November 29, 2021

Are Job Boards the Best Way to Find Insurance Talent?

by Mary Newgard

Have you ever heard someone in your company say, “Let’s just cast a wide net to find candidates”? If so, job boards are your net, a bullhorn essentially for everyone on the internet to see. It’s a little bit of mass marketing and a little more like putting up a billboard on the interstate. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. It depends on who you’re trying to attract.

When it comes to job board success rates, what you’re really asking about is resource management. Posting your jobs on paid sites is just one hiring tool at your disposal. My team pays for job slots, but we’ve learned over the last two decades of recruiting that for every pro there is a con. We apply an ROI to each site and track our sourcing to placement ratios to determine if those third-party job boards are worth the time and money. We can’t let costs get out of control, and I certainly don’t want to spend money on every site to get the same applicant two to three times over.

Determine Your ROI

Cost + utilization + placements = ROI. Only you can set an acceptable number for your business, but we shoot for a 10 times return on each job board meaning for every $1,000 spent on sites like LinkedIn, Indeed, Careerbuilder, Glassdoor, or ZipRecruiter, I want to make at least $10,000 back in hiring placements. Now, you don’t technically have a placement fee, but it’s easy to calculate if you assume that if not for the job board, you’d have to pay an external recruiter.

Job Boards Require a Lot of Management

Remember, job boards are in business to make money. They will sell you on the premise that you need to be everywhere and all the time. They want you to buy as many job slots as possible, sponsor/boost openings at an additional cost, and sign long-term contracts to lock in your dollars. Other times, they subtly bake the cost into your applicant tracking system (ATS), so you don’t feel like you’re paying for it, but trust me, you are.

In either situation, the “set it and forget it” slogan used for the Ronco Food Dehydrator is not enough management on your part for three reasons:

  • Insurance is a unique industry. Not every job board can generate quality, experienced industry applicants.
  • Some job boards are designed to attract a certain level of candidate. Indeed is good with lower-level hires. likes $100,000-plus jobs and LinkedIn performs best with management positions.
  • Empty job slots are wasted money. Anything less than 90% utilization means you’ve purchased too many slots. You’re better to purchase slightly less than you think you need and rotate jobs out frequently.

Alternative Resources

A comprehensive, well-rounded hiring strategy requires a multi-faceted approach. My goal at Capstone is for job boards to represent no more than one-third of our sourcing strategy. This way we contain costs but also lean into alternative resources geared towards sourcing insurance talent. If you’d like to do the same, here are additional tools to consider.

  • Careers Page. A great jobs page on your website is a far better investment than a third-party posting. It maximizes SEO and drives applicants to your website. It allows job seekers to learn about your culture which creates a better candidate experience. It integrates with your broader marketing/social media strategy. Aside from the initial design, it’s completely free and easy to maintain.
  • Your ATS. Hiring and recruiting are different things. If you rely on job boards to find most of your candidates, then you are not recruiting which is when you build, foster, and manage a candidate database. Just like you plug prospective clients into a sales CRM, you need to be mining experienced insurance talent and home grow your database.
  • Employee Referrals. Have you noticed that some of your best hires came by employee referral? Beef up your bonus program and watch your current employees care a lot more about your recruiting initiatives. Even a $5,000 referral bonus, which is really substantial, has a bigger impact on employee retention, engagement, and new hire success than paying even more for a job ad or to a recruiter.

“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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