Monday, December 12, 2016

The Key Component to a Successful Job Interview

For years I’ve counseled candidates who are preparing themselves for a face to face job interview.  There are several important topics for discussion and consideration. 
A key component to a successful job interview experience is “rapport.”

Rapport is often defined in these terms: relation, connection, especially harmonious or sympathetic relation.
Rapport is a good sense of understanding and trust. If you have rapport with someone, you two communicate with trust and sympathy. The word is often used to mean good interaction between people in different positions.
Building rapport is all about matching ourselves with another person.  For many, starting a conversation with a stranger is a stressful event; we can be lost for words, awkward with our body language and mannerisms.  Creating rapport at the beginning of a conversation with somebody new will often make the outcome of the conversation more positive. 

  • Talk about established shared experiences, the weather, how you travelled to where you are.  Avoid talking too much about yourself and avoid asking direct questions about the other person.
  • Listen to what the other person is saying and look for shared experiences or circumstances - this will give you more to talk about in the initial stages of communication.
  • Try to inject an element of humor.  Laughing together creates harmony, make a joke about yourself or the situation/circumstances you are in but avoid making jokes about other people.
  • Be conscious of your body language and other non-verbal signals you are sending.  Try to maintain eye contact for approximately 60% of the time.  Relax and lean slightly towards them to indicate listening, mirror their body-language if appropriate.

We create and maintain rapport subconsciously through matching non-verbal signals, including body positioning, body movements, eye contact, facial expressions and tone of voice with the other person.
It is important that appropriate body language is used; we read and instantly believe what body language tells us, whereas we may take more persuading with vocal communication.  If there is a mismatch between what we are saying verbally and what our body language is saying then the person we are communicating with will believe the body language. 
Building rapport, therefore, begins with displaying appropriate
body language - being welcoming, relaxed and open.

Reflecting back and clarifying what has been said are useful tactics for repeating what has been communicated by the other person.  Not only will it confirm that you are listening but also give you opportunity to use the words and phases of the other person, further emphasizing similarity and common ground.
The way we use our voice is also important in developing rapport...When we are nervous or tense we tend to talk more quickly, this in turn can make you sound more tense and stressed. We can vary our voices, pitch, volume and pace in ways to make what we are saying more interesting but also to come across as more relaxed, open and friendly.  Try lowering your tone, talk more slowly and softly, this will help you develop rapport more easily.

Here is a recent article from the Wall Street Journal very applicable to this topic:

Scot Dickerson, CPC | President | Capstone Search Group

Monday, November 28, 2016

Is Your Company Losing Top Talent Due to Outdated Policies?

The work place is a constantly evolving and changing space.  What was once generally accepted is no longer the norm today.  A quick, easy example is business suit and equivalent attire for women. Most companies have gone to business casual as the accepted norm or even more casual in some companies.
Companies that do not keep up with what is now considered the norm stand the risk of losing good employees. I realize in some cases it is tempting to hold on to what was once tradition, but the real importance of this must be carefully weighed against securing and keeping good talent. More so than ever with the market changing and it becoming increasingly difficult to source, attract and secure top talent.  Organizations must do a critical self-assessment of their policies to see if they are losing top talent because of outdated policies.

What are some examples?
  1. Internet use
  2. Office attire
  3. Flex time

Let’s take the example of restricting Internet use.
There are certain sites that no one should be visiting at work... Once you block those obvious sites, it’s a difficult and arbitrary process deciding where to draw the line. Does your company draw it in the wrong place?
Right now is probably a good time to review your Internet policy. How does your company and human resources department feel about employees being able to kill time on the Internet during breaks? When companies unnecessarily restrict people’s Internet activity, it can more than demoralize those that can’t check Facebook; it limits people’s ability to do their jobs. Some companies restrict Internet activity so heavily that it makes it difficult for people to do online research. An obvious example is checking the Facebook profile of someone you just interviewed.

