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Are You Making Hiring Too Hard On Yourself? Agency Partners Can Help

Are You Making Hiring Too Hard On Yourself? Agency Partners Can Help

Corporate recruiters and internal HR managers are often faced with a daunting number of tasks to get the recruiting and hiring process underway and completed within a certain timeframe. This leads to stressed employees who struggle under unrealistic expectations and often settle for poor candidates who make due when a deadline looms.

That’s nerve wracking for everyone, especially if you’re large enough to always be hiring. It leads to burnout and a feeling that every person is a liability, not an asset. Your team deserves the help they need to hire properly and the freedom to focus on the people who will make your company better.

As an agency partner, we’re here to streamline the process and get you focused on securing the candidate. Your success is our success, which is why we provide three big benefits.

Get Access to the Best Talent Pool

Employee referrals are one of the best sources for hiring qualified talent who are happy in a new position and fit well within a company’s existing culture. People know their friends and former coworkers and can imagine them honestly in a new setting.

A review of recruiting in 2016 from Lever found that employee referrals account for about 16% of total hires, and a referred employee is 10 times more likely to be hired than a candidate who applies in the traditional way.

How can an agency like The James Allen Companies help you capture more referrals? We have the benefit of access to highly-qualified applicants. We also have a broad range of referral services and are often the first place people suggest when their friend or former coworker is looking for a new place of employment.

Candidates test the waters with recruiters because we allow them to see what’s available. Building a strong relationship with us provides you access to top talent looking for a change.

Pull Out The Weeds Right Away

You have make-it-or-break-it elements in your hiring process based on your experience. These can include needing someone who is a team player, having versatility so that every position is comfortable making presentations, or needing references for specific knowledge and skills.

When you get to the interview process, explaining these to each candidate and then doing your verification can take time and will often require work beyond the interview. This adds days to the process, slowing you down and forcing you to live with a skill gap for longer periods of time.

Recruitment agencies like us can help get these general questions and requirements out of the way for you before the candidate ever lands on your desk leaving you with a prioritized list of candidates that meet your requirements, allowing you to select from the best after we’ve separated the wheat from the chaff of the initial applicants.

Avoid the Common “No”

Candidates will decline job offers sometimes, which makes the arduous hiring process someone even more painful. Not only are we experts in helping you find the right talent for your needs, but we also can provide an additional ear for the candidate to learn about reservations and concerns, then help you to address those and turn a “no” into a “yes!”

We create a substantial number of opportunities to highlight why they should join you for the betterment of their careers. We gauge how a candidate may react to a counter offer from their employer, address resignation cold feet by showcasing your values, and maintain a clean line to candidates where they can ask us questions, encouraging consistent communication.

We Help, Not Hurt, Your Chance of Success

Remember, a talent agency like The James Allen Companies is just another weapon in your arsenal. You can use us tactically so that we bolster and support your hiring success, without harming your reputation or your standing.

Some corporate recruiters or HR managers will look down on getting outside help or see it as something that hurts their pride on an individual level. However, we work with you to find and land the best candidates, so you’ll actually be able to take pride in how well you’re performing when it comes to doing what’s right for your team, management, and company health.

You’re best candidate isn’t going to wait, and neither should you. Discover them today.

Are You Offering New Hires the One Thing They All Absolutely Want?

Are You Offering New Hires the One Thing They All Absolutely Want?

If you aren’t motivating candidates to work for you, then you’re missing the boat when it comes to landing today’s best talent.

Your current staff most likely already has their own motivation for coming to work, and those reasons are as varied as the people who enter your doors each day. During the hiring process it’s your job to determine at least one motivating factor for your preferred candidates and show them how your company can satisfy this.

Discovering and presenting the right motivation can boost morale, employee respect, productivity, and foster a working environment that people want to stay in for years to come.

Let’s Get Honest About Money

One of the biggest motivating factors for someone selecting a job is the belief that the work is personally meaningful. This is followed by (and studies differ on the order) feeling relevant, doing work that benefits society, stability, overcoming challenges, establishing a career path with advancement opportunity and the job making them feel happy or empowering them to pursue other things that make them happy.

Money rarely makes these lists of top motivational factors, but it always plays a role in overall motivation. Salary, benefits, bonuses, and other compensation allow your staff to acquire the standard of living they require to meet their needs and attain the lifestyle they desire.

The good news is that fair benefits and pay have always been a cornerstone of securing the talent a business needs. Providing for your employees allows them to pursue the motivations at work and in their daily lives, creating a strong underpinning for success.

Today’s market favors the job seeker, especially in high-skilled areas. Therefore, money should at least be treated like a basic motivation, and your offer will go much further when it is competitive.

Time to Look Past Money

One top factor in hiring and retaining the best and brightest is your ability to foster development.

