April 19, 2021

Three Steps to Improve Your Hiring Process

by Mary Newgard

In January, my spouse and I made a spur-of-the-moment decision to sell our house. It was exciting and nerve-wracking all at the same time. It was hard to ignore the parallels between this experience and the hiring process. One lesson that stuck out was the fact that being prepared made all the difference. We could have just thrown the sign in the front yard but that would have increased the chance of the process falling spectacularly apart. Instead, we took time to fix up a few “to-do” list items and make the house shine. Getting your agency’s house “market ready” is equally as necessary to ensure a successful hire. Don’t throw a posting out and let the chips fall where they may. Improve your interview process in three easy steps.

Step 1: Conduct Market Research to Finalize the Job Description

What type of employees do you want, and what type of employees can you get?

There are a lot of houses listed in my community, but once I finalized my requirements there were only a few that made the cut. You need to go through the same market analysis before advertising your job. Just because there are insurance people in town doesn’t mean they are prospects for you.

  1. Compile a list of direct competitors and review their directory of employees that fit the title, experience, education, and so forth that meet your job profile.
  2. Run a LinkedIn search to determine who beyond your centers of influence are looking for jobs or are trying to relocate to your area.
  3. Review your candidate database for notes on compensation, benefits, PTO, and other hard costs you know to be true about candidates at this level of position in your market.

Step 2: Fix, Update, & Enchance Your Process Before the First Interview

What will applicants think when they walk in our door?

There were a few fixer-upper projects I had to do before our first showing. The same action applies to your interview process. Before you interview a candidate, take a minute to:

  1. Fix the broken parts of your process. Determine brokenness by looking at failed hires. Did you have a rogue hiring manager? Did you wait too long to address sensitive topics like compensation? Did the last interview go seven rounds, each getting more ridiculous by the hour?
  2. Update your process into the 21st century. Ease the burden on candidates. Personality profiles, applications, non-competes, and offer letters must be done electronically through fillable PDF forms and DocuSign.
  3. Enhance the process by infusing your culture at every turn. Our realtor said some people remove all personal family photos, but I kept a few up. I wanted buyers to see what it felt like to live in my house. Take candidates around for a tour. Show them brand videos and social media posts highlighting your amazing people. Create an informational overview with stats, highlights, awards, benefits, and any other notable pieces of information about your company. Give this to candidates before their first interview.

Step 3: Create a Checklist for Hiring Managers & Candidates

What if this process goes all the way to an offer? Are we all on the same page about what it takes to get there?

A checklist was hugely helpful in closing on our new house. I was able to make sure all my questions were answered and not a single piece of paperwork was missing. The same works for hiring a new employee. Communication is the easiest way to impress a candidate. Downstream the process and set timelines you can stick to. Here are examples of items that fall on the checklist:

  1. Profile test: Yes or No?
  2. Application: First step or right before an offer?
  3. Due diligence: Background check, drug screen, non-competes, and references (Yes or No?) If yes, when?
  4. How many interviews and with whom?
  5. Who creates an itinerary?
  6. What interview questions and topics are covered in rounds one, two, or beyond?
  7. What is the total compensation package: Salary, variable comp, benefits (including waiting period), PTO, VTO, 401(k), working hours, remote vs. office, start date, review, onboarding schedule, training schedule?

“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 mnewgard@csgrecruiting.com


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