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Executive search and selection for the insurance and financial services professions.

Candidates

As all of our consultants have previously worked within the general insurance sector, we are only too aware of the difficulties faced when searching for a new position and the need to find a suitable recruitment partner to help in that process. We believe that our knowledge of the market and the contacts we have developed make us ideally placed to assist you in finding the perfect new role.


Exchange Street handles a broad range of vacancies within the general insurance sector, with opportunities in sales, management and compliance as well as underwriting jobs, broking jobs and account executive jobs.


Our ethos has always been to build strong relationships with our clients and the individuals we represent in order to provide an effective match in both the job itself and the organisation's culture. To achieve this we have always committed to providing a service based on truly understanding your explicit and implicit needs.


At the outset of your search we speak to you in depth about your current situation, your background and your ambitions. This allows us to formulate and agree an action plan of prospective opportunities individually tailored to your requirements. Throughout the process we speak to you on a regular basis, keeping you informed of our findings, as well as providing ongoing support. We provide a free professional CV writing service tailored to your needs and prepare you thoroughly for any interviews you attend to enable you to maximise your potential. We are able to negotiate offers of employment on your behalf and support you through the resignation process to ensure a swift transition into your new employment. Of course we will remain available at all times to discuss any difficulties you have.


Exchange Street's commitment to providing a truly consultative service to those seeking advice and assistance in the job market is absolute. A successful recruitment business relies heavily on its reputation and ours has been built on the back of taking a long-term view of how we assist the individuals that we represent. The many referrals and testimonials we receive from both clients and candidates alike is testament to that.


Our website allows you to undertake extensive job searches on the many national and regional vacancies we are currently working on, which include underwriting jobs, broking jobs and account executive jobs, however given our contacts and proactive approach, we also welcome speaking to candidates who are interested in knowing more about the market and what positions may be available. Therefore, whatever your experience or location, please do not hesitate to contact us for a confidential discussion about opportunities in the industry.

Referral scheme

We genuinely believe that our reputation is best developed when people we deal with tell others of our work. We have a proactive approach and we are always keen to speak with new individuals, even if they are not actively looking for a new role. Therefore we are introducing a referral scheme whereby if you introduce an individual, who we subsequently place, we will provide you with £100 of vouchers of your choice. There is no time limit on this; if you pass on our details to someone now that we place in two years you will still qualify.

Therefore if you feel strongly that we provide a high quality service please do not forget to mention us.

Exchange Street Interview Guidance

An increasing number of firms within general insurance are moving more towards an interview process away from the traditional format of general interviewing and 'gut feeling'. Although they may not be to everyone's tastes the more objective approach to candidate assessment is here to stay and it is vital that you have an understanding of what these different methods are.

Competency Based Interviews

The interviewer will ask you a number of scenario based questions, testing your ability to provide firm evidence of how you have demonstrated a key competency required in your field of work. These questions usually start with phrases such as 'Tell me about a time when...' or 'Describe a scenario...'.

Often the STAR method is seen as the best way of answering such questions. This relates to Situation (what was the scenario), Task (what did you have to do), Action (How you did it) and Result (what was the outcome). Clients are looking for specific, in-depth answers about a particular situation so it is imperative that answers are not too generic.

Whilst it is difficult to predict the exact questions you will face it is worthwhile thinking through what competencies are vital to your role and then specific examples of when you feel you have demonstrated that in the past.

Examples of core competencies include:

  • Insurance Companies
  • Communication
  • Influencing
  • Organisation
  • Relationship Building
  • Team Work
  • Developing others
  • Delivering Results

Competency interviews are very popular so it is quite likely you will have to undertake one at some point.

Technical Assessment

Most commonly this takes the form of a multiple-choice questionnaire. It is to test the interviewees' level of knowledge across areas such as tax issues, products and their suitability. These are generally used to ascertain potential training requirements rather than penalising candidates for any knowledge gaps.

Role Plays

These are another very popular form of assessment, particularly within the banking world and larger consultancy firms. Typically these will focus on aspects such as undertaking a fact-find, an initial meeting with an introducer of business, or a meeting with a disenfranchised client. They are looking for how you build rapport with that individual and how you use your influencing skills for a favourable outcome. The focus is also on seeing what type of questions you ask and what process you use to ascertain client needs.

Although mostly financial services related some role plays are not, thereby testing your ability to utilise core behaviours in an unrelated working environment.

Short preparation time will be provided by the interviewer prior to the exercise.

Presentations

Presentations are generally forewarned giving you plenty of time to prepare and can either be very specific 'Describe how you will be a success for XYZ Insurance Company' or very generic; sometimes you are able to present on any given topic, either work or personally related.

These exercises are clearly chosen to assess your planning and communication skills and are common for roles where a lot of new business work is expected.

Personality Profiling

Also known as psychometric testing these exercises are usually carried out on-line and ask you a series of questions, asking you to agree or disagree, or answer which statements best describes you. You can not really prepare and sometimes the questions can seem quite strange and totally unrelated to one another! The only thing to be is completely honest. It is exceptionally rare for people to be dropped from the process after this stage; they are used more as a way of focusing the interview on any perceived strengths or weaknesses.

Behavioural Profiling

This type of profiling is much more situational, asking individuals how they would react in certain work related scenarios. Again the only approach is to be honest.

The Interview

Although the other methods described above are increasingly popular this is still the most critical aspect of the assessment process.

It goes without saying that you should be well groomed, punctual and polite. However it can still be nerve racking meeting someone for the first time. By carrying out your own preparation you will however not only create a very good impression but will also appear more focused, calm and enthusiastic. 'What do you know about us?' and 'why do you want this job?' are staple questions for interviewers so make sure you know prior to interview! One of the main reasons people fail at this stage is their lack of preparation and ability to answer the most straightforward questions.

If you are a salesperson it is also a very good idea to take along proof of performance for the previous few years or any records of success. A high degree of confidence will come across as arrogance if you can not back up what you are saying.

Another major reason why interviews go badly is that candidates can become preoccupied with describing how bad their current situation is. Although this may well be the case a potential employer does not want to listen to someone bemoaning their luck so always make sure you limit your reasons for leaving to the major issues and put a positive spin on them. 'I have given it my best shot but it is just not the environment for me' sounds much better than 'I realised from day one it was a bad place to work'. Especially in the first interview, when the environment can be very relaxed, it is easy to fall in to this trap.

Always be positive

At interviews and assessment centres you are being assessed from the moment you arrive. Any defensiveness, aloofness or negativity will be picked up on, no matter who it was with. This will ultimately hinder your chances to a huge degree.

Further some of the tasks required of you may appear unrelated to your role and you may not indeed see the benefit of some of the tasks, but they are there for a reason so see it for what it is - an exercise!

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In my recent business relationship with Nik Gardner I found him to be extremely professional at all times. I was kept fully informed during the negotiation process and he ensured the process was geared to my aspirations. Nik is a very dedicated individual who genuinely cares for his clients and I would have no hesitation in recommending him to any of my fellow professionals looking for career advancement in the future.

Marie, Business Development Manager - Insurance, Yorkshire Markets
Business Development Manager