Improvements in skills, capabilities and career have been and continue to be top motivational factors for staff of all ages and levels. What this means for your leadership is that they need to have a clear plan for helping your team and new employees improve themselves.

The Harvard Business Review puts it another way: “if you’re not helping people develop, you’re not management material.”

Their review  found that upwards of 90% of training and preparation for advancement takes place on the job and that employees understand this — even if they can’t peg the number, they understand that to advance they need to work in a place that will help.

These programs should be made apparent immediately. Older workers and younger workers feel they’ve earned the right to know how you plan to improve their professional lives.

Think of it this way: today’s worker doesn’t have an entitled attitude, they are empowered by the job market. Gallup notes that 93% of millennials left their company when they changed roles, and many cited that progression was unclear or they believed it had no growth opportunity.

That percentage of workers leaving their jobs shows little variation for other age groups when it accounts for employees who saw little to no opportunity for growth.

How Can You Motivate?

Not only is every person different, every office is too. There’s not one single thing that will work for everyone who reads this. However, there are a few proven methods you can try to establish at your organization that are also appropriate to discuss during an interview or the negotiation process.

  • Creating work holidays and celebrations. Building tradition helps your organization feel more like a family and create a bond of commitment.
  • Employee recognition programs. You don’t have to do anything too elaborate, but it should come off as genuine. When done in an honest way, it’s typically the best method to create motivation and build trust.
  • Provide ongoing training. Whether in-house or outsourced, training taps into motivations for personal, career and skills growth, which is important to most of your workforce.
  • Give employees control. Some motivations are best left in the hands of your employees, such as the ability to set and meet reach goals, taking responsibility for success and recognition. Tell potential hires that you have leeway for success and failure, plus you give your employees a chance to recognize each other when something comes together especially well.
  • Keep decision-making clear. No, don’t tell candidates that they’re going to sit in meetings all the time. This is about discussing how everyone is held to the same standard and ensuring them that everyone knows what that standard is. Clear expectations promote healthy relationships, foster development and make employees feel like their opinions and experiences are valid.

Those are just a few things your leadership can do to boost existing retention rates as well as come off as a top career destination for your next round of candidates. Be sure to check out our other advice on understanding today’s market that favors job candidates and how to target mid-level professionals as well as rising talent.

Are You Ready for a Market that Favors Job Candidates?

Are You Ready for a Market that Favors Job Candidates?

It’s a job seeker’s market, especially if you need to hire skilled, specific labor. If you haven’t adjusted your interview practices since the crash of 2008, you could be missing out on the best new talent in years.

Here are a few things you should consider when it comes to addressing, understanding and treating candidates in a good job market to land the big fish you need.

Understand the Market Realities

Minimum wage bumps have helped low-wage workers see their pay rise, while high earners continue to thrive as more of the competition (typically boomers) retire. It’s in the middle where things get a little tricky.

Men working in the middle-income space are starting to do better, but most of their gains are still focused on reaching pre-recession levels. Women are performing better than they were before the recession. Overall families are doing better.

Economists estimate $70,000 is what a family of four requires to adequately meet their needs in most places in the U.S. With lowering rates of unemployment, salary becomes the primary focus for many job seekers. This can translate to paying top dollar for highly-qualified candidates.

You can find a detailed analysis of what the job market means for different earners here.

Try to Get 75% of What You Want

Today’s employees want room to grow their careers, and that means opportunities for growth within your company. If you’re hiring candidates who have everything you need and want, they may feel stifled and unable to develop professionally within their roles.

By seeking someone who has most of what you want and the potential to learn the rest, you’re able to find a hungry employee that sees you as their career partner for years to come.

Growth and development matter and is often an overlooked, non-monetary incentive. When you’re discussing this with potential hires, showcase the potential for growth as a benefit.

Learn How to Translate What Candidates Ask For

Today’s job-seekers aren’t shy. They’re willing to ask for what they want, but it isn’t always said in standard business language so you might need to do some translation. Here are four “wants” we often hear from candidates and how you can translate them in your interviews and offers.

  1. I want to better myself: The employee will make choices focusing on personal development goals, such as learning a new skill or obtaining a new degree/qualification. You can highlight CE credits, financial support or ongoing learning opportunities you provide.
  2. I want to develop my skills: This is a little different because it signals an intent to grow through skills related directly to their job. It signifies a desire to grow within a role or unit, so discuss that possibility instead of a management track.
  3. I want to expand my career: This is where the management track comes into play. Discuss what you look for in people today who will be leaders tomorrow, plus make note of training or opportunities you provide to help people grow into that development role.
  4. I want work to be a challenge: Some people thrive in challenging environments, not only learning new tasks but also taking risks with new products and services. They do, however, run the risk of becoming bored. If you’re looking to expand into new realms, showcase these opportunities to candidates who want to be tested.

