As efforts to recruit financial services sales professionals increasingly move online, candidates from social networking sites such as LinkedIn are showing more potential for success than those from other online sources.   

This finding appeared in a new LIMRA report on current efforts to attract and retain new talent for sales careers in financial services. 

Recruiters want candidates who can survive the early years and continue to succeed over a long career, but evaluating this kind of potential can be a challenge.  Many in the industry use Career Profile+, a LIMRA assessment tool that has proven effective for predicting success in financial services sales. Aspiring financial professionals answer a series of questions on work and life experiences resulting in a rating that estimates the likelihood of success in the career. 

Social networking sites (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.) represent only 5 percent of all candidates, yet 6 in 10 who found out about the career through these sites rank high or very high as measured by LIMRA’s assessment tool.  By contrast, Internet job boards (Monster, Career Builder, etc.) generate 20 percent of all candidates with 66 percent rating as low quality, the most from any source. (See chart on next page.)

Along with the emergence of online recruiting, the personal touch still delivers impressive results.    Among today’s young advisors, 31 percent were recruited or recommended by someone they know.  Personal sources also deliver quality as 7 in 10 rate high or very high on their likelihood for success. 

It’s a well-known industry challenge that in addition to the large turnover of financial professionals who leave early in their careers, the number of established advisors close to retirement is at an all-time high.

While recruiters have a formidable challenge of attracting a sales force for the future, the research suggests that social networking sites and the personal touch are both effective sources to attract and retain the best candidates.