Insurance company managers who glance at a job candidate’s résumé minutes before the applicant arrives aren’t putting enough effort into the interview process—and may be contributing to the cost of bad hiring decisions, a talent firm suggests.

“There is an abundance of important ‘prep’ work that should be completed prior to any interview. However, many hiring managers and interviewers find themselves swamped with day-to-day responsibilities and deadlines and are unable to complete many of these necessary tasks,” writes Joyce Dunn, vice president and engagement director for The Jacobson Group, in an article titled, “The Art of Interviewing: Mastering the Candidate Selection Process.

Dunn notes findings of studies across industries, including a 2012 Harris Interactive study revealing that 69 percent of hiring managers report bad hiring decisions, and an analysis published in Harvard Business Review finding that high levels of employee turnover are the result of poor hiring decisions. (See, for example, “Maximizing Your Return on People,” HBR, March 2007 edition.)

How can property/casualty insurance carriers improve their hiring decisions?

Dunn’s article gives some tips for both interview preparation and content. For example, she recommends clarifying expectations in advance, focusing not just on experience and background requirements, but also on skills and abilities. “Knowledge can be acquired; not having the core skills and abilities needed to be effective is limiting and difficult to remedy,” she writes.

She recommends compiling relevant interview questions for no more than five experience requirements and five essential skills. And the questions, she says, should be open-ended—designed to solicit examples or descriptions.

A sample question: “How do you determine your priorities” is one that can be used for multiple candidates.

The entire article is available here. It is also included in Jacobson’s Compass newsletter, available in the Thought Leadership section of The Jacobson Group website. the

Separately last week, Jacobson and Ward Group, an Aon Hewitt company, announced the beginning of the 2015 iteration of their Semi-Annual U.S. Insurance Labor Outlook Study. The survey started being conducted on Jan. 13 and will close on Jan. 30, 2015.

“In its sixth year, this survey provides insurers with valuable information on labor trends and has become an accurate predictor of the industry’s staffing outlook,” the two groups said in a statement.

“The results of this survey will help them better understand what needs to be done.”

With virtually nonexistent insurance unemployment rates, the industry’s labor market has become increasingly competitive. “The recruiting environment continues to become more and more challenging as the number of professionals needed falls short of the growing demand. Insurers must adjust their current talent strategies and approaches appropriately,” says Gregory P. Jacobson, co-chief executive officer of Jacobson. “The results of this survey will help them better understand what needs to be done.”

Organizations across all sectors of the insurance industry are invited to complete the complimentary survey. Participation is confidential. Detailed results will be distributed to participants at no cost. To complete the survey, follow this link:

The results of the survey will be revealed and analyzed in a complimentary webinar on Feb. 19, 2015. All members of the insurance community are welcome to attend. To register, follow this link:

About The Jacobson Group:

The Jacobson Group is a global provider of insurance talent, connecting insurance organizations with professionals from the board room to the back room on both a permanent and temporary basis for more than 40 years.

About Ward Group:

Ward Group is recognized for its benchmarking and best practices studies for insurance companies. The firm analyzes staff levels, compensation, business practices and expenses for all areas of company operations and helps insurers measure results, optimize performance and improve profitability.

For more information about Ward Group, visit

Topics Talent Training Development