The ARD Group helps companies in the insurance industry hire people from administrative up to senior executives.  Scott Cohen the Managing Partner shares their key differentiators

This includes that they: 

  • Specialize in the insurance industry- Scott worked for insurance brokers for 25 years
  • Learn their client’s true needs to provide important advicto help them make the right hires 
  • Help candidates get clear on what is realistic to help them make the right moves 

Read about how using personality assessments can help candidates and employees make moves that benefit them and their companies.


The Transcript

Brad Wolff: 00:00            

Welcome to the “It Is About You Podcast”. Today I’m honored to have as my guest Scott Cohen with “The ARD Group”. Scott, welcome to the show!

Scott Cohen: 00:15         

Thank you for having me, Brad.

Brad Wolff: 00:18            

Absolutely! So if you would share a little bit about yourself and “The ARD Group”.

Scott Cohen: 00:24         

Well, about myself, I grew up in the Insurance Industry and became a Broker, was a broker for 25 years working with large Commercial Accounts in the New York Metropolitan Area and beyond after many years of being a broker, the farm I was working for was selling and I went to the folks who own “The ARD Group” who’s a Recruiting Firm for the Insurance Industry and spoke to them that I was going to probably be out of work. They convinced me to come to work for them. I started running the business for the two gentlemen. They retired and I bought them out. So I’ve owned “The ARD Group” for about, I think it’s 14 years now.

Brad Wolff: 01:17            

Terrific! And you’re very much focused specifically on the Insurance Industry is within the most part.

Scott Cohen: 01:23         

Yes, exactly! We work with Insurance Brokers, Insurance Carriers Wholesale Brokers, MGAs, TPA’s. So we’re involved with everything in Insurance and related fields and we work from administrative people right up to senior executives and we work on a worldwide basis.

Brad Wolff: 01:49            

Awesome! So what is it, Scott, that excites you the most about your organization and the work you do?

Scott Cohen: 01:57         

Well, what excites me the most is I’m changing people’s lives every time we find somebody a job. So it could be somebody that’s out of work, they’re happy. It could be somebody that’s in a very miserable position and they get happy or somebody that we’ve just found them something and upgraded their life, whether it’s monetarily or job quality-wise. So each and every time it’s a thrill to get somebody a new position.

Brad Wolff: 02:26            

Terrific! So as far as the things that really make your firm different than other firms in Staffing and Recruiting, you mentioned that you focus specifically in the Insurance Industry and you capitalize on the experience that you had working in that industry for 25 years. What is it about that that you feel brings particular value?

Scott Cohen: 02:47         

Well, it’s easy for us to understand what people want, what our clients want. We don’t have to ask many questions because we understand the business. So we’ve worked and I know coming out of the industry relatively easy to understand what people are looking for and it makes it easier for us when we interview candidates to see if they really know what they say they know.

Brad Wolff: 03:16            

Right! So you can go deeper than the surface with that industry knowledge?

Scott Cohen: 03:21         

That’s correct! We’re able to question people to see if what they put on a resume is really what they know

Brad Wolff: 03:30            

So. Right! So you can…

Scott Cohen: 03:31         

So have a much better job of, sorry, we do a much better job of qualifying candidates.

Brad Wolff: 03:36            

Right! So you know what is smoke and mirrors and what’s really legitimate?

Scott Cohen: 03:42         

That’s correct Brad!

Brad Wolff: 03:45            

So Scott, what else do you feel like differentiates “The ARD Group” from other firms in Staffing and Recruiting?

Scott Cohen: 03:52         

Well, again, we have a lot of great contacts within the industry. So we’re looking for somebody and we can’t seem to find them through the normal channels. Our networking channels are very broad and through all the relationships through the years that I’ve made, I’m able to reach out and do a, hopefully, a better job of tracking down that elusive candidate that’s out there that nobody knows about and hopefully bring this to my client and have a successful marriage for both parties.

Brad Wolff: 04:28            

Great! Now you mentioned with your industry knowledge, how you understand your client’s needs. Tell me a little bit in terms of how you’re able to help guide and advise them with that knowledge.

Scott Cohen: 04:42         

Well, from the client’s perspective, excuse me, it’s, you know, we get a job description, we’re able to ask a few questions, focus in a lot of, plenty of times clients may say to us, what do you think the position is worth? So we’re able to keep a good handle on what’s going on in the marketplace in terms of compensation packages and from a candidate perspective, we understand what they’re doing, where they might want to go, and whether they have the qualifications to get there.

Brad Wolff: 05:14            

That’s extremely helpful because I know from experience when a hiring manager that’s hiring frequently, they really don’t know what’s going on in the market then. So they draw on the past, which may not be accurate today.

Scott Cohen: 05:28         

That’s correct for example when the recession kind of ended and things got better many of our clients was still trying to pay recession every dollar. So during, there was still plenty of good candidates on the market and not enough jobs for them. But the pendulum had swung so quickly back the other way. And today’s marketplace, we find there are more jobs than there are candidates that are willing to take a look at a new opportunity.

Brad Wolff: 05:59            

And that’s a very good point, it’s quite an extremely different market from the recession time.

Scott Cohen: 06:06         

So it’s a candidate-driven market right now.

Brad Wolff: 06:09            

Absolutely! So Scott, how do you help candidates using leveraging your industry knowledge?

