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4 Traits You Should Look For in a New Employee

When you're hiring a new employee, traits matter. Perhaps youragency is expanding, or maybe you're looking for someone who will bring a new enthusiasm to the job. Whatever the reason behind the hire, you need to make sure that your new staff member is the right person. You could hire the most skilled candidate, but if that individual doesn't have the right traits, he or she might not be the right choice.

What is a Trait?

When you're looking at someone's resume, the traits are what you see between the lines. They're what leads someone to invent a product, found an organization, or engineer collaboration wherever they go. Traits are inherent personal characteristics such as creativity or motivation. While skills like facilitation can be learned, they usually build on an individual's traits. An individual who's creative could be an innovative facilitator. A person who's practical and results-oriented will likely be more by-the-book.

1. An Employee Who Exudes Honesty and Integrity

When you're hiring people who are working with other peoples' health and well being, people whom you need to trust to do right for your clients, you need to look for integrity. Your employees should be honest and try to do what's right for your company and for your customers. This will give your company a stellar reputation as a business. An employee who has a lot of personal integrity will also act in this way with others within the business, helping smooth relationships between your employees. Ask past employers about the individual's ability to work with others and present that individual with scenarios that reveal their ability to navigate complex social situations in a manner that shows integrity.

2. Customer Service That's Competent and Detail-Oriented

Insurance is a field of details. Forget to move forward a step and you forget to provide the security that your customers must have. Your customers need to feel confident that you not only know the details, you'll explain them and handle them impeccably. As you work to solidify your reputation in your field, you need to hire strong employees who are exceptionally good at managing the details. To hire for this trait, give scenarios that ask how an individual would create a process or solve a problem, and look at how they work with those details. Looking at a resume or cover letter for grammar and spelling is another way to do a quick check for detail orientation.

3. Someone Who Perseveres

If your clients contact you with a difficult claim or a question that's hard to answer, you need to rely on your insurance agents to persevere, even when it's hard to find the answer. When you're looking for customer service that goes above and beyond, hire people who are able to move through difficulties to the other side. As you hire for this trait, ask people or their past employers about difficulties that they've experienced and how they've worked to resolve them.

4. A New Hire Who's a Creative Problem-Solver

When your agency is going through a time of transition, you need your practical, detail-oriented employees to hold firm. However, you also need creative employees who will push your agency, taking it further than you thought was possible. Looking for a new direction? Bring on an employee with an adventurous streak who likes to look at problems in new ways and find many different possible solutions. You'll find yourself challenged, but challenge can be a good thing when your agency business is stuck and looking for solutions. To interview for creativity, ask for examples of problems that the individual has solved or pose a question of your own and look for innovative, out of the box solutions.

Traits Vary By Position

While many of these traits are positive, every position has its different ideal candidate. As you create an employment position, think about the skills the individual needs to have, but consider the traits required as well. You may want someone with customer service experience, but you also want someone who will show that your business is honest and respectful. By weaving traits into the list of considerations for hiring, you'll improve your hiring track record, employee retention, and business reputation.

As you move to hire new employees, contact the American Agents Alliance. We're a national insurance association of independent insurance agents & brokers and we're here to support you as you develop your agency. Whether you're looking for networking and advice or tangible assistance managing the hiring process, we can help you move forward as you work to hire new employees. Contact us today for more information.

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