Hiring Correctness: Making better hiring decisions in a candidate-rich talent market

Hiring Correctness: Making better hiring decisions in a candidate-rich talent market

Amy Simpson | September 2, 2020

Making better hiring decisions isn’t hard, but it does take time and requires a company to put resources toward good policies that will ultimately prevent hiring managers and other human resources professionals from making costly mistakes

Those who hire talent have a great deal of control over the direction a company will take. You are leaders hiring future leaders, those who will determine what role your organization fills or forges in the markets. On the other hand, granting a position to a candidate who doesn’t fit the position or your mission is a mistake that will cost more than just money. While I believe we are a resilient industry, thriving and more essential than ever, we should always be ready for the crisis we hope never comes. Procuring and maintaining a solid workforce should be at the foundation of this practical approach.

What are some things you can do to reduce the possibility of a hiring slip-up? We might be biased here, but we mean this sincerely—work with a recruiter. In a present era, when time and resources need to be used as efficiently and effectively as possible, why would you not procure the services of someone who makes it their business to know the virtual topography of the insurance world in real time, and specializes in knowing what is needed to prosper in every position the insurance industry has to offer? 

The answer is, “You should—now.”

The other question might be, “What makes you so proficient at finding the right people?” In short, focus…experience…flexibility. 

Along with our specialization within the insurance space, the word “focus” applies to just about everything that involves being attentive and driven to achieve goals others might abandon prematurely. Being focused is about setting the time aside to do nothing other than have a conversation and being patient enough to listen. Conducting interviews isn’t about a number. It’s about learning more about the candidate with every call and zeroing in on points of confidence and concern until one can reliably choose to present the candidate to our client or remove them from consideration. Better hiring decisions are all about taking enough time to make them.

Focus is about learning, gaining useful information through each engagement and making the call. 

Our experience is focused on recruiting for leaders in the insurance industry and, over those years, we have gained a great deal of experience, learning what works and what does not. But that is not the experience we are talking about right now. What we are talking about is the experience of the candidate, how to access it and how to assess it. The best method in determining future success is by reviewing past performance. The most effective interview is once that forces a candidate to draw upon their past experiences to deal with current obstacles, simulated or otherwise. This also provides the opportunity to gauge soft skills like emotional intelligence. Does the candidate acknowledge past mistakes or the need to grow? Do they display humility or have the capacity to use criticism in a constructive way? Do they take the time to answer questions completely and considerately, or admit when they can not possibly provide a satisfactory answer? 

Experience is about gauging how a candidate not only navigates their own past, but utilizes it to problem solve in the present. Learning from the past allows us to make better hiring decisions in the future.

Flexibility has no double meaning—it is more about attitude. We have said this before, but no matter how many candidates are available and qualified for placement, not a single one is perfect if we define the term as checking every single box. If a candidate is an absolute stand-out performer in one aspect of a position but lacks that superior status in another category, does that immediately disqualify them from consideration in hopes you find another who excels at every task put before them? It shouldn’t, because that person doesn’t exist. Realistically, every business should be a place where people can learn and grow, not only providing services to their respective markets but adding to their professional communities by building rounded leaders for the future of their industry. Do not take this to mean you should settle but, with the focus and experience a recruiter brings, we can be of assistance in seeing potential where others might struggle to do so.  

Flexibility is about giving talent the opportunity to develop and trusting the focus and experience of your recruitment consultant.


At The James Allen Companies, we lay the groundwork for professional relationships that span careers. It is our goal to provide the talent and service at a level that sets us apart in the insurance industry.

About the Author

Amy Simpson
Amy has more than a decade of experience successfully recruiting experienced insurance professionals. Her extensive expertise and network of contacts has allowed her to place highly skilled and nearly impossible to find candidates in underwriting, claims, loss control, sales, premium audit, marketing, human resources, IT and beyond. She loves the challenge of looking for someone who seems impossible to find. Amy is committed to exceeding her clients’ expectations and enjoys helping people to enhance their careers. Amy has two young children, Noah and Jonah, with her husband Marc. They love to travel and look forward to planning their next visit to Disney World.
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