How to Recruit Amid Labor Shortages

Companies that want to attract top talent should think like a chief marketing officer to reach a wider breadth of potential candidates.

Two business people talking to each other

Labor shortages are growing in the insurance sector, making it increasingly hard to recruit anyone, let alone knowledgeable, experienced and compassionate professionals. However, despite labor economy fluctuations, a few innovative companies have identified the secret weapon to scaling their workforce strategically ahead of the Medicare annual enrollment period, a critical stretch for medical beneficiaries and insurance organizations alike. 

Managing this staffing initiative is no simple task. Each year, organizations not only need to hire exceptional insurance talent en masse but also add these professionals to their payroll well before enrollment starts, to ensure they're prepared to help Medicare beneficiaries find the best coverage possible. So what strategy is helping teams scale so seamlessly? The secret lies in creative marketing. 

See also: Overcoming the Talent Crisis in Underwriting

Starting Early Is Key

Amid labor shortages, starting the search early is more important than ever. This will allow you enough time to thoughtfully recruit and thoroughly onboard someone without making it stressful. In fact, if you implement a pipelining element to your recruiting efforts, you can add people to your applicant tracking system year-round to tap into whenever you need. 

This is one way SelectQuote, a pioneer in direct-to-consumer insurance shopping, found much success in recent years. The SelectQuote recruitment team starts prepping for the next enrollment season shortly after the previous enrollment season ends to ensure they can recruit, pipeline and onboard compassionate insurance professionals in time. A full year has proven to be the perfect timeframe for this team to scale for the anticipated need for the next season. 

However, it wasn't always like this. Before deploying creative recruitment marketing tactics, the company rarely made recruitment quotas. Now, the team receives so many candidates that they have to strategically narrow them down to the compassionate insurance pros with the problem-solving skills needed to guide Medicare beneficiaries through the complexity of open enrollment. 

Creative Recruitment Marketing for Insurance

Innovative companies that want to attract top talent in the industry should think like a chief marketing officer to reach a wider breadth of potential candidates. For example, companies should be using a combination of branding channels and direct response marketing. Branding channels often consist of owned social media channels and the company's career site and can be used to show the benefits of working for the company, including company culture. This is where having trusted external partners, like a creative recruitment advertising agency, can help. 

See also: The Next Generation of Talent

Direct-Response Marketing

Direct response marketing focuses on eliciting an immediate reaction out of the target persona. The most common use for this type of marketing can be seen in consumer advertisements urging viewers to "call now" or "click here," but it is often used in recruitment marketing on sites such as job boards. For instance, if a company is primarily focused on driving applicant volume, direct response channels such as Indeed and ZipRecruiter would be a great place to allocate budget. 

With local insurance companies, it's especially common to ensure job posting content and locations are optimized when using direct response advertising. This helps capture the highest volume of quality and realistic applicants. For example, it wouldn't benefit a company in Utah to be advertising to potential candidates in Florida. However, we have seen success when leveraging "statewide" targeting for some insurance roles where candidates don't have to be based in a specific location -- such as field agents. 

Incorporating advertising into recruitment strategies can assist companies in reaching a more extensive talent pool. But the platforms on which companies should advertise remain elusive.  

Let's Talk Platforms

Some sourcing channels that have shown the most success in the insurance industry include LinkedIn, Indeed Resume, SeekOut and Handshake -- especially for early career job seekers. Those direct, personalized touchpoints can help source passive candidates for hard-to-fill insurance roles.

Recruitment advertising partners might also recommend consumer advertising channels as a complement to direct response advertising to help promote a client's employer brand in addition to specific job openings. That means that on top of placing ads on career-related sites such as Glassdoor and LinkedIn, it might also behoove companies to experiment on sites like Forbes,, ESPN, Reddit, Facebook and even TikTok. In fact, streaming audio sites are also common among insurance clients, such as Spotify, Pandora and iHeartRadio. 

Your company can expand the available talent pool amid talent shortages by going beyond the job boards to target passive candidates with direct-response marketing on a mix of career and consumer sites. Additionally, implementing a recruitment strategy with a pipelining element can also ensure you have talent whenever you need it, especially if you have cyclically busier times of the year. 

Neil Costa

Profile picture for user NeilCosta

Neil Costa

Neil Costa is founder and CEO of HireClix.

He has 25-plus years of experience in digital marketing, e-commerce and recruitment marketing businesses.

Read More