Having a dedicated recruiting system and process not only makes the hiring process more effective, but it also makes it easier to simultaneously hire while remaining engaged in the day-in, day-out business of originating loans.
In a recent webinar, Ron Vaimberg, Recruiting and Leadership Mastery founder and president of Ron Vaimberg International, Inc., explained how to build a successful campaign for attracting the right talent to your organization.
His seven steps to an MLO recruiting process are: developing the mindset of a recruiter; determining your ideal target; creating an attraction strategy; searching for candidates; getting attention to advance the conversation; creating more interest, and moving things forward.
Vaimberg said that recruiting has to be more than waking up one day and deciding that another warm body is needed. There has to be a commitment, which requires clearly defined goals.
“It has to be something that’s built into your recruiting plan. It can’t be something that you’ll figure out later because you won’t figure it out later—it’ll just get messy,” he said.
Having a defined system also means determining the ideal candidate. This means examining the difference between experience and performance; how long has the candidate been in the industry versus what have they done during their tenure. Turns out, experience isn’t the magic bullet that many people want it to be.
Non-tangible criteria isn’t always given as much weight as on-paper qualifications, even though it can have a ripple effect on the rest of the company. Production numbers are great, but who people are matter just as much, if not more, as what they do.
“Hire for character first. You can teach skills but you can’t change character,” Vaimberg suggested, adding that a bad character hire can cost a lot of money. Beyond the sunk time in hiring and onboarding a bad candidate, someone who is a poor fit personally can cause other people leave, in addition to lost productivity. A person’s character should blend seamlessly with a company culture.
When comparing a company culture to an idea candidate, consider where they fall on the Millennial/Gen X/Baby Boomer spectrum. It’s not just about the different methods of marketing to candidates in each of those categories; it’s also understanding the different wants and needs in a workplace of each generation, and where your company falls on that spectrum. That’s not to say a Millennial can’t be content in an office that has a culture of Boomers, for example, but consider the likelihood of a hire being able to adapt to your company environment and culture, whatever it is.
In terms of attraction strategy, the game doesn’t end once the candidate walks through the door for an interview. People love to pitch a company by listing the predictable attributes: incredible turn times, extremely competitive rates, cutting edge technology, and the like, but where recruiters fall short is explaining to originators what the company can do to support their success, as well as what the manager or person in charge of hiring can do. Most people never create distinctions between them and their companies, Vaimberg said, and that’s a big deal. Top producers might not need a lot of support, but having a discussion about what a potential hire needs and how they will be supported will tell a recruiter what the candidate wants in a company.
Recruiters obviously find candidates in predictable places such as industry and networking events, but referrals can be just as effective in hiring as they are for leads. Realtors, title reps, and other industry professionals always know people who are looking to make a move, and it’s worth tapping into a network when putting out feelers for someone to join your team. Vaimberg also cautions against recruiting solely online. While “recruiting is not putting an ad in the paper or on the internet,” he said, recruiting through platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook aren’t ideal; they’re better suited for researching candidates as opposed to initially recruiting them.
Once a recruiter has the attention of a potential hire, the goal shouldn’t be to convince them jump ship immediately. (What does that say about their loyalty?) The goal should be to keep the candidate talking and getting them to share more information. The way to do that, Vaimberg said, is by asking non-threatening questions, such as “What are the three most important things in a mortgage company that you look for?” Be a good listener, and offer general solutions. You have to earn the right to pitch your company, and the conversation should end with getting permission to keep in touch.
Some people aren’t interested in moving companies right away—or ever. Similar to courting a borrower through their home buying journey, the goal with a potential hire is to pepper them with contact, sharing industry news, events, and special announcements, building a relationship and staying top of mind. Be relentless but not obnoxious, Vaimberg said, and candidates will be open to that contact. As you continue to uncover roadblocks, remember that you are the same as any other recruiter with any other company until you earn the trust to show them otherwise.
Recruiting and hiring is a lot of work, and it’s a hard process, especially in a competitive market. Take the time to establish a methodical system of hiring and onboarding exceptional candidates prior to starting the process. It will save time, money, and headaches along the way.