Any company, even McDonald’s or Walmart, all have a set of standards and core values that they live by and that you do not compromise on. So when you’re looking for candidates, you want to make sure that you are looking for people who align with those values and who meet those standards. You do not want to compromise those. Otherwise, when your company wants to shift into a different direction, that person is not going to be able to grow with you. They’re going to have a completely different perspective on things and they are not going to be able to pivot with your company.

There are questions that you can formulate to ask the candidate to see if they align with your core values or you can just kind of naturally watch their character traits. For example, if one of your core values is punctuality and your candidate shows up five to ten minutes late for that interview, it’s a no go. You can’t compromise even if their entire interview is perfect. If punctuality is just a deal breaker, it’s a no go, you can’t hire them.

There have been a couple of times where I have gone against some of our core values and hired someone because maybe I was in a pinch or I thought it would be the right thing to do, or hoping it’ll work in the end. It never did. I had an example of where I asked a candidate, “Tell me about a time that you demonstrated a deep sense of care for a coworker,” and all their answer was, “Oh, I demonstrate care every day.” While I was looking for something a little more specific, I went ahead and hired that candidate and I wound up having to let them go six months later and six months is not a good chunk of time to develop and grow and employee. So at the end of the day, I should’ve just stuck with our core values and our standards rather than trying to go outside of those.

If your company has no stated core values or standards, the first thing I’m going to tell you do not Google, “what should my core values be,” because those are not your values. You want to think about what is the most important thing to me. You really have to sit down and think about it. It might take six weeks, it isn’t something that you’re going to be able to do in one hour because you want it to true and you want to live by it. So you really want to sit down and say, “what are the non-negotiable things that make this business function and separates me from other businesses?” Do not just go with what’s going to look really pretty on a wall or what’s going to sound nice on Facebook. No, you want to say what am I aligned to and what is going to make my business thrive?

It’s kind of funny to say that hiring is like dating, but when I would go on dates I would almost treat them like interviews because I have a certain standard I’m looking for. Everyone has certain standards they’re looking for in their relationship and they don’t want to compromise them because if you marry that person, you don’t want to be stuck with a person who ultimately not meet your standards.

So when you’re hiring somebody, it’s the same thing. When you are looking for things in them, you do not want to compromise your standards and values or your going to be unhappy as an employer. At the end of the day, the two go hand in hand. So when you’re interviewing someone, you want to think, does this person meet my standards, does this meet my values? And if the answer is no, don’t go with it.


A Practical approach to building sustainable growth for your insurance agency