Scot Dickerson, CPC | President | Capstone Search Group

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

First Impressions are Critical During a Job Interview

First impressions are critical during a job interview.  Knowing exactly what is being evaluated can help you best present yourself.
Amy Cuddy, Harvard psychologist and author of Presence, shows how your body language influences others and even changes the way you see yourself. Social scientists have shown that we make sweeping inferences and judgements based on body language, judgements that can predict meaningful life outcomes like who we hire and who we trust. 
In Presence, Ms. Cuddy reveals that we have the power to affect how others see us simply by changing body positions. Cuddy says that people quickly answer two questions when they first meet you:
  1. Can I trust this person?
  2. Can I respect this person?

Cuddy says that most people, especially in a professional context, believe that competence is the more important factor.  But in fact, warmth, or trustworthiness, is the most important factor in how people evaluate you. While competence is highly valued, Cuddy says that it is evaluated only after trust is established. And focusing too much on displaying your strength can backfire.
She says that some people are often so concerned about coming across as smart and competent that it they come off as unapproachable.

As I prepare candidates for interviews I stress the importance of presentation. This not only includes dressing appropriately but also body language aka non-verbal communication.  So as you prepare for your next interview never underestimate the importance warmth and trustworthiness play in how the hiring manager or human resources person will evaluate you.

Scot Dickerson, CPC | President | Capstone Search Group

Monday, October 10, 2016

The Fundamentals of Hiring

Stop looking for reasons not to make a hire.
Overly narrow job descriptions and overly choosy managers are killing companies. It might be the economy that makes managers so risk-averse. Such aversion often clouds business thinking. Their companies are hurting while they hesitate to hire good people.  Their current employees are being overworked and morale is suffering while they find reasons not to make a hire. 

What is it going to cost the company to leave this position un-filled and the job un-done for several more months?
What is it going to cost when one (or all three) of those “fit and qualified” candidates join the company’s competition — and work against this employer? 

Hiring someone who actually hits on every bullet point in a job description is rare indeed. And what if you wait months and actually DO find that person?  Just because someone did amazingly well at a previous role doesn’t, unfortunately, ensure they’ll do the same with you...
  1. Holding out could  impact you in numerous ways. You’ll never be satisfied with candidates until you find that star and they could cost you a lot, both in salary, and, if you are wrong, in undoing the mess they leave behind.
  2. Instead, look for people who will add real value, supported by data driven hiring practices and tools.
  3. Unless an amazing candidate lands in your inbox, and they are suitable following pre-screening, due diligence and an interview, then look for the best fit from the candidates in front of you.
  4. Avoid analysis paralysis. Slow to hire and you lose. 
Being stuck on the bullet points and you spend months with an open job.  If the person has a proven track record, you like their energy and personality but they lack a license, so what?  Allow them to get the license.  Otherwise you could go months with an open position, when in reality the person could have gotten their license and have become a productive part of your team while you are still waiting.

Sticking to the fundamentals of hiring the right way, finding the right candidates, not hunting for a unicorn, is much more likely to lead to a successful fit, plus gets your positions filled quicker so you stop hurting your business.

Scot Dickerson, CPC | President | Capstone Search Group

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Strategies for Securing Top Talent

While employers often feel that it should be easy to attract great candidates it is not always the case. Top candidates always have options, and they can generally afford to be picky about which jobs they explore, let alone which offers they accept. This means that employers who truly care about attracting top talent need to put special thought into how they recruit candidates.

Since the best candidates have options, they’ll interview and evaluate employers right back. Employers who assume that the assessment process only goes one way and forget to care about how they’re coming across to candidates will generally turn off great candidates.
Over my years in recruiting within the insurance industry, I’ve found the below strategies particularly helpful in attracting and securing the best candidates:
  1. The hiring company needs to understand the difference between an active job seeker and a truly “recruited” candidate.  It is up to the recruiter to make certain the client company knows who is who, too. Not that the process should necessarily be any different between the two types of candidates, but it can be helpful to know the difference in how each is considered within a hiring process.
  2. I am presently working with a client that volunteered, during our initial discussion about the project, that the hiring manager would be very open to speaking with any prospective candidate prior to them officially allowing their credentials to be submitted as an actual candidate.  When recruiting on particularly difficult searches where the potential pool to draw from is very shallow, this can be a very effective strategy.
  3. If you, as a hiring company, have a good story to tell, then you should tell it! A recruiter certainly serves as a valued resource during searches, but no one can tell the story like the hiring manager.  I’d even suggest that a talent acquisition professional or human resources recruiter, while very knowledgeable certainly, still is not as equipped to talk to a potential candidate about the department culture and why it is great to work for that company and that department.
  4. Once you have identified a candidate you are truly interested in bringing on board, offer to bring them and their significant other (if they have one) out to your community for a couple days.  Set them up with a rental car, a non-aggressive real estate agent and someone on your team that can show them the highlights of the area.  I’ve seen this as a very effective way to seal the deal with the person you want to join your company.