Make a Desirable Offer

You deserve to hear the plain truth: most offers we see fail just aren’t good enough. They tend to barely provide a lateral move, skimp on the benefits and don’t showcase the intrinsic value of the company.

The hard truth is that you’re most likely going to be interviewing talented people who already have jobs. Unemployment continues to decline, especially for skilled professionals, so your offer needs to be able to lure them away from their present company.

The good news is that you can ask what a candidate is looking for and consider what you can offer. Do they want flexible time or prefer to start (and end) the day a little later? Do they need certain benefits or want to make sure you’ll give them an afternoon off for their kid’s graduation in the spring?

All of the elements we’ve looked at before are necessary for a strong offer. Discuss what makes you unique, the flexibility you can offer, benefits, equality issues, room for growth and anything else that you would want to hear if you were on the other side of the table.

How To Sell Your Carrier To Top Talent: 3 Smart Decisions Designed to Showcase Your Values And 2 Bonuses to Help Close the Deal

How To Sell Your Carrier To Top Talent: 3 Smart Decisions Designed to Showcase Your Values And 2 Bonuses to Help Close the Deal

Competition in today’s job market isn’t only a concern for job seekers but for companies trying to attract top talent as well. Every interview is a two-way street where both company and candidate are looking for the best fit.

Countless online directories provide compensation estimates by job description in your area, lending potential hires valuable insight to income potential. That leaves your company’s culture and values as key differentiators.

You typically get three chances to present your values to each prospect, so here are the biggest things to check for with each opportunity, plus a couple of helpful hints that can take your hiring game one step further.

For the Listing: Focus on Freedom and Growth Benefits

When most people look at a large employer, they foresee a future that involves navigating internal politics and climbing a ladder that is complex but has plenty of rungs. You can use this to your benefit by noting ways your organization overcomes presuppositions, from flexible placements to progressive benefit options.

Sharing these cultural benefits in your job listing and description gives the impression to prospects that you are a company who is willing to provide the freedoms that studies from Gallup, Monster and others say are important.

On the Web: Your Site Should Cater to Customers and Candidates

You’ve likely come across company websites that showcase their corporate responsibility, volunteer work, environmental-friendliness and other positive traits outside of their normal operations. All of these efforts are designed to improve the company’s standing in the eyes of both customers and potential employees.

Today’s job seekers want to know that a company shares their values and culture. Your website is the launching pad from which this connection is made. This information should also be provided on your “Careers” page and the landing pages you provide in your job descriptions out on the Web.

Don’t be shy about the work you’ve done. If you’ve made a commitment to hiring more veterans, given to a specific charity, conducted food drives or other actions, share these. Go beyond just publishing your values and showcase them with company news and events to make your website attractive to the people who may want to work for you.

In the Room: Discuss Your Company Philosophy

Candidates often ask “what do you like about working here?” because they want to know that your environment is enjoyable. You can get ahead of this question and deliver all that information by discussing what you, as an individual, enjoy about your company and how it relates to the overall company philosophy.

Stick to tangibles such as the way that the company treats you and how easy it is to collaborate and solve problems, if there’s a favorite community service activity in which you’re engaged, speak to it and how it adds to your company’s culture and values.

Gallup has included “I have a best friend at work” in its core list of dimensions that describe great workgroups since the 1990s because people who agree with the sentiment report much higher levels of receiving and giving praise, making commitments to quality and feeling like their job is important. If you’ve made friends at work, it can be a positive thing to mention.

Bonus 1: Ditch Stock Photos for Real Photos

People respond very positively to images on a career page, especially when they’re interesting photos. But, you get the biggest bang for your buck when you create your own. Capture people and places as they naturally happen and visitors are more likely to view you as human and want to engage with your company and your job forms.

Bonus 2: Get an Added Boost From a Leading Recruiter

The biggest danger in these elements is the “oversell.” You need a blend of company culture, values, work, and staff to land the right candidates. The problem is that the best combination of these elements differs for each candidate.

Recruiters can help you understand what a person values most because we’re able to ask before your meeting, helping you prepare and ensuring you address what’s most important to them.

After the interview, we can also provide additional information to your preferred candidates, positioning you as better than the competition in areas that are important to the candidate as well as following up with benefits or discussing how you’ve followed up on interview promises with examples of career advancement, company growth and more.

Candidates typically see recruiters as impartial representatives, so it adds an extra value and weight when we discuss your company’s benefits and how they fit with the candidate’s goals. It’s a boost you can only get from a leading recruiter who understands you, your market and the people you want to hire.

When you’re ready to give your company the best opportunity possible in finding the right candidate to fit your skills needs and culture, contact The James Allen Companies, Inc. or call me directly at (573) 334-3688.

4 Best Practices for Targeting Mid-Level Career Talent

4 Best Practices for Targeting Mid-Level Career Talent

Your Company Needs to Approach Staffing Differently, and We’re Here to Help

Professionals in the middle of their careers and those entering middle management are the lifeblood of an organization, driving the specific actions that generate revenue. They are your front line in profitability and managing teams, making them vital to your future.

