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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.

An Optimist’s Guide to Staffing in Today’s Market

An Optimist’s Guide to Staffing in Today’s Market

As predictions of the insurance talent shortage continue to actualize, it’s easy to become pessimistic about the prospects of meeting the increasingly complex demands of staffing in such an unpredictable landscape. This becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy of negativity, because that very pessimism often plays into the hiring process, creating obstacles where we should be finding opportunities. Granted, there are a lot of variables at play regarding the shortage in highly qualified talent, but as it stands today, many of those variables are beyond our control. What we can control is how we approach the search for the next generation of our organizations. A lot has been said regarding the evolving talent landscape as it pertains to millennials, but we’re going to focus on how we can adjust the way we can approach the hiring process regardless of which generation is being considered.

 

Semantics

The linguistic approach to staffing is reflective of the problems that originate from the start of the process. The terms used to illustrate the goals and objectives of hiring are far too often transactional, reducing the human factor. For example, a term perhaps too freely thrown around that aptly illustrates this transactional tone is “talent acquisition.” There is nothing inherently wrong with wishing to increase and maximize the talent of one’s organization; however, the word “acquisition” bears with it connotations that can leave a negative impression. The root word, “acquire,” is largely equated with gaining possession or ownership of an object. Therein lies the problem. A term like “talent acquisition” dehumanizes and objectifies people who are being acquired, marginalizing them as nothing more than possessions with no value other than the specific skillset for which they were targeted.

 

Screening “In”

One damaging artifact of the days of hiring in a bull market is the procedure of screening out applicants. This is not to suggest that a certain level of screening out should not occur, but we are no longer in a time where applicants can be screened out until only those that completely and comprehensively meet the required and preferred qualifications still comprise a healthy field of possibilities. The ramifications of approaching the screening process with the mindset of filtering only for candidates that check all boxes can be both immediate and compounding. It can initially cost an organization a great deal of time and money as they continue to search for that “perfect” candidate that, in today’s market, most likely does not exist. Additionally, the screening-out mentality can also lead to the dismissal of great young talent that will most likely go to more proactive companies with their eyes on the future.

 

Stagnation

Often, the worst thing we can do is nothing. Unfortunately, as true as this may be, it doesn’t prevent hiring managers from hesitating and not only losing talented professionals in the moment but also in the future. Paralysis by analysis is not a new concept, but in regards to hiring within the insurance industry, it is becoming exceptionally fatal. Too many talented candidates are being lost because the gauntlet of the interviewing process is lasting too long and allowing too much time for prospective candidates to rethink or, again, be intercepted by companies who understand that in an evaporating talent pool, time is of the essence.

 

In the end, it comes back to optimism. As easy as it may be to allow the prospect of a dwindling market to bring your spirits down, there is also a bevy of opportunity awaiting companies that are able to approach the hiring process with a more positive outlook. It begins with the words we use and the connotations they create around the hiring process. Optimism is vital throughout the screening process, as well. Are we looking to dismiss candidates or are we focused on finding candidates that could grow into exceptional long-term players? And finally, once a candidate or small group of candidates has been selected, is the process leading up to an offer streamlined to keep them optimistic about the opportunity, or is it a bureaucratic snail’s crawl that offers candidates several occasions to back out or be lured away? Output will always be reflective of input; therefore, it is vital that if we want to attract excited and dynamic individuals, we approach the search and hiring process with a level of optimism and excitement that encourages the results we want to see.

Understanding the Millennial Workforce

Understanding the Millennial Workforce

To understand the motivations of the Millennial generation is to crack one of the great codes of modern staffing. Companies across a wide variety of industries are anxious to better understand what a Millennial workforce means to their business, and the insurance industry is no exception. While there is some disagreement on the exact years by which the Millennial generation is defined, it is safe to consider individuals born anywhere between the early 1980s and late 1990s, possibly even into the early 2000s, as potential Millennials. The importance of identifying the thought processes, habits and motivations of a generation lies in the magnitude of the information. There is no larger demographic that offers a wider berth of insight than generational identification.

What’s a Millennial?

There has never before been a generational group that has faced more scrutiny in terms of identifying and understanding than the Millennials. In the world of big data and near-instant assessment, the research and information regarding Millennials seems to change almost daily. Some researchers refer to Millennials as the Peter Pan generation, referring to their propensity to delay certain rites of passage long thought to represent the transition into adulthood (i.e. marriage, career, etc.). Other researchers point to studies that suggest Millennials are more likely to exhibit narcissism than older adults, implying they are more self-indulged and self-entitled than previous generations. Still others argue that of the basic characteristics that define each generation, Millennials possess the traits that suggest they are more “civic-minded” and more similar to the G.I. Generation (also referred to as the Greatest Generation) in their sense of community.

What drives Millennials?

As the workforce of the insurance industry shifts to focus primarily on Millennials, companies are scrambling to attract the best and brightest this generation has to offer. To do this it is important to find what motivates Millennials and consider how your organization can leverage those factors in your favor. As the definition of the Millennial generation has evolved, certain elements have changed or gone entirely extinct, but two important motivating factors that have continued to apply to Millennials is their quest for growth and meaning in their work. What this means is that Millennials are interested in careers in which they feel there is real potential for advancement. Millennials are also interested in careers in which they believe they are making a difference in the world. More than past generations, Millennials look at their employment as a reflection of their civic duty. Companies that can prove to be incubators for talent and that have a forward-thinking approach are the ones that will be most attractive to Millennials.

