When the time comes to hire a young employee full-time, careful interviewing practices are of the utmost importance.
After all, only one out of every five hires eventually becomes a successful producer, according to US-based insurance business The Middleton Group, and the average cost of a hiring mistake is 10 times the employee’s compensation.
To avoid that fate, Trey Hugley of US insurance recruiting firm Genesis Resources advises insurance broking business owners to take their time in considering young candidates.
“My suggestion is a minimum of three in-person interviews,” Hugley says, “and the first one should be conducted by the business owner. They know the most about the business and can rule people out straight away.
“It also means [candidates] have to show patience—they’re not going to get the job right away. If they leave after two interviews, let them walk away even if you like them. The ones who get frustrated are the ones you let go.”
Proper vetting is particularly important when hiring producers, says insurance consulting firm Marsh
Berry’s Art Betancourt.
“At a certain point in the interview process, we tell the candidate why they’re not going to be a good fit for the business. We’re trying to put them in a sales environment and see how they handle rejection,” he explains. “A blank stare there is a red flag.”
Wrapping up the interview process with a long lunch or dinner is also a winning strategy, according to Christine Peterson, head of human resources at search firm The Hanover.
With more than 15 years’ experience in talent acquisition, Peterson has found that taking that extra step allows her to decide whether a candidate will jive with Hanover culture.
“Really assessing talent on how they will fit into the culture of the organization is very important,” Peterson says. “I usually like to have lunch with someone and try to understand who they are as a person and what’s really important to them.
“At the end of the day, you want to create a win-win environment where it’s a good opportunity both for that person and for the company.”