Unfortunately, demographic trends are leaving most companies without a growing middle-managerial staff. If you have not yet experienced this, you may soon find your organization in a position where your top talent is retiring, leaving a younger, less-experienced staff to take the reins, which can pose a significant risk to your operations.

Companies like yours are already fighting this problem by being prepared and creating long-lasting relationships with recruiters. At The James Allen Companies, we’re helping organizations like yours find the people they need, giving leadership the tools it needs to understand and assess these risks.

We have outlined four key points that drive the successful recruitment of your mid-level career talent and create a pipeline of leadership that propels you forward.

Prepare for the Market

Today’s labor market is undergoing significant change. As more industries move into the digital arena, we’re seeing positions shift in-house from outsourced operations, creating a greater workload and demand on staffs.

Specifically, for markets like yours, we see three big career trends hitting in 2017:

  1. Economists say the unemployment rate will fall further as the year progresses, so you’ll be facing a tighter race in the War for Talent. Prepare for increased discussions on salaries, benefits, perks, and a mix of new demands that may include telework or family leave options.
  2. Succession plans are vital, now more than ever as a greater number of Baby Boomers continue to retire. This is also the time to transform positions so as to make them more appealing to a more modern workforce (and save money in the long-term).
  3. Watch to see if your competition turns to staffing consultants. In 2015 and 2016, enterprises spent heavily to create relationships with a wide number of recruiters. At the end of 2016 and moving into 2017, that practice started moving to smaller companies as they became better aware of the ROI and competitive advantage it garnered them.

These trends imply that nearly every organization is going to need to change the way it thinks about recruiting and talent retention.

Take Time to Learn Your Audience

Who do you picture when you think of a mid-career employee? What attributes do you give them? How experienced are they? What do they care about?

These questions can help you begin to understand and approach mid-level career talent. And as you ask these questions, you may be surprised to learn that Millennials are entering your target zone.

Born as early as 1980, the first Millennials are in their late 30s and may have as much as 15 years of true professional experience. They’re not only hitting their stride, but they’re making a bigger mark than anyone else today. In April of 2016, Millennials officially became the largest generation in America, roughly one year after they became the largest generation in the labor force (by 2020, nearly half of all U.S. workers will be Millennials).

If you’re looking for talent that is ready to grow with your company, has years to stay in similar positions, plus has plenty of room to grow, make sure you’re looking in the right place and tailoring your business to meet them.

In regards to Millennials, it’s important to espouse your brand’s social responsibility efforts and stances. They’re not the first generation to want companies to give back — Gen X is sometimes even more demanding of this — so many companies already have a cause or purpose. It is vital that your cause is articulated on your website, in your promotional materials and in your interviews.

Put Your Company in Terms of Their Goals

Identifying your audience allows you to understand where they want to go in their career. In today’s professionals, from Boomers to Millennials, one of the more significant pushes is to view their employer as a flexible partner who provides meaningful work.

The days of demanding the big expense account and corner office are ending for most employees who are in the beginning and middle of their careers. They want to know that career and lifestyle can be balanced. But they’re also more willing to take work with them during those afternoons and weekends, so you have an opportunity to be considered a relationship as much as a source of income.

Present your company through individual connections: meetings and phone calls with candidates you’re interested in, instead of doing everything through email. When you’ve narrowed down your selection, try to add a personal touch when you recruit.

Develop a Relationship with a Committed Recruiter

Most of today’s businesses need to hire specific talent, but they have a small HR staff that’s already overwhelmed. If you’re in this situation, what do you do?

Instead of obtaining the services of a vendor, work to build a strategic, long-term relationship with a reliable partner who understands the nuances of your industry and can help you find quality candidates quickly. If you create this relationship before your need becomes critical, you’ll have someone in your corner who understands and can help your business.

Together we can develop a clear workforce plan that will help you expedite your hiring process and can even anticipate needs before they happen. Our goal is to save you money over the long-term by reducing turnover rates and letting you spend time with top talent, instead of having to sort through a mountain of resumes.

When you’re ready to find the right candidates for your mid-level positions and leadership opportunities by changing the way you think about creating a talent pipeline, contact The James Allen Companies, Inc. or call me directly at (573) 334-3688.

How a Long-Term Relationship with a Recruiter Can Improve Your Entire Operation

How a Long-Term Relationship with a Recruiter Can Improve Your Entire Operation

For many businesses, recruiters are just the front line in the hiring process, helping screen out the mountain of uninteresting or irrelevant resumes, lining up the few viable applicants and sending them through the gates to run the gauntlet.

Working with businesses large and small, we’ve seen this a lot, and it’s time to have an honest conversation about why this approach will hurt your business and make every additional hire take longer than it needs.

