What to Look for in a Professional Recruiting Firm

Posted by Nikki St. Martin

Recently, Forbes named The Jacobson Group to its 2019 List of America’s Best Recruiting Firms. We’re proud to share that we ranked in both of the list’s categories: executive search and professional recruiting. The main purpose of the Forbes list is to help companies select the right recruiting firms for their needs. There are a number of options when selecting a recruiting partner and weighing the similarities, benefits, pros and cons can be challenging.

Typically, companies rank the following qualities very important when making their selection:

  • Presentation of quality talent and well-vetted candidates
  • Understanding of business and specific needs
  • Easy to work with
  • Insurance industry-specific knowledge
  • Timely communication
  • Experience with similar positions

These are all valuable and important criteria. However, many reputable agencies meet these standards to varying degrees. Throughout our nearly 50 years of experience providing talent to the insurance industry, we’ve found there are a number of additional factors that can help ensure the best fit and a successful outcome.

It’s a partnership.

PartnershipChoose a firm that focuses on the best interests of your organization and is able to act as a consultant and true business partner. The right recruiting firm should know your industry well and have the experience and expertise to serve as a trusted advisor in helping make informed hiring decisions. Keep in mind whoever you partner with is going to represent you to the talent community, so it’s important to choose wisely.

Both what they know and who they know matters.

Often, organizations will enlist the help of a third-party firm after exhausting their own efforts. It’s vital that your recruiting firm’s talent network and resources are substantial enough to add real value, rather than simply duplicate previous efforts. For example, as a niche firm with nearly five decades of service to the insurance industry, Jacobson has built an extensive professional network. Yet while it’s often said, “It’s not what you know, but who you know,” we believe it is a blend of both. A deep knowledge and understanding of the industry, coupled with an extensive talent network is a formula for success.

GetCreativeIf you want quality talent, you have to get creative.

With record low unemployment in the insurance industry, there are more jobs than there are qualified professionals to fill them. Compounded by the aging insurance workforce, it’s likely the tight labor market won’t be changing anytime soon. Simply said, it’s a candidate’s market and employees are no longer the ones in the drivers’ seats. In order to hire quality talent, insurers and their recruiting firms need to get creative.

Today’s talent community is passive and often bombarded with recruiter inquiries. Candidates must be wooed by potential opportunities in order to want to move forward. Recruiters should have a thorough understanding of the market and leverage this knowledge to craft thoughtful messaging focused on why a position is desirable for the candidate. In addition to messaging, recruiters should recognize remote work is now common and relocation is not necessary to acquire top talent. Getting creative with workplace accommodations is essential in tapping into an even larger candidate pool.

Communication is key.

SpeechBubble-1In any good partnership, frequent and clear communication is key to producing successful outcomes; it’s no different with your recruiting partners. Engaging in regular dialogue about your search strategy, the talent pipeline, candidates under consideration and next steps is essential. This enables you to act quickly and avoid missing out on candidates who would otherwise move forward with organizations that show greater interest and motivation.

Flexibility enables continual optimization.

During the sourcing process, certain criteria may require adjustments such as desired skills, title, credentials or compensation. Recruiting firms should be able to provide insight into the talent community and make adjustments to the candidate flow based on this information. While candidate criteria is typically set early on in the process, your team should be nimble in listening to the marketplace and adjusting as needed.

Communication-2Ambassadors can help share your story.

Insurers in smaller markets likely have great name recognition within their own cities, but may be unknown outside the immediate vicinity. When casting a wide net, it’s hard to get professionals, especially passive candidates, to take an unfamiliar call. By enlisting a recruiting firm with name recognition, it’s more likely these candidates will entertain the opportunity. Additionally, your recruiting firm should serve as an ambassador, educating candidates about your company and articulating why it might be a good fit.

There are a number of factors that should go into choosing the right team to take on your positions. Especially in a tight labor market, your recruiting partner is essential in expanding your reach and creating a tailored strategy that will result in success. If you are interested in learning more or hearing about how Jacobson handles professional recruiting assignments for our clients, please don’t hesitate to reach out.