefits. Only 15 percent of employers offer these benefits to their employees.

Paid time off and paid parental leave are also cited as key factors to employees looking for opportunities. We all know how important it can be to take a few days off to take care of personal or family business or just get away from the office, but unfortunately, only 36 percent of employers offer paid time off and only 13 percent offer paid parental leave. These benefits, including the opportunity for flexible schedules, are especially beneficial for those with children or other personal responsibilities.

Additional benefits candidates look for are bonuses. Just over 40 percent of employers ranked bonuses (especially holiday bonuses) as a preferred perk. Sign-on and retention bonuses can also encourage candidates to accept your offer and continue to perform above expectations for years to come.


Recruiting and keeping employees can be hard when you don’t understand what they want. At The James Allen Companies, we stay up-to-date on market trends so we always know what candidates need. By partnering with The James Allen Companies, we will help you identify the right candidates for your business and help you identify the benefits you need to get those candidates on board. Give us a call today to talk with a recruiter about attracting and retaining the candidates you need to help your business grow.

How to Perfect Your Pitch to Candidates

How to Perfect Your Pitch to Candidates

With 2019 Major League Baseball season set to begin in just a few days, I got to thinking about the team dynamics of a baseball team. A baseball team has a 40-man active roster of both defensive and offensive players (batters as we call them). The nine men on the field playing defense all have their part defending the bases and monitoring the outfield with the catcher calling the shots for the pitcher. Every player is important, but the one that really determines how the game gets played is the pitcher.

Every team needs a good pitcher to throw those perfect no-hitter games. Think of your company in the same way. You have to be that perfect salesman, or pitcher, in order to get the job done. So how are you at pitching your company to potential candidates when there’s an open position at your company?

So, how do you make that perfect pitch?

The Details Matter

Selling your company to potential candidates begins with the job description. That initial pitch to your candidates needs to get them interested in the opportunity. Here are some basic tips to help you write the perfect pitch for your candidate. 

  • The job title. This is an obvious starting point for a job description as it literally tells a person what the position is. A good job title should reflect the nature of the job and the ranking order of where the position falls on the company’s roster.
  • A breakdown of daily tasks. Paint a picture for your candidate of what their day will look like in this position. You can include a breakdown of tasks by percentage, or, if the position is more flexible, explain what tasks will be completed throughout the course of the position.
  • The desired skills and competencies. These should be listed separately since they are two different things, however for the sake of time, we’re putting them together. Skills are activities that can be learned and measured over time like proficiency in Microsoft Office applications or other types of software. Competencies are the traits a person should be able to display for the position such as leadership or communication skills. 
  • Define the benefits. Telling candidates what they get from your company can set your company apart from others. If you offer good health insurance or paid time off, candidates will be more eager to pursue a position at your company.
  • Salary ranges. It always comes down to numbers. Candidates want to know they’ll be paid based on their experience and for the work they’ll put into your company. By offering a range, you can give a candidate a good idea of what their skills might be worth to your company.

Additional tips

Now that you know what elements you need for your perfect pitch, here’s some additional tips on how to make your pitch the best one in the league.

  • Spell check. Before handing over the job description to the recruiter who is helping you fill the position, check for any spelling errors and grammar mistakes. Make sure you check your formatting too. Big blocks of unorganized text can be an instant foul play in the eyes of a potential candidate.
  • Avoid cliches and focus on keywords. Don’t use terms like “rockstar” or “best-of-the-best” in a job description. Focus on terms that can actually be defined and measured so you don’t scare away candidates. You don’t want a candidate reading your job description to roll their eyes and move on to the next opportunity.

A decent job description can help set your company’s open positions apart from the rest, and while it’s only the first inning in the hiring game, it’s an important part of getting candidates interested.

At The James Allen Companies, we understand how important a good job description is for a candidate. With over 40 years of recruiting experience we know what can make or break a good pitch to potential candidates and can provide feedback and expertise on how to make your job descriptions perfect no-hitters.

What Your Silence Says to Candidates

What Your Silence Says to Candidates

Composer Claude Debussy said that music was the silence between the notes. An old adage states that silence is golden. Mark Twain reminded us that it’s better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than open your mouth and remove all doubt. There are a lot of ways to say it, but it seems to be universally accepted that silence is tremendously valuable. Except when it comes to hiring. The more silence you allow to invade the process, the more opportunity you give your competitors to steal away potential candidates.

