The Tools I’m Using To Hire Young Agents
I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about how I’ve been able to bring on younger insurance agents at a time when other agency owners are struggling to do the same. As an industry, independent insurance agents are reaching a critical mass. We’re top heavy with retirement-age owners, many of whom have no apparent perpetuation plan. So I thought it might be helpful to show you how I’ve been able to successfully recruit and retain young agents.
It all starts with building a central place for candidates to find you and learn more about your company. We created this careers landing page to showcase our available positions. Along with our Commercial CSR position, we list both Commercial and Personal Lines Producer as positions we’re seeking to fill. Each of these sections from our landing page link to more detailed job descriptions on their own pages.
There’s a few key elements to pay attention to here:
- A Video Advertising Your Agency: Instead of just telling prospective candidates about who you are and what your company stands for, why not show them? Create a video that showcases your company culture and helps candidates see themselves fitting in. Answer the question, “Why should you work for my agency?” Use your video to tell the story of your agency. By the way, you don’t have to pay big bucks for something like this. We shot this on our own using a DSLR camera and edited it with Apple’s Final Cut Pro.
- Images Of YOUR Staff: That’s right, I said YOUR staff. No stock images you purchased online. The best way to draw young agents in while they’re on your landing page is by showing them you’re real. It draws back the curtain to let them peek inside. It also makes you more approachable.
- Staff Quotes: Just like client testimonials, these should be genuine and heartfelt. Your staff will feel like they’re included in the hiring process when you ask them to contribute. A brief testimonial from a few of your own employees will help build instant trust and credibility in the eyes of a young agent deciding whether they should work for you.
- Call To Action: As on any good landing page, you’ll want to include clear and distinctive call-to-action buttons and phrases. In several spots on these pages, we’ve asked the question, “Want To Join Our Team” with buttons below that say “Apply Now”. If you’ve gone to all the trouble advertising your open position, make it easy for them to apply right from your website.
Once you’ve laid a foundation on your own website, it’s time to take your message further by posting some online ads. There are two outlets I would highly recommend.
First, I’ve become a big fan of LinkedIn Ads. Yes, I’m paying a little money here, but not nearly as much as I would to a recruiter. What I like the most about posting jobs on LinkedIn is that you can leverage the power of your own connections to put your ad in front of the right people. First, on a pay-per-click basis, I can have my job posting show up in the sidebar of my exact target audience.
I also use LinkedIn Premium which allows me to search for potential agents who might not be actively looking. My Premium account allows me to send messages, called InMail, to people who are normally too far removed from me as a connection for me to contact. So I conduct a targeted search for candidates who meet my criteria, and then I send them messages asking if they’d have any interest in applying as an agent. You’d be surprised how many people are not happy in their current agency or other existing job.
In my post, 6 Secrets For Recruiting And Retaining Young Agents I talk about how running my first Craigslist Ad brought in more than 400 applicants in less than a month. About 100 of those were qualified candidates, too! What I didn’t mention is that it only cost me $25 to post the ad for that month. No, I didn’t stutter. $25 landed me not one, but two qualified agents who are still kicking butt and taking names today.
By the way, you’ll want to ask yourself if you’re willing to train someone or not. LinkedIn is great for finding current independent insurance agents as well as other insurance professionals or non-insurance industry candidates. Posting a Craigslist ad, on the other hand, is not as effective for finding current insurance agents. But, if you’re willing to train someone how to be an agent, like we are, Craigslist can be a treasure trove of good talent waiting to be explored.
Word Of Mouth
At 36, I may be young by our industry’s standards. But I’m old-fashioned when it comes to this next recruiting tool…Word of Mouth. That’s right. At least 3 or 4 agents I’ve hired over the last few years have been referrals from my own employees.
Now let me just say that this is where it’s really important to have people who are happy working for you. If your staff still talks to you after the annual Christmas party, here’s the big secret. Are you ready? Referral Fees. Yup, that’s it. Offering a referral fee to my staff has been almost as effective as any digital marketing I’ve done to help me spread the word.
If you’re someone who’s technologically inept and you talk about social media like it’s a tool of the devil, just skip this next sentence. I encourage, yes encourage, my employees to share our open positions on their personal social media profiles. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ are excellent amplification tools. And who better to advertise for you than your own people? You may think you’re cool, but candidates are much more likely to listen to their friends than they are a stranger like you.
Don’t let the insurance media hype scare you. Recruiting young agents is not as hard as it seems. Most owners just don’t know where to begin. That’s all.
I hope you’ll give some of these tools a try. When you do, come back here and let me know how it worked out for you by leaving a comment below.
Also, I’d love to hear from you about what your biggest struggles are when it comes to hiring and retaining young agents. Let me know below.
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