By Eric Waldowski
We have all been there. For one reason or another, it’s time to fill a seat in our office.
Whether the opening is the result of business growth or the unexpected departure of a team member, all focus suddenly shifts to making a hire.
Like many other processes, hiring is one that is a marathon, not a sprint. We all want to find the right person the first time around so that we are not forced to repeat our search in 6-12 months. We talk a lot about using the IdealTraits assessment and ATS to identify and stay engaged with your candidates because we know that having a sound process with proven tools is pivotal in making the right choice and getting the candidate to follow through. However, today I want to touch on some philosophies for an overall “hiring plan” to reduce the financial impact of the hiring process.
At a high level, the process to get a candidate in a seat in your office is:
- Attract them via job ads, networking, and social media.
- Engage with them promptly; call qualified candidates within 24 hours of receiving their applications.
- Progress them quickly and painlessly through the hiring/assessment process.
- Provide seamless onboarding and training with ongoing support.
While this may seem simple, we have all faced challenges with one or more parts of this process that slow the entire process down, and time is money. If one of my three producers leaves, I’m now down 33% (or more if they were a top performer) of new business production for each month that desk is empty. Today I’ll share some tips on how to significantly reduce the time it takes to fill a position, in turn keeping up production and saving you time and money.
Always be Hiring
It costs less to be prepared than to have to scramble; think of this as your insurance policy on talent. I encourage all clients I speak with to consider this analogy: having a job ad live all the time is like keeping a “we are hiring” sign up in a window permanently. It can’t hurt just being there, but the right person for you may just stop in to apply. When we are always hiring, we open ourselves to new potential candidates every day. This is truly the core of this philosophy, as having an established pipeline of viable candidates to call when a need arises is one of the most effective ways to shorten the time it takes for you to fill a role.
Time vs. Money in Attracting Great Talent
Simply put, most of us have a pretty solid idea of who we are looking to hire; what skills, experience, and personality it will take to meet our needs. Now take a step back. A highly competitive licensed insurance sales ad (higher than market base pay, remote flex, benefits, etc.) may get 5-10 applicants a day in our current hiring market; and that is not to say that any candidate on any given day actually has the qualifications you seek. If I am suddenly in need of filling a position, it can be dreadful to start from the bottom of the hill. Even worse, it will take longer to fill the position, offsetting a current loss in production. So what do we do? Keep ads up always. And I mean always. To take it a step further, write one ad for your absolute perfect fit and run it. In our current market, it can take over 6 months to find a licensed sales rep with years of experience. But if your ad offering a killer opportunity to the perfect candidate is always live, you will receive a steady, albeit slow, stream of applicants who will find your ad when they are in the market for work.
Another big advantage to hiring all the time is the cost to market the job Itself. If we are always talking to candidates, we never have to scramble to hire, and as such can be more frugal with how we market the ad. You can post ads at no cost to the many job boards via your IdealTraits account. But you will also see the option to “sponsor” the ad. If we are always hiring, odds are we won’t find ourselves in a pinch where we need to spend more to market the ad. We already have names, resumes, and previous conversations with applicants to draw on.
When we are looking for talent at all times, we are exposed to more passive and active candidates. If our ad is up for 45 days, it will be seen only by candidates searching matching criteria during that window. This has enormous benefits to you as the employer, such as the ability to offer a more average compensation plan, or to find the right person to work strictly in the office or strictly remote work for your business. Your dream employee could be entering the job market 5 days after you pull an ad down. It’s not worth the risk to miss out on them. And with a larger group of candidates trickling in over time, instead of a mad dash to fill a seat, it relieves some pressure in the process, aiding in making the right hire instead of simply filling a chair.
But what if I need someone now? It could cost you to not be prepared. If you haven’t been speaking to candidates, it will now be time to post an ad, begin engaging and get an onboarding process in place, all while making up for what could be a rather large percentage of your overall monthly premium without your prior sales rep. Taking it a step further, maybe they produce half or more of your total. This can quickly become a big source of stress. To fill this role fast, and without a pipeline of candidates to call on, you will need to not only sponsor and market the ad as described above, but the opportunity itself may need to be more competitive to close the right candidate.
A rush to hire means stopping other things we do to start a process many don’t enjoy. Aside from the financial impact of not having a sales rep while you search and the actual cost to market the ad to fill a seat quickly, it also costs you, as the business owner, your time, which I can’t put a value on. If we create and stick to a strong and simple recruiting process, keep an ad live at all times and engage with each qualified candidate that applies to it, we can save ourselves endless time, money, and stress in what doesn’t have to be a difficult task.