Maintaining communication and understanding that we’re more than just a reference check or a spell check for a resume has led to major success for some of our clients. We keep in touch with businesses who have successful hires or move into a new area, and we reach out to help them grow when we find the right talent.

Your business is always looking at what’s next and where it can grow. Here are five reasons why you should work with a recruiter now and stay in touch with them beyond the couple months it takes to meet your current staffing needs.

We Always Keep an Eye Out for Talent

Since we work with new clients every month, we’re always building a roster of candidates and businesses who need help. When you’re ready to begin the search for top talent, we aim to have applicants ready and waiting to start the interview process.

Our business relies on your growth, so we look for talent who can help you grow. The better we know you, the easier it is for us to provide the most qualified candidates. Every time you come back, we take the lessons learned in your last hiring and refine the process, so we’ve got an eye out for the talent that’s right just for you and your growth.

We Know Your Competitors and Their Staff

When you start looking for top talent and leaders with years of experience in the field, you have to look beyond the initial efforts that secure a flood of resumes.

That often means looking at your competition to see who they have, how long those people have been at their current position, and gauging interest in making a move to a new home. We do competitor research to highlight your values and offerings, allowing us to position you as a valuable resource.

Additionally, when the best people are looking to move, we’ve already spent time getting to know them and what they’re looking for, allowing us to meet your needs that much sooner.

Our Finger Is Always on the Pulse of Industry

You and your competitors are often growing in tandem, focusing on what’s new in your industry.

The goal of the recruiter is often to look past departments and even individual industries to find the bigger picture on the horizon. Understanding this larger context helps us know what’s coming and how to best position you to take advantage of it.

For example, family leave policies are becoming more and more important for a wider range of employees. Millennials are looking to start families and want to avoid losing their job or benefits if they need to take off some time with a new child. Older employees may be dealing with age-related illnesses and conditions for spouses or parents.

Highlighting that you offer flex time so that they can manage and adjust care would make your offer very compelling, sometimes even if your budget makes the payroll offer slightly lower than a competitor’s.

Think of it like selling your home. You know how much you love it and how much you think it’s worth, but it is likely that a realtor better understands how the market values your home and what sellers are wanting to see in it.

We Know Your Problems and Your Value

While you and your competitors may grow in similar ways, your journey to growth is unique. Your daily office life is unique, as are the ways you celebrate your team. This creates a specific value that only you can offer.

In times like this, there are many external factors that are creating significant concerns in today’s biggest industries. We recently looked at the “War for Talent” that’s going on in the insurance space, but know that many other companies are facing similar talent shortages and increased competition.

As a recruiter, we marry your business and these trends so that we’re able to articulate your value in a way that the modern workforce sees as meaningful. It’s part of the three big problems we solve, which you can learn about here.

We Can Save You Money Today and Tomorrow

Recruiters like The James Allen Companies are experts at finding candidates and placing them in the right location to help your business. We do this by streamlining the process to identify, verify, evaluate and present talent.

Not only does this decrease the time it takes you to interview and hire, but we’ve mastered the process in ways that save you money. Here are just a few ways your bottom line benefits from working with us:

  1. We sift through resumes to find the gold, so all you see is gold.
  2. We always look for multiple candidates, so you’re never stuck with someone you don’t want to hire.
  3. We manage job hunter expectations, so you are placed competitively compared to industry salaries, benefits, perks and offers.
  4. We provide the candidate with an honest review of you, giving them an independent look at what you offer and another voice to share how great of a company you are.
  5. We offer a path of continuous improvement. Many companies return to us after a successful placement to bolster their team, address weaknesses or move into new areas. Because we’re already focused on your industry, we can provide knowledge about comparable talent, team design and much more.

Just like any friendship, we get to know you and your goals for the company. This allows us to have honest discussions about what’s possible, who is available and where opportunities may be. We’ll help you address gaps right now with a streamlined process, so you’re not paying HR overtime. Then we’ll help you with future growth so you can push into new avenues with the right talent at the right time.

When you’re ready to start a long-term relationship designed to save you money while ushering in the right talent you need to grow and expand, contact The James Allen Companies, Inc. or call me directly at (573) 334-3688.

Is Your Company at Risk in The War on Talent?

Is Your Company at Risk in The War on Talent?

We recently shared an interesting look at “Insurance: The War for Talent” on our Employers page, and we thought it was important enough for a deeper dive. This blog post will look at some of the chief points and concerns it addresses, plus how you can see if your company is getting caught up in this war.

So, let’s get started with the meat of the issue: there’s going to be a vacuum for middle managers, and they aren’t positions the industry can afford to leave unfilled.

Problem 1: Industry Turnover Could Exceed 50% over 10 Years

A large majority of the insurance industry workforce is nearing retirement — and many professionals are working past the “traditional” retirement age. This means a large portion of industry knowledge rests within people who are preparing to leave.

