5 steps for insurance firms to recruit better college graduates
It’s no secret that most college students simply aren’t aware of insurance careers. Our own research* has found that only 2 percent of millennials consider themselves “very familiar” with the insurance industry, and fewer than 10 percent said they were interested in joining the profession.
That harsh reality means insurance employers can’t just post entry-level job openings online and wait for the applications to roll in — especially if they’re trying to attract the best and the brightest. You need to be proactive if you want to compete with industries that young people know much better.
One effective way firms can get a jump start on the competition is by introducing students to their organization before students graduate. Here are five steps to get started.
1. Focus your efforts
With limited resources, you can make meaningful, personal connections at only so many colleges. For organizations that don’t have robust campus recruiting programs, that means first identifying your key targets to determine where to focus your efforts. For insurance organizations in particular, the first place you should be looking is at schools with established risk management and insurance (RMI) programs. Nearly 40 colleges and universities offer undergraduate RMI-major programs, and many more offer RMI minors, graduate programs and individual classes, according to a 2014 study by St. John’s University and the International Insurance Society. Many of these schools are also MyPath partners, and you can learn more about them by visiting our partner page.
2. Reach out
Yes, you can contact a college’s career center. Yes, you can have an engaging, dynamic post on the school’s job board. And yes, you can have an inviting informational table at schools’ career and internship fairs. All these official channels are great ways to catch the attention of students who are actively looking for jobs. But there are other ways to reach prospective applicants, too. Check for business-focused student groups or clubs, especially Gamma Iota Sigma (GIS), the insurance, risk management and actuarial science organization. GIS has more than 65 chapters across the United States with ambitious students who are already familiar and involved with the insurance field. Find a chapter near you by visiting their website, and offer to send a guest speaker or host an informational lunch. (Trust us, no college students are turning down free food.)
3. Use your connections
Chances are you already have some untapped recruitment resources in your ranks. Identify employees at your company who are alumni of the schools you’re targeting, especially recent grads. Encourage them to stay active in alumni groups and share news about job opportunities at your firm. Internships are another great way to generate awareness of your company. They truly are the simplest win-win, because you get support for your team, the interns gain valuable professional experience, and there’s always the chance they’ll spread the word about your organization on campus. If you’re looking for high-caliber interns, you can become a MyPath partner and post your internships on our database for tens of thousands of users to find.
4. Put your best foot forward
Make sure your company’s online presence and recruiting resources are as strong as they can be. Your company website should look inviting and provide easy access to your social media channels, and you need to be sure you have solid information on key websites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Glassdoor, Vault and others. If you’re really ambitious, look at creating dedicated channels on sites like YouTube. Basically, make it as easy as possible for potential applicants to find information about you. Ideally, your social media presence should have a personal feel and give students an idea of what it’s really like to work for your company. As we know, careers in insurance organizations are often misrepresented, so it’s imperative to make that extra effort to show your workplace is rewarding and fulfilling.
5. Rein in your strongest applicants
All these efforts are only half the battle. If the people you’re attracting really are talented, you’re probably competing with other organizations to get them. To hook them and reel them in, consider giving applicants some personal attention. If you’re making an offer, specifically refer to topics discussed during the interview process or send a handwritten note. Millennials especially want to understand how they fit in to the mission of the organization and want to feel appreciated as a unique addition to the group. Some firms even ask the CEO or another exec to give the applicant a call extending a job offer. If you’ve done a good job up to that point, that applicant may actually become the CEO one day.
*Research from The Griffith Insurance Education Foundation, “Millennial Generation Attitudes About Work and The Insurance Industry” (Malvern, Pa.: The Griffith Foundation, 2011).