Many companies are unaware of how the quiet spaces between the various stages can affect candidate enthusiasm, so we have outlined some of the more perilous areas where silence can be especially damaging.

After First Contact

Once you have made initial contact with a candidate, you cannot overestimate their excitement and tenacity. This is a crucial time where you can either start things on the right foot by reciprocating that desire to move further or you give them room to pause by leaving them in the dark. We all know that we only get one chance to make a good first impression, so it is vital that the impression candidates have of you is one that resonates clear communication and a healthy interest.

Throughout the Process

If you have decided to move a candidate forward to the next step, communicate with them how that transition will work. People want to know what to expect, and they like to know when to expect it. Transparency is crucial for both parties. As the hiring company, you hope for and expect honesty and clarity from those you hire. It stands to reason they deserve as much in return. At this crucial point, silence can be translated as a lack of interest, which can inspire your prospective hire to abandon the process or seek out companies who won’t leave them in the dark.

It Ain’t Over Til It’s Over

Even the companies that exhibit great communication throughout the hiring process can find themselves taking their eye off the ball. Perhaps you have found a great candidate. You’ve been responsive. They’ve interacted well. You extend a verbal offer, and they accept. This is the point where too many organizations allow themselves to become too comfortable and allow too much time to lapse between the verbal commitment and something more official. Even the best candidate can be fickle, and at this important stage, silence breeds restlessness. Restlessness leads to recklessness. And recklessness can include abandoning a stagnant verbal offer for something more concrete.

Shorten the Silence

It stands to reason that you cannot be in constant communication with a candidate, but it is vital that you minimize opportunities for silence. There are innumerable variables that can deter a candidate; therefore, it doesn’t make sense to create additional roadblocks. Additionally, by reducing the silence throughout the process, you shorten the overall time it takes to locate and place the right person. The less time you spend between the stages of recruiting, interviewing, extending an offer and onboarding, the less opportunity there is for disruption.

At The James Allen Companies, we help reduce the silence while allowing you to stay focused on your day-to-day business. We are not only experts at locating and attracting the best professionals, we focus on finding passive candidates and bringing your opportunity front and center. Additionally, we keep these individuals engaged throughout the various stages while reducing the overall time it takes to make a hire by facilitating the logistics associated with interviews, offer proposal and onboarding. Partnering with us improves both you the level of professionals you place and the enthusiasm and drive they bring to your organization.

Worried about retaining millennials? Start focusing on Gen Z.

Worried about retaining millennials? Start focusing on Gen Z.

Last December we published an article titled “Our Last Word on Millennials.” And we meant it. If you haven’t already gone through the process of addressing your hiring processes and adjusting them to target millennials, you’re too late. This is not to say that there still isn’t a vital need to continue to develop hiring practices that are designed with millennials in mind, but millennials no longer represent the incoming class of young insurance talent. Generation Z is matriculating as we speak and entering the workforce with a set of skills and ideas that won’t readily mesh with millennial-focused recruitment efforts (and don’t even think about refurbishing your Gen X practices for this group).

 

For forward-thinking companies who recalibrated to attract generation viewed as the polar opposite of the baby boomers, their millennial recruiting victories may be short lived. Now, as the economy flourishes and the job market begins to favor jobseekers, a new hurdle is keeping the talent that they worked so hard to attract. When considering how to retain one generation, it may seem counterintuitive to discuss how to attract the next generation, but a closer look reveals that the two issues go hand in hand.

 

Forward-thinking Practices Breed Commitment

If you think millennials are eager to jump ship for the next best offer, please refer to the article linked in the first paragraph. The myth that millennials are more likely to switch jobs is long debunked. They represent a generation that witnessed a collapse of the job market and what is most important to them is security. Most job changes made by millennials are not motivated by their current wants but by their desire to increase their chances for a more financially stable future. The way your company approaches hiring Gen Z is a reflection of your perceived longevity. Companies that are mired in old practices do not instill a great amount of confidence in their millennial employees. Millennials want to work for companies that are continuing to think about and work for a profitable future. When you actively work to attract this young class of talent, you send a message to your millennial workforce that you care about their future.

 

The Future of Insurtech

As the ongoing talent crisis created by the mass exodus of boomers has many companies working to find and promote millennial talent into the roles being made vacant by these vertical shifts, the demand for innovative technologies within the insurance sector continues to rise. While there are certainly individuals of all generations skilled in this particular segment, it will take a concerted effort to attract Gen Z to satisfy the entry level tech needs of an evolving insurance landscape.