The competition for talent is tough.  Why not utilize whatever advantages you can to help separate you from your competition?

Scot Dickerson, CPC | President | Capstone Search Group

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Hiring Manager’s Guide To Job Interviewing

We work with insurance organizations of all shapes and sizes...
  • Large nationally known organizations
  • Regional medium sized organizations
  • Very small organizations operating in just one to three states
  • Well-established organizations to true start-ups
  • Organizations with highly structured human resource, recruiting and/or talent acquisition departments
  • Organizations with no structured recruiting function

Our goal is to serve as a resource to all of these different organizations, to tailor our service to each client’s respective needs. We have had the opportunity to work with smaller insurance organizations that have sought out guidance in the actual interview process.  
Let’s face it, some of the industry's brightest and best readily admit that interviewing is simply not their forte. So with those industry professionals in mind, I’ve assembled some resources that you might find helpful as you prepare to interview candidates for your job opening. 
There are over 7,000 books about interviewing and recruiting. Here are a few top choices that I would recommend:

Title: Successful Interviewing and Recruitment
Author: Rob Yeung
Teaches managers how to structure the interview, spot exceptional candidates, and hire only those who will add value to the business

Title: Knock ‘em Dead, Hiring the Best
Author: Martin Yate
This book is directed towards hiring managers rather than recruiters. However, since recruiters must often coach hiring managers on how to make good decisions, this serves as a "train the trainer" manual.

Title:  Hire with your Head
Author: Lou Adler
Adler approaches hiring from the perspective of a long-time recruiter who has seen recruiting undergo massive change. His approach is thorough and straightforward.

Title: 96 Great Interview Questions
Author: Paul Falcone
What Falcone presents is an entire philosophy of interviewing that is the exact opposite of the canned question approach. It's full of examples and explains why these questions work and how to interpret the answers correctly.

Title: How to Spot a Liar
Authors: Gregory Hartley & Maryann Karinch
Many people—including some in law enforcement—swear by these techniques, so they're worth learning and trying. 

Title: Hiring for Attitude
Author: Mark Murphy
This book explains how the hiring and interview process must change so that companies can weed out candidates whose attitude will create failure.  

Another recommendation by way of a quicker read would be this guide created by Careerbuilder:
The Hiring Manager’s Complete Interviewing Guide

Scot Dickerson, CPC | President | Capstone Search Group

Thursday, August 25, 2016

How Do You Assess the Environment While at a Job Interview?

We talk a lot about interview preparation such as becoming familiar with the organization, wearing proper interview attire and positioning yourself through non-verbal communication when in the interview.
When I discuss interview preparation with candidates I believe it is also important to recommend that the candidate also assess the environment at the organization.  You can determine a lot about an organization’s culture if you simply be alert to various cues.
Paying close attention to the workplace and people will allow you to get a better sense of the company culture, and in turn, can help you determine whether it’s a good fit for you.
Interviewers can tell you what they want about the environment and personnel but your own first-hand observations will be far more useful. Not only are you being evaluated, but you should be evaluating the company and its people. Gain a sense of the environment and its vibe.  If possible, you should also request to meet some potential co-workers.
Look around and see how formal the setting is. Do people have personal items on their desks? Is there informal and casual conversation in the hallways? Is the feeling relaxed or tense? Does everyone seem like they are on an urgent mission? These are easily made observations.
So, while you’ll still want to use the interview as your chance to make a great impression and ask important questions, you should also think of it as an opportunity to evaluate the role, the culture, the company’s leadership, and the boss.

