Why should assessing candidates’ behavioral traits become key in your hiring process?

TalentSorter StaffCase Studies


Based in the Midwest, a large national insurance company has been providing life and health insurance in the United States since 1956. Today, the organization has agents across the country and is continuing to grow and add to its workforce.

In 2016, the company chose to implement a customized version of the TalentSorter™ pre-hire assessment tool, with the targeted objective of resolving two key hiring issues:

  1. Spot the right rookie sales candidates who would be most productive in the job.
  2. Retain them as quality, long-term sales agents.

As an initial step to providing the insurance company with the right tools to achieve this, TalentSorter proposed that they first set the stage by assessing the existing sales team to see how well the platform differentiated between the highly productive and less productive agents that the company already had.

The results were clear – after assessing a cross-section of existing agents in their organization, the company and the TalentSorter development team observed key behavioral trait patterns that reflected the commonalities among their top performers, differentiating them from those not meeting expectations.  

And, most notably, the top performers’ assessment results showed a compelling correlation between high job productivity and a high TalentSorter™ FitScore.

So what are these key traits that were giving the company’s top insurance sales people high FitScores? One of the traits must be sociability, because sales people are outgoing and social, right? In fact, no – sociability proved to be irrelevant as a desired trait for the job, having no bearing on productivity and retention rates. Instead, the results identified that their ideal, most productive sales people were a surprising, unique mix of critical traits such as high intensity, high conscientiousness, and persuasiveness just to name a few.

In addition to understanding these traits for their ideal agent, the right pre-hire assessment tool can also arm companies with other valuable information about a candidates’ standards, attitudes and values – all things that are also highly predictive of how the person will settle in, how they are likely to perform, and how long they will stay. As management at the insurance company puts it,

“By and large, finding the right person has proven far more valuable to the organization than finding the perfect résumé”

In 2018, after using TalentSorter for a couple of years, the company measured the year-on-year results of their new hires’ productivity and retention rates, noticing some very positive outcomes:

  • There was a strong connection between hiring the right fit for the job and agent retention – retention was up by nearly 11 percentage points for new for hires during the first three quarters of 2018.
  • Overall, company growth was up by nearly 20% from the previous year.

Yes, the organization still sees the resumé as an important part of their overall hiring brickwork needed to ensure a potential candidate has the right skills and experience. However, with its desire to exceed industry standards for predicting a new hire’s retention, performance and overall job success, they are embracing the positive results of using TalentSorter’s assessment tool as a more accurate starting point in the screening and sorting process. The Assistant VP & Agency Director wraps up our conversation by saying,

“We are very enthused about our progress with TalentSorter™ and feel as if we have only scratched the surface as to what we can accomplish with this technology.”

Want to hire better people? A tool like TalentSorter is exactly what your hiring process needs! Find out more and see a demo by clicking here.

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