More people are signing on to be independent contractor career agents affiliated with Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company.

MassMutual, Springfield, Mass., recruited about 470 financial services professionals during the first quarter, and that quarterly total is the highest in more than a decade, the company says.

Ideal candidates have a commitment to learning, a desire to help people, well-developed business and social networks, an entrepreneurial spirit, and disciplined self-management, the company says.

“Agents are independent contractors — and not employees — of MassMutual or of the general agents with whom agents contract,” the company notes.

In some cases, however, the independent contractors may receive medical benefits or a 401(k) plan match, the company says.