The first impression a company decides to give visitors (interviewees or others) can often indicate their philosophy on how employees are treated, as well.  A warm and friendly greeting by someone who seems to genuinely care if you’re comfortable is a great indicator of a company with a thriving and happy environment.
In interactions, do the employees seem friendly and supportive of each other?  Does the workplace have energy?  Is it a place where people actually want to be?  A big part of that is just watching the genuine and outgoing ways people interacted with each other.
Do the employees look happy? This isn’t something you can figure out in your pre-interview research. When you arrive, take note of whether or not the receptionist or security guard is friendly. This will be the first person to greet you so his or her attitude may be more important than you’d think. Do employees smile at you or acknowledge your presence? This can tell you a lot about the overall environment as well. 

Scot Dickerson, CPC | President | Capstone Search Group

Monday, August 15, 2016

How to Close a Job Interview

Planned and effective follow-up after an interview is a must.  Failing to do so might cause you to lose out to another candidate.
Although it is important to provide a great impression during an interview, closing the interview strong is just as important. In addition it sets the stage for the next phase of the process, the follow-up.
Prove to your interviewer that you want this position and you are in this for the right reasons. Here are some questions you can ask before you leave the interview....
  • How do you view my qualifications for this position?
  • Can you tell me what steps need to be completed before your company can generate an offer?
  • Is there anything else I can provide to help you make your decision?
  • What's your timeline for making a decision, and when can I expect to hear back from you?
Now that you have an idea how you may stack up, an idea as to the process and steps and an idea as to their timeline, this helps determine your follow-up steps. The line between being persistent and being a pest can be a tightrope walk. So this process must be managed well.
To a degree, your planned follow-up depends on the type of role you are interviewing for. If you are in a more relaxed profession (e.g., accounting), I would wait seven days after your last contact to call or e-mail again. Why? Accounting is not as aggressive as sales, and therefore to apply sales pressure might frighten off your boss-to-be. Balance the aggressiveness of your follow-up with the field you are in; the more aggressive the job is, the more aggressive you should be in following up.

A thank you note is a MUST. Send one via email within 24 hours of the interview. However, a handwritten card still can’t be beat.
Include supporting documentation that illustrates your ability to do the job. You don’t want to overwhelm the interviewer, but adding one or two carefully crafted examples of your work (non-confidential work samples, etc.) can be a good way to show off your expertise.
Provide a follow-up response to one of the key interview questions. We all leave conversations thinking we would have responded with this or that. Use your note to modify, correct or amplify one of your responses.
Always be professional. Always be courteous but with the enthusiasm.

Keep in mind — many companies don’t tell you their hiring decision. If no one returns your e-mails or voice mails after several weeks, let it go and presume that there will be no offer. If the hiring company were interested, your contacts would be picking up the phone. No worries, the right job will come.

Scot Dickerson, CPC | President | Capstone Search Group

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Technology Creates Yet Another Challenge For Parents

Okay, so this writing comes from the parental side of my brain.  It most definitely has impact on the insurance community. 

The new smartphone app Pokémon Go begins with a warning screen. It is not a parental warning about violence. It is not a statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics that kids should limit their gaming to about two hours daily. Pokémon Go wants players to avoid physical trauma.

While mobile games can be dangerously absorbing to begin with, playing them while walking down the street poses significant risks.

If that were not bad enough, criminals have already found a way to exploit the game. Reports of players being attacked, robbed and hospitalized are emerging. Players can send a “beacon” to other users via the game, signifying that a Pokémon might by nearby. It is feared this feature could be hijacked by criminals.

Security experts are warning that hundreds of thousands of people desperate to play the game are downloading unofficial versions which contain malware which reveals to criminals the entire contents of their phone, including their location. 

Risks of Playing the Game:

Robberies or abduction
A group of 11 youngsters were robbed in Missouri after criminals sent a beacon to a secluded area by using the game’s location technology to create a signal at a “Pokéstop” - a location that players can visit to replenish in-game supplies. Fears are now building that the game could be used by pedophiles to lure children into remote areas.

