It’s a fact: The need for insurance sales agents is growing at a rate of roughly 6% each year, meaning that there will be a need for an additional 32,900 professionals by 2031.
What does this mean for your agency?
For one thing, it indicates increasing competition for the top agents. If you are hoping to grow your business and bring in qualified candidates, you’ll need to put some effort into ensuring that you are recruiting the top talent properly.
When should you start recruiting and how do you hire the best people? Whether you are just starting your agency or are well-established in your region, you’ll find your answers below.
When Should You Start Recruiting Agents?
You should start recruiting agents once your agency is well-established and selling regularly.
That’s because training and supporting new agents will take time—all of which can take away from your own sales efforts.
So, you want to make sure you have enough cash coming in to take a step back and devote the time and effort needed to make your downlines top-notch insurance agents.
If this is you, read on for how to get top agents working for you.
Step 1: Make Sure You Have a Strong Reputation
Before you start recruiting new faces for your agency, take a careful look at your business. You want to make sure you’re doing everything you can to show job candidates your agency is a great place to work.
Here are a few questions to see if you are presenting your agency in the best light:
- What kind of careers page do I have on my website? A well-made careers page should list your mission, vision, and values and include information on what you offer in the way of benefits. A good health insurance plan, PTO, flexible hours, and other perks are highly prized by potential salespeople.
- How are we doing with social media? Your postings across the board should be lively and helpful for clients, but also able to draw the eye of the best agents. This is especially true of LinkedIn, which you may use as a recruiting tool. Ensure that your profile is up-to-date and accurate, with enough information so that someone can get a sense of who you are by reading it.
- Do we have an attractive company culture? Develop a positive and supportive work environment that fosters growth and rewards success. A strong company culture will not only attract potential agents but also retain them in the long run.
- Am I doing everything I can to support my agents? Making it easy for your agents to do their job benefits you in the end: happy agents are productive agents. One way you can make things easier for all parties is to consider working with Hourly. The workforce management software syncs payroll and workers’ comp, so premiums are super accurate—making your agents look great to clients—especially when their audit bill ends up being close to a big zero.
Step 2: Use Multiple Channels to Look for the Best Talent
Once your house is in order, you’re ready to start your search for the top workers’ comp insurance agents or agents in other fields. Where are you likely to find the ideal candidates?
If you're new to this, you may not know the answer just yet. That's why you should use multiple methods to find candidates until you get a sense for what works. Let's dig into the top ways to find that perfect fit.
Start with your own website. Craft a detailed, well-written job description for the site that answers all the questions your prospective agents might have. Include a way for those interested to reach out and connect with you through an email address or other link.
Use your networking channels to ask for referrals within your professional community. If you’re a member of your local Rotary or Chamber of Commerce, get the word around that you’re looking for new insurance agents. If a friend or colleague knows of a superstar agent, ask them if they’d be willing to connect the two of you.
Don’t forget to ask your own agents if they have anyone they’d recommend—your own people are the best advertisement for working at your agency and can help bring in new hires they’re connected with professionally or personally.
Job boards like Indeed, Monster, and CareerBuilder are great platforms to get the word out if you have money to spend on an ad. You’ll get the most bang for your buck at Indeed, which boasts more than 600 million hits a month.
And don’t discount Craigslist. For many employers, it costs nothing to post there and may lead to some interest.
Post your job descriptions on your social media channels. Consider adding a “We’re hiring!” note to your profile. LinkedIn has templates you can use to help you craft your application. If you are active on X (formerly Twitter) or Threads, tweet job openings regularly, along with a short description.
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Higher Education Institutions
If you’re willing to work with young insurance professionals, reach out to your local colleges and universities. You can connect with their internship director if you’d like to work with current students or the career services office if you’re interested in potential candidates who have just graduated with degrees in business or an associated field.
If you’re struggling to find good insurance agents, consider using the services of a recruiting agency. It can handle the legwork of insurance agent recruiting—managing job postings, locating agent leads, reading resumes, and even taking the initiative with interviews.
