December 21, 2021

12 Hiring & Recruiting Ideas for Insurance Organizations

by Mary Newgard

For my last column of 2021, I’m mixing seasonal flavor (cue the 12 Days of Christmas song) with the idea behind Insurance Journal’s annual list of 101 Sales, Marketing, and Agency Management Ideas. While mine isn’t as extensive as theirs (101 ideas, you kidding me?!) I think 12 is a good starting point to help you start conversations, brainstorm ideas, and find ways to adapt your hiring and recruiting.

  1. TikTok & Instagram….Your New Social Media Platforms.
    As my teenagers so plainly tell me, “Mom, Facebook is for old people.” Online change is constant. Try out job advertisements and promotions on new, insurance-specific job boards or through Instagram and TikTok (where the young people hang out). 
  2. Create a Showstopping Advertisement.
    Job ads should not be a regurgitation of HR job descriptions. It’s too long and painful for candidates to read. Ads should be job highlights with creative writing mixed in, i.e., an emotional connection, call to action, sense of belonging, or intrigue.
  3. $5,000 for Employee Referrals.
    How much would your referral bonus need to be before it equals a recruiter fee? The answer is a lot more than $5,000. Gone are the days of $250-$500 bonuses. Offer contests, rewards, trips, straight cash … and watch your referral quantity and quality increase.
  4. Return to Campus Recruiting.
    Why do we assume only Human Resources has to be at job fairs? Bring your new, rising stars from sales and service back to “tell and sell” their story about an insurance career.
  5. Leverage Associations for Recruiting Help.
    Inherently resource-minded, associations offer hiring tools and support. Some have cost-friendly job boards. Many can like/share/retweet your job posting to a broader insurance audience. Others have preferred provider discounts negotiated with outside recruiters.
  6. Avoid Paying a “Stupid” Tax.
    The mentality of always finding new candidates is a distraction from building a candidate database. If you don’t stay engaged with previous applicants eventually that person will come back around through an outside recruiter. Then, you’ll pay a fee for a candidate you knew but hadn’t considered. A plan to revisit and reengage candidates leads to less reliance on job postings and external recruiters.
  7. The “Blame Game” Chips Away at Your Success.
    The #1 complaint between hiring managers and HR is the same — both think the other party slows down the hiring process. Sourcing candidates is hard work. Ask the question, “What is working and what is not in our hiring process.” Use that introspection to seriously address process improvement.
  8. Define a “Best in Class” Interview Experience.
    The same reason you buy products on Amazon with 5-star ratings is why this topic is so important. People apply to jobs with highly rated companies. Pull up (and clean up) your Google and Glassdoor reviews. Promote employee testimonials on social media. Find ways to create a better engagement experience.
  9. Job Seekers Care About Salary & PTO.
    Salary bans. Pay equity laws. Compression. From regulation to retention, you’re being forced to sell job seekers on price whether you want to or not. Compensation and PTO are selling points that you must lean into during the ad writing and interview process.
  10. 100% Remote.
    If you abhor the idea of full-time remote employees, then you’re in for a long and hard recruiting road. It takes three times longer to fill jobs if you will only hire in a single location. If you don’t feel a sense of urgency to fill a job quickly, leave it to one location indefinitely. If you need to make a quick and quality hire, you have to expand location.
  11. Internal Recruiters Need Training Too.
    You provide training and mentoring to producers, but what about your internal HR/talent acquisition? Recruiting is sales. Burnout among internal recruiters is real. It’s important that you find coaching resources to help them develop skills and career longevity.
  12. Set Boundaries & Expectations with External Recruiters.
    If you don’t think an outside recruiter talks to candidates let alone screens them prior to making the referral, fire them. Why accept substandard work? Create Master Service Agreements. Outline what constitutes a real referral. Establish advantageous guarantee terms.

“Ask the Insurance Recruiter” is a monthly column written by Mary Newgard, Partner and published in partnership with Insurance Journal Magazine. Visit Insurance Journal Magazine’s website for a complete list of previous articles. For questions and comments, email Mary at


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