It also, unfortunately, means that many mid-level career professionals have left the insurance industry because they had little room for advancement. As other industries, from financial services to large enterprises, begun to seek out the same skills as insurance professionals, these mid-level managers had opportunities that lured them away from the insurance market.

That leaves most carriers facing a knowledge gap when more than half of their senior talent leaves in the next 10 to 15 years, says Larry Pistell, Senior Associate Director of Corporate and Industry Relations at the Center for Professional Education at St. John’s University’s School of Risk Management, Insurance, and Actuarial Science(SRM).

Problem 2: Carrier Decisions Typically Involve Millions of Dollars and Need Smart Data

Leadership at today’s carriers consistently make decisions that involve multi-million dollar limits and sums insured. Working across an enterprise can quickly scale, so their work can quickly put you at risk if the information your leadership is working with has flaws or is not properly maintained.

The information that is used to create baselines, understand trends, monitor the market, and plan for growth is typically generated at the mid-manager level. They know local and regional markets and can drill down to understand success rates and product demands, filtering the most important information and sending it up the flagpole.

This worry is actually two-fold.

  1. If you start losing these employees or are forced to fill management roles with individuals who don’t understand how to look at the market, your leadership runs the risk of making a mistake by relying on improper information. Trend analysis will be skewed and may cause an improper focus. The good news is that there are multiple avenues to review and check this data so that the risk can be mitigated.
  2. What’s perhaps more important is when you are a victim of the “War on Talent” and lose people who are vital to your departments, even if not in leadership. Those with 15 to 25 years of experience who have seen trends come and go, or understand the data because of their experience, may know how to properly present information and what’s relevant to collect. Filling gaps with whomever you can find means you run the risk of skills gaps that create improper data and knowledge at the bottom levels, creating cracks in the foundation that can eventually reach all the way to the top.

Or, as Pistell puts it: “Those working for insurance enterprises need considerable knowledge/skill if they are to avoid costly errors.”

Problem 3: The Talent Pipeline Is Small

The “War for Talent” authors note that there are fewer than 40 formal, full-time training programs at U.S. universities and colleges that specialize in risk management and actuarial science for the insurance professional.

These programs also tend to be small, with about 3,500 students each year. That’s a significant concern when you think of the thousands of baby boomers expected to still be working but ready to retire in the coming years.

Unfortunately, you can’t march into your local college and demand that it teaches and trains more students and then guarantee that they’ll stick around to work for you if and when your set of positions open up. These students are going to be in demand and will likely be snapped up shortly after graduation — some may even have jobs waiting for them already after having proven themselves as a summer or winter intern.

Pair that with the growing number of competitors to carriers, such as independent agents and brokers squeezing into your space, and you’re looking at a gap that will become more difficult to fill each day on your own.

Solution: Working with a Top Recruiter

Every company needs a game plan to succeed in the future, but the most successful plans will break from today’s established hiring practices. Changes are already underway, and it’s not time to react, it’s time to create a proactive solution.

Working with a top talent recruiter has already proven to be the best path for creating that proactive effort for large insurance carriers. The “War on Talent” is an important concern and answering its problems gets significantly easier when you find an ally who already knows how to solve what you’re facing.

Solving Problem 1

Losing 50% of an industry can be catastrophic when you only work internally. If you only know how to target employees already within a carrier infrastructure, then you risk competition for a small pool and losing out on all of your opportunities.

Recruiters can identify talent that will be outside of this retirement boom and are in the middle of their career. We pay personal attention to your company’s needs as well as understand the needs of potential hires so that we can help you articulate your value.

That allows you to target people who won’t be leaving the workforce soon and are a fit for your needs and values.

Solving Problem 2

By 2025, 75% of the workforce will be millennials. Carriers who are becoming leaders are already starting to adopt a millennial workforce. And, that’s great news.

Millennials tend to rely more on technology and have a better understanding of data, but they do need more direct interaction and intervention to work with larger corporations. A recruiter can help you address this demographic that has the data understanding you need to properly prepare for multi-million-dollar business decisions because we know their habits and desires.

We’ll work with them to see your value and help you understand the skills they have when they rise above their peers.

Solving Problem 3

Increases in competition mean you need to be more strategic about your hires. That includes looking for professionals who have the skills you desire but are in different areas, or targeting people who may not be the traditional job seeker.

Recruiters can look within your competitors for someone who has the skills you need, plus we see many professionals who shift industries and find success within the insurance industry.. We know where to look for the skills you need and are always searching.

So, you get the people you need who might be outside of the traditional pipeline, plus — moving back to solutions 1 and 2 — are looking for long-term companies and understand the information that’s important to your business.

To watch this video in entirety visit

When you’re ready to understand and start solving the problems that face insurance carriers, by developing a proactive solution to ensuring talent pipeline, contact The James Allen Companies, Inc. or call me directly at (573) 334-3688.

