TOP 5 BIG RED FLAGS WHEN IT COMES TO HIRING
Not every prospective employee will make the cut
Confidence is something I admire and respect. Hubris, however, is off-putting.
By Michael Wayne
I recently read Deloitte’s 2023 Insurance Outlook. What stood out most was the declaration that “insurers are reinventing workplace strategies and culture as talent war intensifies.” This caught my eye because my organization is in the midst of a hiring bonanza across the board. I have been asked to be a part of the hiring process on several occasions, and it’s been enlightening and frightening.
The Deloitte outlook stipulates in part that changes in employee expectations have pushed the “good to have” parameters to the “we need it all” bucket. Prior to the pandemic, there was a hierarchy-of-needs pyramid that had compensation and benefits as its base. Just above that was work profile including role and responsibilities, work timing, and work location. Above that were the “good to haves” consisting of paid leave and time off, support for personal commitments, and corporate social responsibility.
Where a pyramid once stood there is now a square of four interlocking puzzle pieces. Those pieces—DEI quotient (action-oriented employer with a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion), financial wellness (short- and long-term), flexibility (of location, time, and role), and career enrichment (dynamic career profile with clear enrichment pathways)—when put together can assist in forming a tremendous work environment.
Here’s my misgiving. I’m not certain that there is an abundance of potential employees genuinely worthy of what many of us who are already established in the industry would consider a beneficial situation served on a silver platter. To be clear, this is not about folks in the industry who are job hopping for a better opportunity. This is about those looking to join agencies with zero knowledge, particularly in non-producer roles.
Here are the top five what I will refer to as big red flags when it comes to job candidates. Unfortunately, these are all firsthand real-world examples.
Attention to detail is lacking
When someone submits a cover letter and résumé for consideration, I expect it to be perfect. That does not mean that they have to have an insurance background, understand the keys to our agency’s growth, and be able to articulate that understanding before walking through the door. It simply means that they cannot have misspellings; they can’t have previous positions that ended several years ago listed as “present;” and their cover letter should not erroneously express how excited they are for the opportunity to obtain a position with an organization different from the one for which I am conducting an interview. Surely, this is not too much to ask.
Expectations are beyond absurd
Confidence is something I admire and respect. Hubris, however, is off-putting. You earned your undergraduate degree two years ago and immediately went to graduate school and earned your MBA. That does not mean that you are qualified to be a manager or director of a department within three months of being hired. Making a declaration in the interview that you expect that exact career path to happen is not an inspired tactic.
They don’t know anything about us
Our organizational culture is important to us. When we interview new potential teammates, we do our utmost to ensure they are going to be comfortable in their role and understand how we operate. We want to know they are being given every opportunity to be successful in their role.
Certainly, it is extra work to invest in learning about an organization, but you would think it would be a given for someone making a life-altering decision regarding their career. Sadly, we’ve had candidates sit at the table for an interview without any sense of what we do and the industry as a whole. Even worse, when offered the opportunity to voice their desire to learn, several candidates have instead lamented about how they actually want a job in a completely different industry but figured ours would work for now.
Casper isn’t the only ghost
Not long ago, after an extensive interview process, we hired a new accounting teammate. She was fresh out of college and seemed eager to get to work. Everything was ready for her first day—we had a nameplate sitting on her desk, a welcome sign, and even an assigned parking spot. The only thing missing? Her. She never showed, and all of our attempts to reach her by phone, text, and email went unanswered.
Thankfully, she is alive, and we found out that she got a new job via her LinkedIn profile. There may not be a way to completely avoid this, but be as exhaustive as possible on the front end before you throw out a job offer and waste your time.
Lack of follow-up
This is a potential precursor to ghosting. For the most part, candidates have been good about sending a follow-up thank you message of some sort in short order after their interview. Those who haven’t typically were not going to advance and become a part of our team, but some are a part of our agency now.
You shouldn’t simply dismiss someone because they fail to follow-up with you before the next step in the process. Don’t ignore it though.
Michael Wayne is a freelance insurance writer.