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, Author: Craig Fuher

How to Hire Insurance Agents and Grow Your Business

Growing your insurance business means you need to hire insurance agents who can help you attract more customers. If you’re short-staffed, issues like being slow to respond to customer queries and lacking the resources to pitch new customers, can not only hinder your growth but cause you to lose business. While the reason to hire insurance agents with strong skills is simple, determining how to hire the right employees is more difficult.  

“The hard part is actually building the team that will embody your company culture and propel you forward,” says Kathryn Minshew, CEO and founder of career site The Muse (as referenced by BrainyQuote). 

But don’t fret: the hard part is where we come in! This guide will show you how to hire the right employees by showing you where to look and how to convince top talent to choose your agency.

Don’t Follow the Herd When Trying to Hire Insurance Agents

Most insurance agencies start their hiring search by cold calling and mass emailing based on newly minted agent lists. While this method may land you a superstar here and there, cold pitching tends to have low response rates relative to going after warmer targets. Not to mention, newly minted agent lists are full of inexperienced candidates who are often already under an agency assignment. 

If you’re using this method to hire insurance agents, rest assured you’re not alone. Yet this should only be one small tool within a more comprehensive, strategic recruitment campaign. By incorporating other recruitment tactics, e.g., the use of social media, as detailed in the next section, you can stand out from other agencies. Doing so improves your odds of convincing top talent to join your firm.

Find the Right Agents to Hire Through Digital Marketing

Instead of just using cold outreach and hoping candidates get back to you, agencies can find top talent by sourcing warm leads. How so? By structuring your recruitment campaign similar to a marketing campaign. That means thinking about what channels your ideal employee is likely to use and branding your job listings accordingly.

Try LinkedIn

For example, if you want to hire insurance agents with significant experience, you might be more likely to find those candidates on LinkedIn than on Instagram. Conversely, if you want to find younger candidates who you can develop into star agents, you might be able to find those candidates on Instagram. Yet posting the same job listing on different social channels often is not enough differentiation. You need to structure your content for each channel. 

On LinkedIn, you could create job listings that focus on career development opportunities. On Instagram, you could share pictures of team-building activities, showing how your agency cares about more than just the bottom line. As an example in another sector, Marriott uses a careers-centric Instagram account to share content like photos of team members volunteering. “You can use Instagram to showcase the good you’re doing in and out of the office,” notes recruitment software firm Recruiterbox.

Recruit Candidates Using Career Sites

In addition to recruiting through social media, attract candidates directly through career sites like Glassdoor, Indeed, and ZipRecruiter. Although this tactic may seem obvious, if you’re not putting as many resources into this area as you are into cold pitching, you’re doing it wrong. Think about it: these job sites connect you directly to job seekers. With cold outreach, you don’t know if the person on the other end is actively looking or not.

To get the most out of your job listings on career sites, create job posts that reflect your brand. “Consider your company’s culture and whether a casual or formal tone is more appropriate,” advises Indeed. By conveying what your company is like in your job listings, you’re more likely to attract applicants who share similar values. Just like your agency has an identity, so too does a job seeker.

Use Existing Talent to Hire New Agents

You can get social through social media to attract candidates, and you can also get social via your existing staff. Try hosting virtual happy hours on Zoom or creating groups on Slack, rather than heading to a bar or restaurant for traditional networking events. With these tactics, you can involve your existing staff to showcase what your agency has to offer, though you may want to offer a recruitment bonus for existing staff to sweeten the pot. 

Get Creative

What does that look like in practicality? With virtual happy hours, for instance, you could ask staff members to rotate hosting a weekly video call where interested applicants can hop on to learn more about your agency. Doing so can be a low-pressure way for candidates to learn about your firm, which can naturally weed out those who realize they’re not a good fit.

With Slack groups, you can similarly invite interested candidates to join and discuss what it’s like to work at your firm. You can also go a bit broader, such as by sharing career-building tips. Doing so can be helpful whether or not you hire insurance agents among that pool of applicants. Going for the hard sell doesn’t always work. Instead, offering something of value to job seekers, like career tips, can help you get your foot in the door. “On Slack, recruiters can get a better idea of how to approach potential candidates by mentioning topics they’re actually interested in,” says the hiring platform Workable.

Offer Employee Incentives for Referrals

Direct employee referrals can also help you hire insurance agents. By encouraging employees to recommend others, such as incentivizing them with a bonus, you can build a team that works well together. Not only will you find other top agents in their social circles, but you can increase retention as agents work with people they’re close with. The cost of a referral bonus can still be far less than other recruiting costs, like placing job listing ads. 

What to Look for When Hiring

When trying to figure out how to hire the right employees, look at what makes your current employees great. Create a list of your top agents, define what makes them stand out from peers, and consider which of their traits you want to find as you hire insurance agents. 

Similarly, you can analyze what agents at other firms do well. For example, if you see other agencies hosting webinars for entrepreneurs as a way to draw in business owner clients, consider trying to hire insurance agents with great communication skills. 

Identify Patterns of Success

In addition to identifying key traits among your existing top performers and the successes of agents at other firms, look for patterns of success among applicants. Especially if a candidate has limited work experience, you can evaluate their ability to perform based on their successes in other areas like academic pursuits, sports, hobbies, and volunteering. For example, someone who used their free time to earn academic certifications online might be the type of go-getter you’re looking for to join your company. 

If you value agents who can relate to potential clients, you can also figure out how to hire the right employees by asking candidates about their own entrepreneurial endeavors. An applicant might not list their side hustle on their resume, but they still might take the initiative to pursue work on their own. As a Bankrate survey finds, 43% of full-time workers have a gig outside their main employment. Ask candidates if they have a side hustle or other entrepreneurial endeavors to find candidates that can connect with other business owners they’ll be selling policies to. 

Consider Alternatives to Full-Time Employment

Also, consider whether candidates are open to or would prefer temporary or contract roles. Not everyone wants to jump into full-time employment, especially if they’re going through a life transition, such as changing careers or growing their family. By offering this option, you can widen your net to hire insurance agents you might not have found otherwise. Plus, if you find someone who wants to work on a part-time or temporary basis because they also have a side hustle, that can further support their ability to connect with customers. 

Pulling All the Steps Together

To hire insurance agents who can help you grow your business, you need a multi-pronged approach. Rather than just cold pitching, try multiple recruitment strategies, including:

  • Utilizing digital and social media marketing: Be sure to target your ideal audience and adjust your recruitment approach for different online channels, e.g., LinkedIn vs. Instagram.
  • Leveraging employee referrals: Incentivize employees to refer candidates and speak with potential recruits. Be transparent and provide value to job seekers.
  • Analyzing top talent: Think about what makes a great insurance agent, and consider how you found your own top employees. Then apply that approach to your recruitment.

By following this multi-pronged approach, you can hire insurance agents who can be a great fit for your firm. And building a talented staff who contribute to a growing business can help give your existing staff more reason to stay. Lastly, remember that recruitment always evolves. Stay on top of trends in the industry, and be aware of compensation factors within your territory. You can also send out routine surveys to gauge the pulse of your employees and see what they value. From there, you can get a better sense of what prospective hires want and include those extras in your job description and offer.