Other Agencies or Businesses
Where do most insurance agents work? Some may be independent or sole proprietors, others may be employed by competing agencies.
We don’t recommend raiding other agencies to poach their talent, but letting local agents know you’re looking may surface someone who is unhappy with their current situation—and open to exploring.
Often, word of mouth is enough to get out the news that you’re recruiting to the other agents in your region.
What To Look for In the Best Talent? 8 Tips
So let’s say you’ve got feelers out in a broad range of venues and media types and are starting to get some good responses. How do you assess your potential new employees and ensure they’re a good fit for your company?
Every agency owner will answer that question a little differently, depending on their own values and needs. But in general, there are some qualities that can be found in the best workers’ comp, P&C, life insurance agents—and all others across the board.
Keep the following eight characteristics in mind when you’re interviewing potential new recruits:
1. Sales Skills
Look for people who have at least a year or two of sales experience and a knack for selling. They should be able to easily connect with others, spot their pain points, and come up with a solution.
If you’re willing to hire those who have just earned their insurance license, perhaps you could ask them to run through a sales scenario with you so you can assess their potential.
2. Interpersonal Skills
The best agents are “people persons.” They are adept at quickly establishing rapport with others and, most essentially, building their trust.
These agents aren’t looking for a single sale but are more interested in life-long relationships that will keep their clients coming back to them in the future.
How do you assess interpersonal skills? Often, it’s a gut feeling based on your interaction during the initial interview. One tip? When arriving for an interview, your potential agent is likely to interact with your front office personnel. Ask them after the job hunter leaves what their impression was.
For example, if that workers’ comp agent you’re thinking of hiring was rude or short with your office manager, you’ve learned something valuable about how they interact with those who are not in a position of power over them.
3. Product Knowledge
This one isn’t a deal-breaker because you can train people once they are hired. A basic understanding of how the insurance industry works is a good thing, but as long as your potential agent is open to learning, they should be fine.
4. Ethical Behavior
No matter what the focus of your agency, adherence to a code of ethics should be essential. Your agents will be handling sensitive financial information when selling insurance policies, and they need to do so with integrity and discretion.
5. Organizational Skills
Again, this may not be a deal-breaker for you since this skill can be taught. But, in general, you want to see agents who know how to stay organized and keep their paperwork, either hard copy or digital, in an organized fashion. They should be able to report clearly to you and aid you in your own record-keeping.
6. Negotiation Skills
Your best high-performing agents are skilled at negotiating the details of the insurance products they are selling with their clients. They may be working out terms, coverage levels, and pricing or connecting with underwriters to get your client the most bang for their buck, so being able to negotiate is a plus.
You know that for every successful sale your agents make, they probably have a lot of doors slammed in their faces.
The best agents handle pitfalls graciously and leave the door open even if the potential customer says no. They need an inbred sense of optimism to get them through dry periods and the ability to handle the troughs and peaks of the sales cycle without becoming discouraged.
8. Team Player
Your agents will be interacting with you and with other agency staff frequently. A holier-than-thou mindset can damage inter-office relationships and hinder your agents from performing their best.
Sure, you want all your agents to be superstars, but they also need to be humble enough that success won’t stand in the way of good relationships in the office.
After the Hire: What Happens Next?
Once you’ve interviewed your potential agents and have made your decisions, remember that the recruiting process isn’t over after the initial handshake. Onboarding your new employee should be done carefully.
Have some leads ready for the new person so they can hit the ground running. If they’re new to the insurance world, assign them a mentor who can show them the ropes and give them an arsenal of tips and tactics that have worked for them. Understand that it may take a newbie a while to get fully up to speed, so don’t be too quick to judge.
Take Your Business to the Next Level
Once you’ve made your hires, you should be in a good position to grow your agency smoothly and efficiently. It may seem like a lot of work is involved in hiring a new person, but if you handle it properly, the pay-off will be increased sales and happy employees.
So why wait? Start polishing up your image, writing that job description, and interviewing potential candidates. Soon, you’ll be ready to take your business to the next level of success.