Hiring Stereotypes That Hurt Insurance Agencies

Agency Hiring Stereotypes: True or False

Agencies don’t downsize their best account managers.

False: Here’s a great example of what can happen in the industry. I worked with a commercial account manager who experienced this during their first 30 days in a new job. Day 1: Started. Day 15: Boss who did the hiring was laid off. Day 30: New boss was laid off. Day 31: The account manager was told they would have to relocate out of state to keep their job. Day 32: Laid off.

Alternative employment arrangements can prevent a layoff.

True: Contingent workers represent one-third of the U.S. workforce (Bureau of Labor Statistics, June, 2018). Commonly known as “contract employment,” agencies have a lot of options for retaining talent on a trimmed-down budget. This includes self-employed/independent contractors, on-call workers, temporary help workers and consultants.

I can’t verify that downsizing wasn’t performance related.

False: Here is your best opportunity to lean into references. Many employers pro-offer letters of recommendation and will serve as references. Account managers have a wealth of quality references to call upon beyond the employer — clients, underwriters, vendors, managers, producers and coworkers. Plus, volume tends to be a characteristic of layoffs. It’s easy to find out through the grapevine what happened at another agency in town.

Why I Don’t Work There Anymore?

Tips for explaining job changes on your resume

I Was Fired for Cause: Be forthright and transparent. Practice your message without sounding rehearsed. Most importantly, clearly state what you’ve learned and how you will move forward.

I Was Recruited: No one ever faulted a person for being career-oriented. You seized a great opportunity. You pushed forward, grew and diversified your skills. It made personal, professional and financial sense.

I Was Laid Off/Reorganized/Downsized: Agency M&A activity is no secret. Business won or lost during different times of the year also leads to tough decisions. Acknowledge the difficulty but also the promise in entering a new chapter of your career.

I Relocated: Personal relationships, internal transfers or dependent care responsibilities. All three are common reasons for spurring a job change based on address. Talk about your commitment to an area. Emphasize stability moving forward.