Personal injury
A number of players have reported injuring themselves while using the game. The main concerns here involve children not looking as they cross the road and wandering away from their parents into hazardous locations where they may hurt themselves.

Nasty findings
In the US, trying to catch Pokémon led a teenager to a dead body in a river.

Data theft
Experts are warning that fake versions of the game are designed by criminals who want to steal people’s data. Consumers who download versions containing malware risk the entire contents of their phone being stolen.

Additional reading can be found on this subject on

Scot Dickerson, CPC | President | Capstone Search Group

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

How To Determine an Appropriate Salary Range?



Can you possibly advise a salary range? I worked with another recruiter who advised that I was currently on the low end for salary.


Hi Candidate,

Recruiters need to be careful what they say.  Everything has a context to it and everything is relative.  Companies vary in their base salary structures just as they vary in the non-guaranteed part of the comp.  One cannot simply make a statement as that recruiter made.  What is the reference point?  Salaries vary by the type of the organization.  However even within carriers, salaries are going to vary. A national carrier for example may have a different salary structure than a small carrier writing in three states.  The comparisons go on and on.  So again, to simply make a blanket statement as was made to you is reckless.

A better way to put it would be, there are carriers that may pay more than you are currently making.  There are carriers that may be paying the same as you are making.

You have shy of two years of commercial lines underwriting experience.  So the question is, what would someone expect as a typical base salary in your geographic area with a similar carrier and given two years of commercial lines underwriting experience?  You are presently at $50k on base.  Could you make more elsewhere?  Yes you could. Salaries could be anywhere from $55k to $60k. But they could be less. 

You stated that your salary expectations are $70k. For two years of experience, that is typically going to exceed the majority of carriers’ ranges for that experience.

But the real question regarding our specific situation comes down to internal equity.  The client carrier cannot justify bringing in someone with two years of experience at $70k when they have underwriters on staff with the same or more experience that are not making $70k.

Again, all things are relative and must be considered in the context of the specific scenario being considered.

Scot Dickerson, CPC | President | Capstone Search Group

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Three things the candidate should expect from the employer before, during and after an interview.

What 3 things should the candidate expect from the employer before, during and after an interview?

1.    1.  “Yes, we’d like to continue the conversation” or “No” within five business days after each interview.
2.    2.   An understanding of the pay range for the position before their first in-person interview.
3.   Time allowed in the interview for the job-seeker to ask questions.

I have not included post-interview feedback explaining why they didn’t get the job.  The exception to that however is when the candidate is presented by a recruiter.  It is part of the recruiter’s job to serve as a resource and advocate to the candidate.  Part of that service is being able to provide feedback to candidates regarding their interviews.  What I’m referring to is things such as:

1.      The candidate came in unprepared.
2.      The candidate was not properly dressed for the interview.
3.      The candidate gave us the sense that they were not truly interested in the position.
4.      The candidate had no questions for us.
5.      The candidate used profanity.
6.      The candidate was argumentative.

The potential possibilities could go on and on.  But these are types of things that the recruiter can discuss with the candidate to help coach them on their preparation or presentation skills.  Or can tell the recruiter that this is not a candidate they should even be representing depending on the actual feedback.

Not providing specific interview feedback directly to the candidate is not because job applicants can’t handle the truth or would rush to find a lawyer and try to sue every employer who didn’t hire them once they find out the reason.  But instead, truthfully, hiring decisions aren’t typically clear-cut.

You might not appreciate the feedback. You might feel that it was too subjective, but hiring is subjective. It has to be, because knowledge jobs aren’t cut and dried.

It can be very tough to choose between two competent job applicants. Sometimes one person gets the nod because they sent in a thank-you note or because they have glowing references from two vendors the company does business with.

That information is private. The Human Resources Manager can’t tell you, “Two of our vendors spoke highly of the person we hired, and none of our vendors recommended you.” The information that came from those vendors is relevant to a hiring decision.

A job search can be full of disappointments. There’s a lot that employers can do to make the experience more pleasant for job-seekers.