 

The impending changes to the insurance industry as it relates to technology are inevitable. In the coming weeks, we at The James Allen Companies will continue to provide meaningful content regarding the growing field of insurtech. We also understand that at the core of the insurance industry is people, and we believe that the most important factor in meeting the changing technology needs of the industry is attracting the right people. The first step toward solidifying your company’s future and instilling a sense of security among your team begins with a renewed focus on bringing in the next young generation of insurance professionals.

Getting the Most Out of Your Recruiter:  Capitalizing on a Candidate’s Market

Getting the Most Out of Your Recruiter: Capitalizing on a Candidate’s Market

In our first installment of this three-part series focusing on the advantages of a quality recruiter for candidates we took you to the end of the process:  counteroffers. We did this for a number of reasons. Counteroffers are historically and statistically a detriment to the candidate. They serve as little more than an insult from a current employer who is likely doing what they can to retain an employee long enough to find their replacement. Accepting a counteroffer is also a quick way to irreparably damage one’s reputation, sending the message to the current employer, the prospective company and the recruiter that a candidate lacks integrity and honesty. Another reason why accepting a counteroffer can prove to be counterproductive is what brings us to this, our second installment on Getting the Most Out of Your Recruiter.

 

THE MARKET SHOULD MOVE YOU FORWARD

It’s little mystery that today’s insurance job market is candidate driven; however, it is this type of environment that can allow candidates to become a little too complacent. A candidate-driven market is not enough on its own to put insurance professionals on the fast track to success and upward mobility. Using the rising demand for talent as a lever within your current company is an enormous misstep, as it relates to the market. There are undoubtedly great opportunities out there for talented professionals with the dedication and drive to capitalize and further their careers. That being said, it makes little sense to use those opportunities as empty threats to pressure your current employer into offering a little more salary.

 

THE FOREST FOR THE TREES

With a candidate-driven market you will likely find many qualifying opportunities. Perhaps too many. This is really where one begins to appreciate the value of an experienced and knowledgeable recruiter. Understanding markets and knowing companies is their profession. Tasking yourself with evaluating multiple opportunities while balancing your current responsibilities can be more than difficult, it can be impossible. Working with a recruiter entrenched in the insurance industry provides you with a perspective that can focus your search and help you connect with an organization that can truly offer you the ability to maximize your career potential.

 

A CHANCE TO STAND APART

While every other candidate is relying on the market to do the work for them, these are the conditions in which the best can truly separate themselves from the pack. The market is like a current that has potential to carry candidates down the river, but those with the tenacity to still swim will find that they will go much farther, much faster. So how does one swim with the current? Many candidates approach this market with a “what’s in it for me” mentality. Imagine the refreshing shock potential employers will experience when they interview individuals who show up prepared, professional and interested in how they can help the company. Organizations will cling tightly and reward dearly those forward-thinking professionals who exhibit the willingness and the aptitude to go above and beyond regardless of what the job market dictates.

 

At The James Allen Companies, we have long been helping great people connect with great organizations in all job climates. We bring years of real industry experience and recruiting expertise to the table, which carries a great deal of weight with the clients for whom we recruit. The insurance job market today is positioned in such a way that candidates who are savvy enough to utilize the services and commit to the advice of experienced recruiters can enjoy success like never before.

How to Lose a Candidate in 10 Ways

How to Lose a Candidate in 10 Ways

Are you worried about attracting great professionals? Are you concerned that your hiring process might be making too positive of an impression on potential hires? Cast your worries aside. If you think you might be at risk of getting dynamic and talented individuals excited about your organization, The James Allen Companies has curated a list of the 10 most surefire ways you can drive away the best and brightest and keep your company from competing at the highest levels. Even for companies striving to grow and succeed by hiring great candidates, the list stands as a reminder of the mistakes that can cost your organization a chance at the best passive talent.

 

  1. Take Your Time

    When we search for candidates for our clients, we look for the most impressive passive talent that truly matches the opportunity and your organization’s culture. So when we present these proven professionals to you, be sure to stretch out your interview process for as long as possible. Nothing tells a highly qualified candidate that you couldn’t be less interested in them or more incompetent than draining every last bit of energy they have for your opportunity. An added bonus is that they may tell their colleagues how drawn out and painful your interview process was, ensuring that you’ll lose out on attracting other talented professionals.