What are some Millennial misconceptions?

There is no shortage of misconceptions when it comes to Millennials. The Peter Pan comparison has carried with it an assumed lack of motivation and work ethic. This jump in logic has led to a negative connotation surrounding the work behaviors of Millennials, thus affecting the approach of companies when interviewing them. One of the most surprising misconceptions regarding Millennials is their loyalty. Many employers see this generation as being most apt to leave a company in pursuit of other opportunities, when in fact they are more loyal to employers than Gen-Xers. Underestimating the loyalty of Millennials can create an atmosphere of mistrust, hampering the possibility for success for both employer and employee.

One final note about Millennials, which is important to consider in regards to approach, is that they are the least likely to self-identify. Where as Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers have little trepidation when it comes to being referred to as their respective generational titles, Millennials largely dislike the act of being labeled. Despite being able to paint them with the same brush, to some extent, they are more responsive to being treated as individuals. It can be a bit confounding (and a bit frustrating) attracting and understanding Millennials, which is why partnering with a staffing agency like The James Allen Company is so vital. We continually read and research the literature related to not only the insurance industry, but the demographic of the people who will represent the largest portion of its workforce for the next several years.

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.

Talent Paradox video

Talent Paradox video

Deloitte’s Sam Friedman Analyzes the Talent Paradox

As property/casualty insurance companies take steps to raise their games in 2014, pursuing data-driven initiatives and upgrading their capabilities in technology and analytics, they increasingly compete with other financial services sectors and other industries for qualified talent to carry out these transformational projects. In this interview with Carrier Management, Sam Friedman, research team leader at Deloitte’s Center for Financial Services, discusses ways in which insurers can adjust their employment models to close the talent gap.

Watch the Video Here

Why-Use-a-Recruiter

Why Use a Recruiter or Recruiting Firm?

Advantages of using a Recruiter or Headhunter
Do’s and Don’ts of HR using a Recruiter or Headhunter

Work with recruiting professionals that have the expertise…an effective recruiter will:

  • Spend time understanding the client’s job description, culture and organization to insure they have the right candidate.
  • Focus their attention and direct their efforts to your job openings, generating qualified candidates more efficiently.
  • Find the “needle in the haystack” by networking into organizations to find the “passive candidate” market.
  • Go far beyond the customary process of finding candidates through job boards or advertising; cold call recruiting and networking is what they do best.
  • Pre-qualify candidates, saving you time and increasing the effectiveness of your hiring process.
  • Typically present 3-5 qualified candidates saving you the time of filtering through a pile of resumes especially in today’s economic market.
  • Insure a fast, efficient and effective process to get you the right hires.
  • Market the sizzle of your company while networking with prospective candidates.
  • Keep you up to date on the recruitment process and give you feedback from the marketplace on issues arising during the search.
  • Provide a confidential search if the company does not want to “go public” with the position.

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Salary Negotiation Techniques

Salary Negotiation Techniques

The best technique to arranging the deal is to determine whether you want the job before an offer is provided. This permits you to whether the job suits your needs. Unless you’re motivated solely by money, it’s unlikely a few extra dollars will turn a undesirable job into a superb one.

The phrase “bottom line” refers to the amount of compensation you feel is completely mandatory to accept the job offer. If, for example, you really want $76,000 but would think about $75,000 or settle for $74,000, then you haven’t developed your bottom line. The bottom line is one dollar more than the figure you would positively walk away from. Setting a bottom line clarifies your sense of worth, and helps avoid an unforeseen negotiating session.

I advocate against “negotiating” an offer in the well-known sense, where the company makes a proposal, you counter it, they counter your counter, and so on. While this type of back-and-forth format may be typical for negotiating a residential real estate deal, job offers should be taken care of in a more hassle-free approach.

Here’s how: Determine your bottom line in advance, and wait for the . If the company offers you more than your bottom line, great. If they offer you less, then you have the opportunity of turning the offer down or disclosing your bottom line as a condition of approval. At that point, they can boost the ante or walk away. And once the bottom line is known, you can avoid the haggling that quite often causes irritation, dissatisfaction, or hurt feelings.

By determining your own acceptance conditions in advance, you’ll never be accused of negotiating in bad faith or of being indecisive. Whether you’re representing yourself or working with a recruiter, learning to distinguish between financial fact and fantasy will facilitate the job changing procedure.
If you feel the need to justify your salary request, you can itemize any loss of income that may result from a differential in benefits, geographic location, automobile expenditures, and so forth.

Often, there are considerations aside from money that need to be fulfilled before an offer can be accepted. Aspects such as the new position title, review periods, work schedule, vacation allotment, and promotion opportunities are essential, and should be looked at meticulously.

You can use the this method to quantify each consideration or “point” you need to satisfy as a condition for approval. Once you and the company compromise on each aspect, you won’t need to go back later to negotiate “one more thing.” Knowing your bottom line puts you in a better situation to get what you want, since you’ve developed a set of quantifiable circumstances required for approval.