You deserve to know promptly when you’re not getting a job that you’ve interviewed for, but not necessarily the specific details of the hiring decision. Most likely, you didn’t do anything wrong in your interview — it’s just that someone else gave the hiring manager and his or her colleagues a stronger feeling that they understand the role and can step into it and make a difference.

Go over the interview and think about what you said and what they said and what you’d do differently the next time. That doesn’t mean you messed anything up.

Scot Dickerson, CPC | President | Capstone Search Group

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Does Every One of Us Have Room For Improvement?

I hated every minute of the training, but I said, “Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.” 
Muhammad Ali

Self-development starts from your mind, your thoughts, your ideas. Your opinions are what shape you and make you into what you are. This is your battleground. This is where you must focus if you want to change your life. There’s always room for improvement. Some of us may have been given this advice by well-meaning friends or family. Do you need to make changes in your career, your life, your health? Whatever your need, there really is room for improvement for most of us. Take the below quotes for example.

“Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.”
Benjamin Franklin
“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry.  He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”
Martin Luther King

“If you want more, you have to require more from yourself.”
Dr Phil

“No matter who you are, no matter what you did, no matter where you've come from, you can always change, become a better version of yourself.”  

It’s true; every one of us has room for improvement….

Scot Dickerson, CPC | President | Capstone Search Group

Friday, June 24, 2016

10 Areas Where Passion Can Meet Purpose in an Insurance Industry Job

:  10 Areas Where Passion Can Meet Purpose in an Insurance Industry Job

As fulfilling as it is on multiple levels, a career in insurance is not one that most young people intentionally pursue. Ask anyone who has spent more than a few years in the industry and he or she will tell you that they fell into it, but that they truly enjoy it. Why is this the case??  Largely because college students are not exposed to the wide variety of potential career options within the insurance industry.  When I was a senior in college and was conducting on-campus interviews with potential employers, I avoided the insurance companies coming on campus. The reason was….I thought they were looking for sales people.  I had no interest in selling insurance.  What I didn’t know, however, was the vast opportunities the industry actually holds for those coming out of college.

The insurance industry actually allows you to discover where your passion meets purpose.

What are you passionate about? The insurance industry can provide you with the foundation for a successful and rewarding professional career that helps you find purpose each and every day. Take a look at the below 10 example of where you might find your passion.

Love numbers? Hone your skills and gain the experience you need to start a career in one of the top ranked jobs in America.

Like helping people? Experience a broad range of opportunities across all personal and commercial lines of business.

Enterprise Risk
Are you logical, analytical, cautious? Develop a broad range of risk management skills as you progress in your career.

So is it all about the dollars and cents for you? Gain skills and knowledge to empower business partners and stakeholders with valuable insights.

Human Resources
Are you a people person? Learn what human resource professionals do and see where a career in this field could take you.

Investment Management
Enjoy complexity? Develop analytical skills and expertise in securities, markets, economics, and portfolio risk analysis.

Interested in engaging in assignments that focus on developing your marketing and advertising capabilities, broadening your knowledge of the company, brand, and business lines and products?

Operations & Technology
Are you an organizer? Gain operational management skills that support organizational strategy. Are you into technology? Grow your technical skills and stay at the leading edge of your field.

Product Management
Do you love solving complex problems? Does a competitive environment energize you? Start a rewarding career in product management.

Are you analytical? Jump-start your future in underwriting by building a solid foundation that could lead to a long-term career path within the industry.

Scot Dickerson, CPC | President | Capstone Search Group

Monday, June 20, 2016

: The universal truths of networking

Networking in everyday life is not necessarily an obvious concept. Networking as a term is most prominently found in popular business literature.

Traditional networking contains these elements: 
  • One connects to other people.
  • Making a good impression.
  • It takes place at events.
  • It is goal-oriented.

Consider this universal truth of networking: Before you can get what you want, you have to know what you want, and make a game plan to get it. Networking in everyday life shares a number of features with the tradition networking you typically see in business: it involves connections with a set of individuals, there are contexts for action, and there are undoubtedly benefits from the interactions.