  2. Assume They’re Jobless

    As we said, we seek out passive talent who are too focused on succeeding to be active in the job market. These individuals are employed and successful, but that doesn’t mean you have to treat them that way! If you want to drive away a great fit, there’s nothing quite as effective as making them feel like they should be thanking you for even taking the time to talk with them. Make sure you let them know early and often that they’re lucky to even have a chance at your opportunity, regardless of their past and present successes.

  3. Make ‘Em an Offer They CAN Refuse

    So you’ve been dragging out the interview process. You’ve made it clear that you believe you are their only hope in ever finding gainful employment (regardless of the fact they are already employed). But they’re still listening? Now it’s time to play hardball. If they haven’t figured out just how little you think of them, nothing sends the message of how little you value great talent by putting a paltry price tag on them. If you know what they’re making, offer them less. That’ll show them what you think they’re really worth.

  4. What’s Better Than One Great Passive Candidate?

    Ten mediocre active candidates! We have stressed in the past that the best and brightest candidates are most often those that are currently employed and not actively seeking new opportunities. The easiest way to discourage these great individuals is to bypass them altogether. By sticking to unhappy and underqualified applicants, you’ll avoid the exhausting work of scaring away impressive passive candidates.

  5. Put Them in the Pile

    Just because these great passive candidates didn’t come to you like the average applicant doesn’t mean you can’t treat them like any Joe Schmoe off the street. Sure, they aren’t even actively pursuing new opportunities, but by telling them to fill out an application before you’ll even consider speaking with them, you are all but ensuring they remember why they dislike the entire process, sending them back to the arms of their current employer.

  6. Resumes: Interviews For Dummies

    One expert solution to reducing passive candidates to nothing more than a faceless name is to distill them down to a single sheet of paper. Taking a three-dimensional professional and basing your entire perception of them on a two-dimensional piece of paper is an excellent way to keep them disenchanted and in the dark. Remember, there’s nothing a candidate can tell you about their vast experiences that you can’t learn from a few brief lines of text on a resume.

  7. “Why Do You Want to Work With Us?”

    Let’s not forget these passive candidates weren’t looking for a new career. They certainly weren’t looking for you. They may not even know anything about you or your organization. Still, that shouldn’t stop you from making it very clear that they are very lucky to have an audience with you. If you want to take this strategy up a notch, passively imply you don’t think they’re quite qualified while also dismissing their credentials.

  8. Keep Them Waiting

    Don’t limit yourself to only delaying the overall process of interviewing and making a decision. Take every opportunity to keep candidates waiting, apprehensive and uncomfortable. A key moment to express just how disinterested you are in a passive candidate comes at the interview. If you have the interview scheduled for 9:00 A.M., the candidate will most likely be there early. Keep them waiting until about 9:20 just to give them adequate time to really question your culture and begin reconsidering the opportunity altogether.

  9. Make it About the Money

    The best professionals in the industry are serious about what they do and they do it well, which is why you will want to ignore everything about the opportunity and cut straight to the chase. Keep it general and talk primarily about the financial reasons. If they’re only there for the money, then it’s only a matter of time before they leave again. And then you get to start the whole process over! This is a really great tip for not only pushing away serious individuals but for also landing employees who are only motivated by the most superficial factors.

  10. Candidates are Mushrooms…

    So feed them crap and keep them in the dark. A common theme among our tips is making them wait, and then making them wait a little longer. The best time to keep them out of the loop is after the interview. They are going to be eager to know how it went, which is why you want to withhold that feedback for as long as possible. And when you do provide it, keep it vague and noncommittal.

 

In all seriousness, we know you want the most talented and driven candidates that truly connect with your company’s mission and culture. We also know that an applicant being active and/or unemployed should not immediately discount that individual’s potential; however, the best candidates are usually the ones not currently seeking new opportunities. It then stands to reason that they are going to be the ones most easily turned off or discouraged by unnecessary delays and apparent disinterest. If you are interested in landing the best passive talent, like the professionals presented by The James Allen Companies, be sure to NOT follow the aforementioned tips.

