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Talent Acquisition: How Relevant is Industry Experience to the Job?

As a business owner, talent acquisition is a key part of the job and one that requires a genuine commitment to finding the best fit for the role and the company. Throughout the last 8 years, I’ve hired over 50+ individuals, each ranging from zero insurance-industry experience to decades of insurance know-how. Experience is nice, but it’s not a must have for me. Read on to find out what factors I seek when growing my team.

Despite the proliferation of companies painstakingly striving to build a positive culture and an engaged team, many business leaders are still stuck on the notion that relevant industry experience is a prerequisite to applying for a job. But why? At Expat Insurance, I’ve hired many individuals with zero industry experience who’ve evolved to become my top performing employees.

"With the focus on creating a strong culture in today’s corporate landscape, businesses should be broadening their horizons and finding the right person for the job, not the right experience for the role." Says Danielle Warner, CEO & Founder of Expat Insurance.

When hiring, here is what I seek in a new employee:

Personality Type

In other words, are they a glass-half-full or glass-half-empty person? Will they add-value to our culture and team? Do they display signs of being pro-active and entrepreneurial? How do they react under stress? What sort of environment do they thrive in? Are they a team player or more of an independent workhorse? All these factors add up + will affect their ability to succeed within my company.

Ambition and Willingness to Learn

If they don’t have any industry experience, I then look at their willingness to learn new skills and understanding the technicalities of the insurance industry. To be qualified to sell insurance, certifications are required – are they willing to put in the effort to study for and pass these tests? Quite often, those with zero-industry knowledge bring new angles and ideas, which experienced workers might not have considered!

If They Do Have Industry Experience

If they do have relevant industry experience, I look for signs and behaviours that they’re not set in their old ways. At Expat Insurance, our way of insuring people is very different to other brokers and agents in the industry. Our focus is on people, not policies, and I’ve built a team of people who care about people first and foremost. I look for signs that they’re an empathetic and compassionate individual – someone who is kind, considerate of others and yet able to have those uncomfortable conversations where necessary (because let’s face it, insurance isn’t the happiest subject in the world).

Comment below and share with me if you think previous experience is a must-have or a nice-to-have when you’re recruiting for a new team member!

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