When selecting a recruiting partner, there are several important qualities and factors to consider. The recruiter should be an advisor who adds value to your talent acquisition efforts and is a brand ambassador who represents your organization the same way any employee would.

Here are some of the most important things I recommend insurance organizations look for:

Industry Expertise. A recruiter who exclusively specializes in insurance is your best choice for two reasons. First, they understand the unique challenges, qualifications and skills required for your roles. Second, if 100 percent of their time is spent within the insurance industry then 100 percent of their candidate database is filled with experienced insurance professionals.

Of note, it may be difficult to find an insurance recruiter with a niche in positions like IT, accounting and finance because those candidates can successfully transition into insurance from another industry. For those searches I recommend a second recruiting partner at your disposal with expertise in those fields.

Network and Reach. A recruiter with a vast network of contacts and a strong reach gives you access to more diverse candidates. Their network should extend beyond just active job seekers to include passive candidates, as well.

With many of the same sourcing tools available to companies and recruiters, it’s important to choose a search firm with innovative sourcing strategies. The insurance job market is evolving, and the best search firms stay updated on new sourcing techniques, technology and trends that you may not be able to access.

Understanding Your Business and Its Needs. Another way to put this is you do not have to teach what you do to a recruiter. An ideal partner has personal experience working in the insurance industry plus thorough market knowledge as a staffing consultant.

Even if they possess a wealth of insurance industry knowledge, a good recruiter is not arrogant. I like the “humble servant approach,” taking the time to understand your company culture, job requirements and the specific skills you seek. Nowhere will this be more evident than in the quality of their referral/candidate submission.

Communication Skills. I’m fond of saying “time kills all deals.” Communication has the biggest impact on the speed of your recruitment process.

If you’ve experienced delays, frustrations, misinformation and unwelcome surprises during the hiring process, then my guess is the situation can be traced back to poor communication (or lack thereof). A quality recruiter is a skilled communicator who thinks two steps ahead, is proactive and responsive as well as transparent. This creates a trustworthiness that builds a relationship between you and good candidates.

References and Reputation. Ask for references and research the recruiter’s reputation within the industry. Drill into some of the traits you value in a partnership like:

  • Problem-Solving Skills: Recruiting often comes with unexpected challenges. A skilled recruiter is resourceful and can navigate obstacles effectively to ensure a successful placement.
  • Adaptability: Look for a recruiter who can adjust their strategies as your requirements evolve.
  • Candidate Experience: When a recruiter provides a positive experience to candidates, even those who are not ultimately selected, it reflects positively on your employer brand.
  • Alignment with Values: Recruiting shares many similarities with insurance.

Choose a recruiter that has a similar philosophy on sales and client service to your organization. It will create a deeper appreciation for one another and lead to a partnership built on collaboration rather than transaction.

*This article was originally published by Insurance Journal, CM’s sister publication.