Weathering the Talent Storm

Weathering the Talent Storm

In 2017, we sounded the alarm bell regarding the impending talent shortage that is to be a result of the massive retirement of Baby Boomers. By October of that year, according to data collected by Pew Research and the Social Security Administration, Boomers were entering retirement at a rate of 10,000 individuals a day. That is an astounding number, and it is not even close to slowing. In our Eleventh Hour series, we outlined the dire future for the face of insurance talent. In the opening article of that four-part report, we touched upon one statistic that estimated around 25% of industry professionals would be retired by 2018 and that by 2020 the industry could likely face nearly half a million vacancies. If the storm is upon us, we most likely have not even reached its eye. Now is the time to begin assessing the loss that is probably already occurring and is going to continue, as well as how your organization can not only weather the storm but find a way to succeed in spite of it.

 

Loss You Can’t Control

Burying one’s head in the metaphorical sand may be a good way to drown out the maelstrom of today’s talent climate, but it makes it impossible to make an honest assessment of the loss that is already occurred and develop strategies to counter that loss and defend against future vacancies. The first step is to accept the things we cannot change. Baby Boomers are retiring, and they’ve earned that retirement, so disregard any notion of trying to retain them because that’s only a bandage on a gaping wound. Whether it is today, tomorrow or two years from now, the most substantial sector of industry talent is packing their bags, and they’re not coming back. Now is the time to display to your upcoming talent how your organization honors and respects the years of service they’ve given your company. You may not be able to keep them, but you can make a lasting impression on younger generations in the way you help them exit.

 

Loss You Can Mitigate

If you’ve been proactive enough to keep your head out of the sand, then you are already headed in the right direction. If you are giving the appropriate attention to the exodus of Boomers, then you are doing even better, but be wary that while your back is turned, other companies are taking this opportunity to siphon away your next generation of leaders. There’s a reason why, when speaking about today’s talent climate, experts use words like “crisis” and “dilemma.” This is a storm that has not only ripped a hole in the front of the vessel, but it has also cut an opening in the back of the ship, causing you to incur losses from the bow and stern. While a portion of the loss is inevitable, there are measures that can be taken to improve retention of the valuable talent that is waiting in the wings. It’s important to note that when your competitors come for your upcoming talent, they aren’t going after your more disgruntled staff who are submitting to job boards and filling out online applications. Your competitors are using all means at their disposal to target your best and brightest employees. These professionals are ones you cannot afford to lose, and the ones most in your power to keep. As previously mentioned, the way you express your appreciation of your retiring professionals can send a strong message to your younger talent about the intrinsic value of your company. Efforts to promote retention can also have the added effect of attracting the new talent your organization will absolutely need to move forward.

 

The Best Defense is a Good Offense

Regardless of how incredible your retention efforts are, there is not enough talent on your bench to compensate for the inevitable losses that are occurring and will continue to occur over the next several years. Even the deepest benches will be exhausted either through promotion or losses to hungry competitors willing to do whatever it takes to replenish their own talent needs. Storms deplete resources, and this storm is no different. As we already mentioned, strong retention efforts can simultaneously increase the intrinsic value of your organization, attracting new professionals with the promise to help your company weather the storm. An added benefit of being proactive and acquiring high-quality professionals sooner rather than later is that it improves the overall atmosphere of your work environment, increasing your odds of retaining the talent you already have. Addressing your talent concerns early allows you to not only survive the storm, but it gives you the advantage to thrive during it. This means greater success now and in the future for your organization, and there is perhaps no better retention tool and talent magnet than success.

 

The James Allen Companies has been long studying the impending Baby Boomer exodus. Our research and extensive experience has allowed us to help a number of clients address the talent shortage that is already affecting the insurance industry as a whole. We are interested in doing more than filling vacancies. Our efforts allow us to deliver exceptional passive candidates, candidates who, like your best, are not actively seeking new opportunities because they are too busy producing results. We work with clients with the intention of promoting their success now and in the future. If you are ready to prep your business for the talent storm by hiring the most sought after professionals in the industry, contact The James Allen Companies today.

Our Last Word on Millennials

Our Last Word on Millennials

The end of 2017 is fast approaching, and as the year closes, we feel it is time to close the book on one particular topic that has dominated the hiring conversation for the past few years:  Millennials. We don’t expect this article to be the final word on the place of Millennials in the workplace, but it will be the final word for us. The time to debate just how terrible or great Millennials are is over. They are fast approaching the majority as the workforce. According to a study conducted by IBM, by 2020 Millennials will comprise 50 percent of the U.S. workforce. By 2030 they will represent 75 percent of the workforce. The time for pontificating over every outlandish claim that Millennials want to work solely from the comfort of their studio apartments or commute to their jobs in eco-friendly, refurbished Ferris wheels that are fueled by compost and hopes is over. Millennials are not the future of the workforce; they are the present, and it’s going to be okay.