Scott Cohen: 06:16         

Well, we know, we understand what our clients want, knowing our clients, we understand the process that they use. So when a candidate comes to us and hopefully we get them out for an interview, we’ll coach them on what to say, what not to say. We’ll coach them on things like how to dress for an interview. Believe it or not. People don’t know how to dress, we will coach them to make sure that they’ve looked at a company website and make sure that they somehow bring it into the conversation showing our clients that they’ve done their research. Because way too many people go into an interview, they bring their resume and they think the job is theirs.

Brad Wolff: 07:01            

So how about, what do you do about candidates that are just quite frankly unrealistic in their expectations?

Scott Cohen: 07:08          

I’m very blunt. I bring him back down to earth. Unfortunately and the marketplace has changed. Asking questions now. Like for example what are you earning? It is now off as a combo, but you can ask people when the range of salary they are looking for. And if they give some exorbitant dollar amount based on experience, we’re going to bring him right back down to earth and tell them no. You know, it’s very realistic. I’m not looking to soak my, excuse me, my clients, by inflating the salary to get a larger fee. And when we, our clients are our bread and butter and we’re trying to make a marriage between the candidate and a client that we hope lasts longer than some average marriages out there and these days.

Brad Wolff: 08:02            

And what is the average tenure in terms of people getting hired and staying, now?

Scott Cohen: 08:08         

I’m seeing 3 or 4 years more with the newer millennial generation, but with some people with, let’s say, some gray hair, they’ll stick around because they know the advancement might be there and the money will be there and they’re not looking to jump around this much with the younger candidates, we’re finding that they’re looking to jump very quickly, take the next step. Unfortunately, they forget. They think it’s all about them and it’s not, you know, they have to realize that, yeah, they have to partner with whom, that working for paying their dues and they’ll get their just desserts.

Brad Wolff: 08:51            

So Scott, what’s the greatest success story that you’ve been a part of in your recruiting career?

Scott Cohen: 09:00         

It’s been a while. There’s been a lot of things. I think one of my favorites, and it actually happened again this year is finding somebody a position who’s out of work on Christmas Eve, laid on Christmas Eve. Getting that call at the last second, even though you think everybody’s home, getting ready for their holiday celebration and getting a call from an employer saying, you know, we’d like to offering this person a position and let’s make their holiday bright and tracking down the candidate now on Christmas Eve when they’re getting ready to sell them, right. And saying, Hey, we have an offer for you. Present the offer, get in acceptance and everybody has a great Christmas celebration. And that’s one of my favorite things.

Brad Wolff: 09:49            

Got it like, it sounds like you enjoy playing Santa Claus.

Scott Cohen: 09:53         

I do. I actually volunteer at a charity and played Santa Claus myself as well.

Brad Wolff: 09:59            

And you do it sometimes with your work as well, so you sometimes have multiple Santa Claus experiences every year.

Scott Cohen: 10:06         

Absolutely Brad!

Brad Wolff: 10:08            

So I’m a big believer in what we might think of as failure and obstacles as being the things that really make us and help us improve. Do you have a particular failure or obstacle that you’ve overcome that you feel has been pivotal to your success?

Scott Cohen: 10:24         

I think learning from just things that don’t go right, whether we have a candidate that hasn’t revealed everything that they need to reveal to us in order to help facilitate a placement. Plenty of times candidates just don’t tell you things and then it comes out when we’re in the final negotiation process and it kind of holds up the negotiation. Many times it turns off the employer that they’ll walk away. So it’s trying to get all sides together and have every money on a really good understanding and a good level where everybody has mutual trust, I guess in me to pass the messages back and forth. So I’m kind of the intermediary between all the parties.

Brad Wolff: 11:14            

Absolutely! And I know that can make a huge difference because people are hesitant to reveal much information. They’re concerned it’s going to weaken their position.

Scott Cohen: 11:22         


Brad Wolff: 11:23            

So Scott, as we’re wrapping this up, is there anything that you’d like to add that we haven’t discussed here today?

Scott Cohen: 11:33         

I think we’ve covered quite a bit. I mean, I think that if candidates should think on the level of their working with a recruiter, you know, be honest, let the recruiter know what’s going on, let the recruiter know if you’re working with other recruiters, keep them in the loop. It works to your advantage. And from a client’s side, I think the client also has to be honest saying, you know, we have this job out to several other recruiters or we’ve identified some candidates on our own. I think honesty and keeping the information flowing is probably the most important thing so that we can do the job that we’re hired to do.

Brad Wolff: 12:13            

That’s a great point! That keeping those secrets actually ends up impairing the process rather than helping it.

Scott Cohen: 12:19          

Yes, sir!

Brad Wolff: 12:21            

So what is your website, Scott?

Scott Cohen: 12:24         

My website is WWW dot A R D Careers, C A R E E R S dot com.

Brad Wolff: 12:34            

Okay! And last but not least, are there any books or any other things that you want to tell the audience about?

Scott Cohen: 12:41         

Right now. Nothing. I think I’m fired up about watching the political process right now. I’m playing out what’s going on in our country and not happy just like everybody else, whether you’re taking a side or not, I’m just not happy watching what’s going on.

Brad Wolff: 13:01            

Yeah, it’s not a fun process. Scott, Thank you so much for your time and sharing some very specific information that can really be helpful both to your clients and to potential candidates. Thank you very much, Scott!

Scott Cohen: 13:16         

Thank you for having me on your show Brad, I appreciate it!