3 Ways Recruiter Can Help You Save Money and Time Plus Reduce Company Risk

3 Ways Recruiter Can Help You Save Money and Time Plus Reduce Company Risk

We’re in a candidate-driven market, so you need all the help you can get to attract top talent that is looking to make a career with you. Not only do you need to make a compelling offer, but you also need to have convinced your favorite candidate that your company is the best fit for their future.

That requires a lot of support and interaction with candidates, which your team may not have the time to do but what recruiters are specifically designed and capable of doing. It’s time to take a peek behind the curtain to show you exactly what we can do for you as your recruiting partner.

Always Networking

One of the first things to know about a recruiter who specializes in your industry, like we do for  insurance,  is that they are always on the lookout for top talent. We’re consistently meeting and evaluating new people to learn about their skills and needs.

So, when you’re ready to start looking for a new employee, we likely have a few people in mind and can begin delivering candidates quickly. This is different than most HR staff who only start the networking and recruitment process when you realize that you need a new hire — so we’re potentially months ahead of the standard HR team.

It’s the perfect partnership to save your time.

Always Screening

One of our daily habits is also screening the people we meet who are looking for work or a new career. This means reviewing the resumes and candidates we get, plus looking within companies to see who might be unhappy or is experienced and knowledgeable enough for a promotion that your company may be able to offer.

That creates a pool of talented people who are ready for a new career and have known skills and work histories that are right for a variety of different positions at different levels of responsibility.

Our behind-the-scenes work ensures that your company only sees the candidates  we’ve evaluated and screened, matching the needs you’ve expressed and the culture that your company espouses.

We give you potential hires who will provide real value, instead of having your HR team dig through emails and resumes that come with hours and hours of screening or even interviews of unqualified applicants.

Together, we can create clear expectations for you and your potential new employee. This allows you to reduce the risk of each new hire by presenting an honest look at your company and your expectations.

Always Learning

You know your company inside and out, from daily operations and effectiveness through broader culture and core values. Recruiters are positioned to know your company from a different perspective: how others see you.

That means we’re going to research you, figure out how you compare to your competition, and highlight your unique characteristics to candidates we feel would be a good fit, as well as those you are interested in hiring.

This partnership gives you a complete view of your company, which can also help you address advantages and perceptions in the final interview process.

Our team is always reading about what’s new in insurance, what carriers are doing to innovate, and what the overall job-seeker market is looking for and asking for during their search. Partnering with a recruiter gives you a world of new knowledge and then focuses it like a laser to help you hire the perfect candidate.

So, you’ll save money by having access to top talent quickly, making sure your offer is competitive, and matching your company to the trends of the workforce. We prioritize your time and get your team back up and running faster, so there’s less disruption to your organization.

When you’re ready to look a little more behind-the-scenes and learn how we can help you match skills gaps to some of the industry’s best candidates, contact The James Allen Companies, Inc. or call me directly at (573) 334-3688.

Give Old Job Openings a Facelift by Letting Recruiters Do the Hard Work

Give Old Job Openings a Facelift by Letting Recruiters Do the Hard Work

Having HR fill open positions can be a frustrating, tedious process that isn’t guaranteed to get you results. Your team is balancing daily tasks with writing job descriptions and sorting through a flood of unqualified applicants, many of whom didn’t even bother to read the description before emailing you a resume.

You end up paying for hours and hours of wasted time with nothing to show for it.

It’s time to stop paying for the search and start paying for the results, by engaging an insurance recruiter. We are highly motivated professionals who want to deliver the best candidates to you quickly, while ensuring that they are interested in your company and your position for more than just next week.

Recruiters turn job openings into potential for company growth, and there are four chief reasons that this will benefit you and your bottom line with every job opening you have.

Reach the Entire Audience

Traditional job openings attract one section of the people who would be a good fit: those actively looking for a new job. You’re likely missing out on a large portion of people who are currently employed but would be willing to change their employer if the right opportunity presented itself.

Posting job openings can bring a list of candidates to look through when they come to you. On the other hand, recruiters actively seek out the best candidates no matter where they are. We’re looking within your competition and even outside your local market to get the person who is the best fit for your company, culture, and growth potential.

Position Yourself as the Industry Expert

Your future hires want to know that you’re a leader in the industry. They want to be more than just a job title; they are looking for a future with growth potential. They need to understand that you’re looking for more than a cardboard cutout to fill an immediate position.

Recruiters can help attract top talent by articulating your organization’s growth and long-term potential. We tout your expertise directly and by providing details that keep you top-of-mind.

Discover People Who Want the Job for the Right Reason

The goal of a recruiter is always to fill your specific need with the right person. The “right” person often includes someone who will look at your position as a long-term career growth opportunity.