 

In reference to the aforementioned IBM study, the insight and statistics provided are a sound representation of the myths versus the realities of the Millennial workforce, but it is also important to the context of this article to remind you that the study was conducted in the summer of 2014. At this time the age group for Millennials as prescribed by the study was 21-34. This means that by next summer, Millennials will be represented by individuals in the 25-38 age range. By the summer of 2020, when Millennials will be hitting 50 percent of the workforce, some of them will also be hitting 40 years old.

 

The goal with this, our last word on Millennials, is to confront a few of the enduring myths and, through the context of the IBM study, dispel them. While the study was a broad endeavor spanning 6 industries, the stereotypes and concerns addressed mirror those we have fielded within the insurance industry.

 

Millennials want different things from a career than older generations

Despite the insistence that Millennials are out to completely undermine or revolutionize the very concept of work, the research suggests otherwise. In fact, in regards to career goals, Millennials and Baby Boomers are almost identical in what they feel is important. Among the top goals for these two groups is to work for leading organizations and make a positive impact within that organization. If any generation is an outlier in terms of career goals, it is Generation X, who, at the time of the study, was comprised of individuals falling within the 35-49 age range.

 

Everyone should get a trophy

This has become the motto of cynics everywhere in regards to Millennials. Unfortunately for them, it doesn’t bode well in the face of the data. Millennials appear to be more concerned with working for leaders who value transparency and dependability rather than leaders who heap praise on their subordinates. While Millennials are more likely to value recognition than Generation X or Baby Boomers, the importance of this has been greatly exaggerated. Accolades are far less important to Millennials than fair treatment.

 

Millennials are eager to jump ship

Like every other generation in the workforce, Millennials strive for upward mobility within their career. They want to be able to grow and develop into roles that offer greater challenges as well as greater rewards. Are Millennials susceptible to making an organizational shift for their benefit? Yes, but no more than any other generation. In fact, individuals belonging to Generation X are more likely to change jobs for reasons of finance or passion than Millennials. The itinerant nature of Millennials seems to be more a product of the economic times rather than an internal desire to change jobs.

 

If Millennials are the future of the workforce, then the future was yesterday. But really, the most important thing to concentrate on when interviewing Millennials, or Gen-Xers, or Baby Boomers (and yes, you should be considering applicants from all these generations) is that they aren’t just a Millennial or a Gen-Xer or a Baby boomer. They are an individual, and if you interview well and listen closely, you might just learn what it is they are looking for, not as a member of some generational group, but as a person.

Understanding the Passive Candidate

Understanding the Passive Candidate

All signs within the insurance industry indicate that we are only moving further into a bear market in terms of accessible talent. As organizations continue to respond by shoring up their vacancies, it becomes increasingly more likely that the best fit for your open positions is already employed with one of your competitors. What makes this especially difficult is that the strategies and concepts typically incorporated by internal hiring departments are built out of an active candidate approach. These systems are designed to filter jobseekers who have sought out the opportunity and submitted documentation necessary to express interest. Unfortunately, as the pool of qualified talent continues to shrink, finding the best available talent through these means is often the exception rather than the rule. In order to compete at the next level, it is essential to apply a first-rate passive candidate approach.

 

The Statistics

While there is no direct statistics regarding the makeup of the insurance industry workforce as it pertains to active and passive candidates, there are some educated assumptions we can make when considering the greater workforce statistics. According to the article Recruiting Active vs. Passive Candidates, only 25% of the fully-employed workforce in the United States could be considered truly “active.” This means just what it implies, these members of the workforce are actively looking for a new opportunity, submitting resumes and applications. The remaining 75% of the workforce falls under the “passive” category, with a fifth of those being what could be considered on the cusp. Candidates on the cusp may be more inclined to consider new opportunities but still qualify as passive since they have not made steps to pursue a change in career.

 

How It Translates

If 75% of the entire workforce is comprised of passive candidates, the current state of competition for talent indicates that this percentage is probably higher within the insurance industry. As organizations struggle to find qualified insurance professionals due to baby boomer retirement and a dearth of millennial and Gen-X talent, the most qualified candidates are those already employed and, likely, not actively seeking new opportunities. What this means is that the traditional means of seeking candidates are going to yield very limited results.

