While hiring entry-level individuals has its own unique challenges it can also solve the perpetual talent shortage most agencies face. Along with simply having enough new Producers and Account Managers it also means having future leaders, prospective shareholders, impressive client-facing staff, and tech-savvy individuals who can navigate our changing industry.
On the other hand, college recruits are costly and they need to be trained and mentored effectively to shorten the time it takes for them to become financially productive contributors. However, these are foreseeable challenges that can be solved.
Several universities around the country now offer well developed sales programs to business, risk management and other related majors. The best of these recruits understand hard work, know how to get along with people, and are incredibly bright. When prospects and clients meet a new high-end college recruit they are impressed. Even more so when the new recruit is teamed up with an experienced mentor. The combination of youthful energy and sage wisdom opens the door to winning clients.
College recruiting can answer the call for quality talent if done right. Here are some things to consider as the agency aims to attract the best and the brightest.
1. Career Paths
Prospective recruits need to see a well defined career path with an understanding of what they can accomplish in 5-10 years. The more clearly they understand the earning potential, the path to partnership, leadership opportunities, and other development opportunities the more likely they are to join the agency. Let them meet with your best people who can act as living examples of the opportunities before them.
Know the average compensation for the school that is being targeted. Starting salaries at schools with the best reputations can be surprisingly high - be prepared. When recruiting sales people avoid mentioning "commission" out of context - for the large majority of college recruits, even great ones, this carries a negative connotation. Instead, simply explain the mechanics of the compensation plan - and keep it simple. Terms like, "unlimited earning potential", "declining salary", "the draw", "eat what you kill", etc. are terms that they simply do not understand and will turn away many high potential candidates. Consider the advice college career centers will share about how to structure entry-level compensation to maximize the number of quality candidates.
3. On-boarding and Mentoring
Although the best and brightest can start contributing faster than many imagine, they do need to be mentored. They have spent the last four years learning from great books and now they need hands-on coaching by the people in your agency who you trust the most. Assign mentors for any entry-level role and hold them accountable for taking new recruits under their wing. Particular people may be good at what they do, but if they fail to fuel passion and inspiration it results in costly turnover.
4. Seating and Social Interaction
Where a new recruit sits is critical to their development and retention. Have them sit next to, and work with, the experts they can learn the most from. Whether by hearing others make cold calls or handle client questions - being within sight and sound of those who they should actually emulate is incredibly valuable. Ideally, new recruits should team up with seasoned veterans in any role. Balance this by making sure they are close, but not too close, to people their age with whom they share some common interests.
A Bright Future
When agencies become efficient at developing great new talent so many issues start to solve themselves. Not the least of which is growing, staying relevant and staying independent.
Atlante Partners is a new venture specializing in comprehensive college recruiting and development initiatives designed to drive profitable and sustained organic growth. Contact Zachary Gleason (firstname.lastname@example.org or 832-509-9873) to discuss a comprehensive approach to entry-level and college recruiting.