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secret to finding adjusters
We continue our series on how employers can succeed in an increasingly complex adjusting industry with our 6th installment.

In Part One, we took 100 eligible adjuster candidates through a series of tests and assessments that narrowed the field to the 30 most qualified people.

We now know these 30 people have the basic skills to do good work as either outside or inside claims adjusters. But you likely don’t need 30 people. Perhaps you need ten, or five, or maybe just one amazing person to complete your dream team. So where do you go from here?

Next comes our true “secret ingredient,” assessing internal motivation.  This step is just as important as our previous tests and will help us determine which of our 30 candidates is the best fit for the position and should be invited to training.

Let’s set the table with an example.

We have two potential candidates for our inside adjuster position, Claude and Cynthia. We’ve worked them through the previous tests so we know both are equally skilled at reading, writing, and arithmetic. As evidenced by their MRAB results, both possess an agile mind, a strong memory, and exhibit poise under pressure. We’ve interviewed them and they are both engaging and articulate.

What motivates them… is what makes one of them a perfect fit and the other not quite right.

But as similar as Claude and Cynthia may seem in terms of intelligence and competence, what motivates them is completely different. And those differences are what makes one of them the perfect fit for this job, and the other not quite right.  One candidate possesses a natural empathy, enjoys being a team player, and loves an organized work structure where tasks are methodically checked off. The other person doesn’t respond to authority well, abhors repetitive tasks, and feels drained by talking to and helping people. So how do you tell who’s who? Is Claude right for the job? Or is Cynthia?

The right choice means a great team member who can jump right into the work. The wrong choice means time and money invested in a person who will likely leave the job or be fired shortly after hiring.

Internal Motivation

So how do you determine these factors? Through understanding a person’s internal motivation. What makes them tick? What satisfies them? What makes them work hard? What makes them happy? That can sound a bit touchy-feely, I know. But it is also incredibly practical. It boils down to this:

  1. People do their best work when the tasks of their job align with their natural tendencies.
  2. When a job goes against our natural tendencies, we feel stifled and unhappy.
  3. Stifled, unhappy people don’t do great work.

Here at AdjusterPro, we won’t hire anyone, be it a part-time data entry position or the CFO, without passing each candidate through this filter.  And that’s what a motivation assessment is about: a part of the filtering process – where we are attempting to set people up for individual lasting success.

that’s what a motivation assessment is about… we are attempting to set people up for individual lasting success.

It would have allowed us to see that Cynthia was not a good fit for the adjuster job. Her day to day duties, over time, would have made her miserable, her performance would have reflected poorly on our company, and we likely would have lost customers. And most importantly, our company would have lost valuable time and money training her only to end up back at square one with a job to fill.

Developing the Filter

So where do you start? How do we put this puzzle piece of skills and job requirements and personal motivations together to create a formula for success? First, we need to determine which internal motivations are best suited to the position in question.  Ultimately, we need a filter for each position.

We’ve spent a great deal of time developing filters that identify great adjuster and manager candidates…

At AdjusterPro, we’ve spent a great deal of time developing filters that identify great candidates for the positions of Inside Adjuster, Field Adjuster, and Managers of both.  Not so surprisingly, the filters for each are starkly different, because the internal motivations that drive success in each role are different.  Since this is a blog post and not an academic dissertation, we’ll keep things straightforward and not go into too much detail.  We’ve used the Meyers-Briggs, the DISC, and the KLLP assessment tools but after years of data accumulation and seeing what has worked, and what hasn’t, we’ve come to believe in the KLLP (Kendall Life Languages Profile) for its accuracy in identifying great adjuster candidates, as well as for our in-house hires.

Sifting through the Candidates

We know this process works because we’ve used it extensively in assessing claims adjusters for a variety of clients.  But we also know it works because it’s happened at AdjusterPro. Let me tell you a story that may help to explain why we believe so strongly in the process. Several years ago, we were hiring for an important position. We wanted an A-player.

We didn’t have the time, money, or energy to waste on hiring the wrong person.

We didn’t have the time, money, or energy to waste on hiring the wrong person. Because we so desperately wanted to get it right the first time, we used an internal motivation assessment tool and employed a consultant to help steer us in the right direction. After going through the initial steps listed in the Secret Sauce I, we narrowed the field to 3 great candidates. The motivation assessment was going to be the last filter, however, we did interview them first. One interviewee, let’s call him Tom, totally blew us away. He so completely out-shined the other two candidates that our exec team was ready to hire him on the spot. Now, we couldn’t hire Tom immediately because we had already agreed to perform the Motivation and Communication Assessment, plus, we were eager to confirm what we already knew….Tom was perfect!

Trust the Process

When the assessment results came back, we were shocked. Tom, our main man, came in a distant third in terms of his “fit” for the position based on his internal motivation. And our consultant even told us that Tom would interview extremely well. He wasn’t aware we had done the interviews so that one really stopped us in our tracks…but only momentarily. Because what did we do? Yep, we hired Tom anyway. Hey, we said it was a trial and error process.

We simply couldn’t get over how dynamic Tom was, or how much we liked the guy.

We assumed the assessment tool just missed the mark.

We assumed the assessment tool just missed the mark. The end result? We had to let Tom go three months later when it became obvious he wasn’t the man for the job. And the kicker? He wasn’t up to the tasks at hand for the exact reasons the consultant told us he wouldn’t be after seeing his test results. Tom, although bright and capable, required almost constant shepherding to complete tasks. He lacked initiative which hurt because we were a small company with employees already stretched thin. We needed an independent go-getter who could jump right in and get to work. He also didn’t take constructive criticism well so improvement and growth became nearly impossible as he couldn’t be coached.  It was a poor fit and those were the red flags that were raised when we put Tom through the KLLP. The entire experience was eye-opening and our policy of relying on the motivational assessment filter has been etched in stone ever since.

The Value of Integrity

It is important to note that no evaluation system is bulletproof. There are always things tools and tests can’t account for. Things like poor moral character which may override the perfect skills and personality. Or on the flip side, extremely high integrity and an unflappable work ethic can make up for shortcomings. So we do see occasional anomalies that don’t fit perfectly into our process. But we feel that overall, our plan of identifying key internal motivation markers and filtering those through the KLLP works better than anything else we have found.

I strongly believe that adjusting firms should move away from the current strategy of hiring in mass volume and then seeing what sticks. It’s inefficient and costly, and it’s not working. Firms shouldn’t be afraid to demand a higher standard when it comes to who they hire. Claims adjusting is a great opportunity and we shouldn’t undersell the job or settle for any candidate who walks in the door. This should excite employers looking to differentiate themselves in such a competitive market because there IS a way to do it.

Great people are out there and the tools are available to help you find them.

Great people are out there and the tools are available to help you find them. It does take effort and commitment but the results are an increase in organizational health across the board: higher morale, productivity, communication, efficiency, and a decrease in spending valuable dollars training the wrong people.  The bottom line? A-players are profitable.

Our final two articles in the series will focus on how to train and retain great employees.

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