 

Landing the Passive Candidate

Without the aid of an experience recruiting partner like The James Allen Companies, it is difficult bordering on impossible for organizations to locate, much less land, passive talent with their internal systems. This lack of interaction with passive candidates often inhibits these companies with understanding the intricacies of interviewing and attracting these individuals. The primary thing to remember is that the passive candidate was not looking, implying that they are, at least, satisfied with their current position. Hesitancy and delays are quick ways to lose your chance at what is most likely the best fit for the position you are seeking to fill. You cannot approach the passive candidate with the one-sided mentality that it is them who needs to sell their skills and expertise. With the passive candidate, it is just as important that you sell the candidate on why your organization is worth them pursuing the opportunity.

 

The most important thing to glean from this information is that if you are focused on finding the best possible candidates for your open positions, your best opportunity lies in passive candidates. And the best passive candidates are sourced by professional recruiters who understand the insurance industry. Once you have access to these candidates, however, it is vital that you recognize the best way to keep them interested in your opportunity. A swift hiring process that is expedited in favor of candidates with a strong and proven track record is an ideal example of how to improve one’s odds when attempting to secure passive talent. This is the added value of skilled recruiters like those at The James Allen Companies. We can provide you with the insight unique to each candidate, giving your organization the best chance of securing them. As the talent pool continues to dry up, the stakes are only getting higher. Take the most important step toward better talent today by reaching out to us.

The Eleventh Hour Part 4:  Investing in Education

The Eleventh Hour Part 4: Investing in Education

As we look to close our four-part series on talent-shortage crisis, we begin to look forward to better understand what the insurance industry can do to combat the impending deficiency of qualified leaders and personnel. To recap the major points of our Eleventh Hour series:  baby boomers are retiring en masse, leaving a large hole in leadership; millennials are opting for other career opportunities, creating an incoming talent pool that is too shallow to meet demand; while technology looks to compensate for this shortage, it introduces its own dilemma in that it exposes the insurance industry’s lack of technical talent; and generation X, which should be stepping in to fill the immediate need for leadership being opened by exiting boomers, is far too thin in terms of population to adequately meet this need. What these crises make clear is that there is an immediate need for talented professionals educated in the nuances of the industry.

The Higher Education Pipeline

One of the most optimistic areas in regards to the future of insurance talent is American higher education institutions. More American colleges continue to expand their risk management and insurance (RMI) programs. Currently, only 51 colleges offer a version of the RMI program. Graduates of these programs enjoy a high rate of employment, with the top schools boasting virtually 100% employment rates. While this is highly encouraging, the current graduation rate looks to only meet 10-15% of the insurance talent needs.

Learning on the Job

While institutions of higher learning grow their RMI programs, there is still an enormous dearth of talent in terms of meeting the rising demand. This is where a certain amount of burden falls to the insurance industry to promote educational opportunities from within. In the past we’ve referred to Tony Cañas and Carly Burnham’s book Insuring Tomorrow:  Engaging Millennials in the Insurance Industry. In this book Tony recalls the insurance companies of yore that offered incredible training opportunities for incoming employees. The insurance industry needs to more adequately prepare its current and incoming talent in order to effectively transition new leadership.

Meeting the Future

There is a clear gap in the acknowledgment of the industry’s growing shortage. As boomers continue to collect their gold watch and ride off into the sunset (or toward the Sunshine State), the demand for highly qualified and experienced leaders grows. But that demand is not reciprocated with a flourishing market. There comes a point when the industry must realize that the tree of leadership has long been picked, and it is time to grow a new generation of leaders. Companies must become creative and visionary, not looking for proven leaders, but instead looking for proven talent with leadership qualities.

The most difficult bridge to gap may be that of understanding. Recognizing there is a real and immediate dilemma is half the battle. The other half is responding. What we are already finding is that the most forward-thinking companies are already searching for tomorrow’s leaders in insurance. The talent pool of experienced leaders is not only shrinking, it’s all but dry, and many companies are engaging staffing experts, like The James Allen Company, with industry knowledge and experience. They leverage their experience to procure and place exceptional talent. We seek to truly understand our client companies and find future leaders that not only have the potential to provide long term success but also prove to be an immediate cultural fit. The best way to stay in front of the crisis is to partner with dedicated professionals with the experience to weather the storm.