By working with a pool of qualified professionals, we can take time with each candidate and determine their interest in the opportunity based on multiple aspects including both tangible and intangible skills.

Industry experience with qualified candidates helps us cultivate a sixth sense about who is looking at your company for the right reasons, ensuring more successful hires. We help fill positions by looking beyond the compensation you offer and hone in on the real reasons candidates consider changing positions.

Professional recruiting firms who understand your industry are a benefit for every job opening, especially those that are lingering for months without a qualified candidate in sight. We understand how to position you well and find the right person ready for your opportunity.

Guidance and Advice Throughout the Process

And, recruiters are there to help with counsel and guidance throughout the entire search and hiring process.

An expert recruiting firm specializing in the insurance industry understands the intricacies of the recruiting, interviewing, and hiring the right industry talent. Not only that, but we stay ahead of existing trends and developments within the insurance marketplace, allowing us to provide insight regarding candidates, the current job market, and just about anything else valuable your search.

We specialize in placing the right people with the right companies at the right time. You get to focus on picking from the few, best-qualified candidates with advice throughout the process. It’s the type of thing you’d offer your customers.

When you’re ready to expand your audience and reach qualified candidates for your job openings, don’t hesitate. Contact The James Allen Companies, Inc. at (573) 334-3688 and see just how amazing our process can be.

Why Help Wanted Ads Fail: How to Identify the Skills Your Business Really Needs

Why Help Wanted Ads Fail: How to Identify the Skills Your Business Really Needs

Help Wanted But Not Received

Help wanted ads are often written by your HR team with some help from marketing, which typically means that you’re not advertising the most important skills your business needs. Job board ads not only sit among hundreds or thousands of others, but they deliver a flood of resumes for candidates that don’t fit.

But, you can’t blame these people for not being the right candidate. You see, the biggest error of help wanted ads is that they don’t address the right skills to help your business grow. They’re created in a bubble and just one of the many tasks your HR team is working on right now.

Here are a few ways you can break that cycle and hire right for your next position.

Update All Job Descriptions

Your company may change more often than your employees. Changing markets, products, and the emergence of new technology all tend to cause staff to change their daily activities and learn new skills. When you’re getting ready for a hire of any significance or leadership role, reach out to existing team members to learn what they do and get a feel for how much things have changed.

Test for Talent

Once you’ve put together a list of skills that your company needs to thrive, look internally to see what skills your employees have and at what level. Skills testing is a good benchmarking tool to help you understand both where you are and how far you need to go.

Testing can also assist you in determining where you need to hire and where you may benefit from broader investments in training and development.

Ask Your Teams What They Need

Your teams not only know what they need to do for their own positions, but they may see where gaps exist in their larger department. Discussing needs only with leadership or management can miss out on skills or opportunities.

For example, your Director of Commercial Underwriting may know that an Underwriting Manager needs the ability to develop strategies for company objectives. However, your underwriters may also identify the need for a manager who can help train them on advanced policies or balance the workload as it changes throughout the year.

Your team knows their frustration points, and these might be the gaps that are best to fill first to maximize your overall operational efficiency.

Demand Planning

How does your potential hire fit with where your company is today and where it is headed tomorrow?

The future is inherently uncertain, so workforce planning is moving to a demand planning mindset where you’re focused on staffing relative to work volumes and demand drivers, based on the market and how your normally staff positions.

If your past responses have been successful, future hiring — even during times of lower demand volumes — should match these practices. If you’ve struggled to respond appropriately to past demand spikes, then it’s time to identify where you understaff and how to shift to minimize risk and maximize your ability to capitalize on growth.

The Retirement Question

When it comes to workforce planning and demand planning, it’s also important to remember that people will retire. Retirement can feel like it throws a wrench into everything, especially here in the insurance business because those retirees often have a wealth of skills and industry knowledge.

The other steps we’ve recommended here can help you plan for a workforce that is retiring by keeping job titles and activities up-to-date, as well as creating a list of skills that are held by those reaching retirement age.

If you look at your upcoming wave of retirements as a significant increase in demand, then the practices you use for your demand planning will help you shore up the talent that you need. The only downside is that retirement often causes larger skill gaps in your workforce, so you need a smart solution to address valuable losses. That’s where outside help may be a lifesaver.

Turn to a Recruiter

Insurance carriers who work with recruiters for temporary and permanent hiring consistently see better candidates, higher offer acceptance rates, and a quicker process to hire those happy candidates. You can expect similar gains because every position is approached with an eye to its particular skill set, whether the right candidate is actively searching or potentially waiting to leave a competitor.

If you’re not working with a recruiter, you’re operating with a limited view of your business and your market, which may mean not correctly filling the skills gaps you’ve worked so hard to identify.

When you’re ready to not only fill your knowledge and skill gaps but find candidates who already live your core values, contact The James Allen Companies, Inc. and call me directly at (573) 334-3688.