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Mortgage Recruiting Best Practices

By March 28, 2020August 6th, 2020Employer Center

I recently hosted a Recruitment Training Session with a client company on the subject of effective hiring practices.  Having been a Mortgage Headhunter my entire career, I have interviewed my share of “A” through “D” Players.  As the presentation unfolded it became clear my client’s hiring managers picked up some bad interviewing habits over the years and their recruitment planning was the basic “Recruiting 101”.  Since their goal is to attract top prospects I realized their processes needed some improvement.

The Recruiting Best Practices steps for an effective search:

  • Recruiting plan
  • Attracting qualified candidates
  • Courting process
  • Successfully closing the candidate
  • Counteroffer counseling
  • Onboarding process

Recruitment Planning

The process starts by developing more than just the job specs, it includes; defining the primary duties and responsibilities of the position, and the characteristics of a successful employee, the entire reporting structures, listing all your resources, establishing a budget and time-management.  It also includes developing a compelling company story and the profile of the ideal candidate.  Make sure you are realistic in your requirements and accurate with your company story and facts.

Attracting qualified candidates

Attracting talent is generally accomplished through a variety of resources – both internal and external.  You may have internal candidates (processors, closers and underwriters) that are qualified for your position.  Internal candidates may have much faster ramp up time as they already possess knowledge of your products/services and understand the company culture.  Externally, targeting competitive companies is an effective way of sourcing candidates.  Using tools such as LinkedIn can greatly increase your visibility to a potential candidate and their background.

Two common mistakes when sourcing and making contact with qualified candidates, is not evaluating enough candidates and not creating a compelling company story.  Also realize that depending on the experience level of the person you are hiring you will need to screen between 50 and 100 candidates to find the right fit, so be prepared to do your background work.

The Courting Process

Courting is typically the most relied upon process and in many cases the least reliable.  Candidate interviews rarely reflect real situation and don’t show the candidate’s true behavior patterns.  There are studies that suggest 80% of the hiring decisions are made in the first 10 minutes of an interview.  That is a startling statistic considering that in such a short time, you may make a bad hire that can take months to recover from – or pass on the ideal candidate who ends up going to work for one of your competitors.  When interviewing a prospect, make sure you are following the criteria for the Ideal Candidate profile you developed during your Recruitment planning process.  Separate the ‘must have skills’ from the ‘nice to have skills’.  Also, spend time exploring past success and failures of the candidate as habits of success and failure are often indicators of future performance.

Discussing a candidate’s references during the courting process is also important.  Personal and professional references are always biased so make it clear that you intend on speaking with past reporting managers as to the specifics of their duties, achievements, and ability to work internally with peers.  Overly cautious responses can be a red flag and what isn’t said can sometimes be more telling than what is said.

Closing the deal

At this point you’ve found an Ideal Candidate so how do you close the sale?   Hopefully you had a discussion regarding compensation expectations as soon as interest was established by both parties.   Recap with the candidate their reasons for leaving their current company and joining your team.  Ask them if they have reached the top of their career ladder, are they looking for an opportunity to build a new team?   Does your company command a leading position in your market?

Counteroffer Counseling

Whatever the reasons, you have to assume that your candidate is going to receive a counter offer from their current employer.  Talk about the likelihood for a counter offer openly to the candidate, but rest assured that by predetermining the candidate’s motivation to make a move you have a higher probability of closure.   Don’t get into a bidding war, but do leave yourself a little room to maneuver from a compensation perspective.

Onboarding Process

We all remember that dreaded first day of school, the first day at a new job is no different. New employees can find themselves in somewhat embarrassing moments – from getting lost on the way to the bathroom, to forgetting important paperwork, to not knowing the rules (both explicit and unspoken).

This process is to make your new employees feel welcome, establishing their responsibilities, orienting them to the workflow and familiarizing them with the company culture, there’s usually a lot to cover and it is often overwhelming to new team members. The First 90 Days applies to any professional making a career transition, and provides a framework to create a strategy for future success with their new employer.

Yes, it takes commitment, but effective hiring requires a significant investment in time and resources.  Just remember that assembling a team of “A” players is your best avenue to a successful year.

Make this your best year ever.

Happy Headhunting,

Jim McGrath