Humans are pro-social, interested in making contact with each other and sharing information and support. Obviously, not every person wants to support, share or exchange with all other people, but virtually all humans want to share with someone.

Personal situation...When we are looking for a painter to do some work around our house we often turn to networking for recommendations from others. Same holds true when we need work done on our auto.  Seeking a contractor for other home related projects.  Or perhaps we are looking for a good Italian restaurant.  Networking is embedded into our daily lives as social beings...

Recently I was networking with insurance professionals I know seeking out ideas and recommendations for an opportunity I am working on for a client company.  I engaged with a professional I had previously assisted when they were looking for a new job.  I was quite surprised when this individual responded to me that they thought me reaching out to network with them was unprofessional. Yet I ask the question, "Wasn’t this very person networking with me for opportunities when they contacted me about their own job search previously?"

Everyone wants to meet someone. Networking is a way to access otherwise inaccessible people.

Networking is the number one way to get a job. 60-80% of jobs are found through some element of networking. A personal connection to a hiring manager is the best way to get your resume on the top of the pile. Think about 10 of your employed friends, how many of them got their job through a form of networking??

Networking keeps you sharp, current, and in touch with your industry. Your career should never be stagnant. Even if you plan on staying in a given job indefinitely – why not make your business the best and the busiest? Before making a leap into another career, what better way than to talk to people who know?

When you’re talking to a friend of a friend, it’s unlikely that the friend’s friend is going to lead you on or tell you half-truths. You can more or less expect to get the full story. If you’re talking about a job opportunity – you’ll hear about the hours, the boss, coworkers, etc.

It’s all very simple…
  • A good network is a two-way street of helpful relationships.
  • In every social situation you’re in, make sure people leave knowing who you are, what service/skills you provide, and how to get a hold of you.
  • Karmic payoff.  You help others, others will help you. Everyone likes people who are helpful – so good things will likely come to those people. Reciprocity is the golden rule and focuses on how to translate relationships into personal success.

Scot Dickerson, CPC | President | Capstone Search Group

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

4 Reasons College Graduates Should Consider and Insurance Career

College graduates may not think of insurance as the most glamorous industry in America, but the insurance industry does offer stability, challenge and growth to those who choose the profession. I realize not a lot of college students today are saying, “I can’t wait to work in insurance.” However, to the college graduates, there are a lot of benefits and advantages in insurance that you don’t have in other industries! Take the following four as examples:

The talent in the insurance industry is graying. It is estimated that nearly 60% of the insurance industry’s current employees are older than the age of 45 and that by the year 2020, there will be more than 400,000 job opportunities. Those are some substantial numbers and these numbers are on many insurance employers’ mind. The industry is hungry for young, driven talent to fill the pipelines before their current staff disappears.

Job Security
The insurance industry provides a considerable amount of job security. There will always be a need for insurance. Insurance is fairly recession-proof because insurance companies tend to be fiscally conservative and Americans need insurance whether the economy is up or down. And since insurance firms are often mutual companies they can launch sophisticated and aggressive information technology strategies, routinely support safety education and tend to have close ties to their local communities.

Job Variety
Insurance is everywhere! You won’t be limited to a particular list of major cities. The insurance industry is a major U.S. employer, providing some 2.5 million jobs that encompass a wide variety of careers, from human resource administrators to public relations managers to financial analysts. Some jobs, such as claims adjusters, actuaries and insurance underwriters, are unique to the insurance industry. Whatever your passion is, you can pursue it in the insurance field. Many sales and underwriting professionals in the industry pursue their interest specializing in advising for not-for-profit organizations, tech companies, medical professionals, breweries, etc. Being able to relate and understand how a business works is the essential feature of what makes an insurance professional great.

The insurance industry serves to protect people’s financial situation. Insurance is all about managing risk and providing financial compensation in the event of a loss. You will find insurance organizations are commonly committed to serving the communities where they do business. Insurance companies rebuild lives and lifestyles after disasters, improve and support education in communities, and dedicate themselves to a culture of active communal engagement and volunteerism throughout the country.

Scot Dickerson, CPC | President | Capstone Search Group