Top Ten Tip to Recruiting Loan Officers

Successful Loan Officer recruiting translates to hiring great employees who help your company and the team achieve their growth objectives. To help guide you to revamp your recruiting and hiring process, we've answered commonly asked questions with tips to help you recruit and hire top talent:

1. How do I plan the growth of my sales team?
A good business plan always has a Recruiting Plan that outlines the goals, strategies, and techniques required to attract and hire seasoned professionals, with “an existing book of business.” Recruiting a talented team requires a plan and an understanding of the time investment added to your already busy day. Growing a solid team involves several new habits to a sales manager's day, such as; relationship building, time management, professional development, and retention strategies to ensure you keep the competition away from your team.

2. Where do I find the best Loan Officers?
The qualified Loan Officers in your market are not waiting for you to run ads in the newspaper or post a job online. They are literally a phone call away, and you just need to learn the techniques to build a relationship, develop rapport prior to making the initial cold call and have a compelling message to attract them to your opportunity.

The NMLS is a good place to start because you get to review their Self Reported Employment History. From there, you will determine if you are going to waste or invest time with this individual. We like LinkedIn when searching for self-sourced Loan Officers, and if they are good, they have learned how to promote themselves online. Google their name will give you a little more information about them socially and professionally.

3. Why are Loan Officers making career moves in this market?
Contrary to what you have heard, money is not the key motivator for Loan Officers. Though they will not likely take a pay cut, they are searching for a lending partner that is committed to helping them grow their business.

The top four reasons Loan Officers make a move is:

    1. Change in leadership or ownership. People join people, and Loan Officers want a leader that has their team's best interest in mind.
    2. Their current company is failing to provide support. The level of service they provide compromises the relationships with referral partners.
    3. A chance for advancement or an opportunity to take their career to a new level.
    4. The good Loan Officers can't afford to move around. Lifting the relationship to move to another lender is daunting, and they are searching for a place they can call HOME. 

4. What type of Initial Approach should I use?
When you are approaching an individual that is gainfully employed, the first encounter should feel more like two professionals speaking about the industry challenges. Treat the initial call as a networking event. Remember, these folks are not looking, and you are calling someone that is not on the market, so discuss a Business (NOT career) Advancement Opportunity. Do NOT come across as that sleazy sales manager, schlepping about how great their company is. People go to work for people. Focus on your YOU-Factor and what YOU bring to the table. This approach quickly sets you apart from the pack.

5. When should I make the formal offer to a Loan Officer?
The offer stage of the courtship should be after a series of interviews with the candidate, they have met/spoken with your team and leadership, and when both parties feel the move will be mutually equitable to everyone. To secure the candidate's commitment to join YOU, have them submit a business plan, and if the FINANCIAL PACKAGE is acceptable, gain a verbal offer commitment. At that point, it is time to put it in writing. Do not rush to give them an offer they can use to negotiate a better offer with the competition or, worse yet, their counteroffer with their current company

6. Is it ethical to recruit a Loan Officer from my competition?
This is known as POACHING! Competing for talent is the same as competing for clients. Ask yourself if you would have a problem if you were competing with your competition for a client. Would you do what you could to win the client? But be cautious if you’re thinking about raiding the competition.

When you start recruiting employees from your competition, you may be playing with fire. Everyone is open game amongst your competitors unless you've specifically agreed not to recruit from them. Generally speaking, the courts protect the employee's right to seek employment in a competitive marketplace freely.

Remember, if their employer is taking care of its employees, the employee is probably not leaving. But, if they are not taking care of them, they’re “free agents” at that point, and they will talk to every company they feel can offer them the best opportunity.

7. Are Loan Officers actively looking at new opportunities?
Yes, with the industry's ongoing challenges. Everywhere we turn, we hear of another company or bank shutting down. So, Loan Officers are being proactive and keeping their feelers out there. But are they calling you?

This is where having a recruiting plan in place helps you get and keep in front of the best talent and a compelling Business Opportunity to keep them fully engaged in the offer stage.

8. How do I structure a transition package for a new Loan Officer?
The days of FAT checkbooks and HUGE sign-on bonuses are behind us. Today, Loan Officers are looking for a company that can support their business and, in turn, provide an opportunity for new business growth. It has been our experience to structure a long-term compensation plan that should be tied to a Loan Officer Business plan. The ramp-up period should be geared to swiftly get the Loan Officer back on the street to drive business from their current relationships.

9. Does it make sense to hire inexperienced Loan Officers?
Yes, the business, as we knew it, has finally cleansed out most of the bottom feeders and some of the unfortunate few good players that were frustrated with the direction of the industry. There is plenty of room in the industry for a NEW batch of exciting talent to emerge. Younger professionals that have 8-10 years of work experience are looking for a career that has the financial upside to support and grow a family. The challenge is they do not know what a basis point is and are not excited to get into a career that is commission driven.

There are plenty of entry-level opportunities in the mortgage industry, but keep in mind these younger generations feel a sense of entitlement and are not interested in being titled as a Jr. or Loan Officer Assistant. If you are hiring them to help you manage a pipeline, then call them Pipeline Managers. Just food for thought!

10. How do I know if I have enough interview activity to meet my net hiring goals?
Well, this is a great question. If you are a lender, you know by looking at your pipeline that you can pretty much ensure you are getting paid this month. Recruiting talent is like filling a pipeline of prospects, and you need to learn how to measure your activity.

If you have a streamlined hiring process, and can properly vet a candidate and get to the offer, then you will want to know your conversion ratios. A good rule of thumb is; one hire out of five qualified candidates, still leaving you with four qualified candidates in your recruiting pipeline. Important to note: Just because you make an offer, that does not guarantee a net hire; counteroffers from their current employer or competitive offers will have an effect on your net results.

The information in this article is part of The PlayBook Mortgage Recruiting e-Learning series. Join the Mortgage Recruiting Lessons to learn more about Winning the Elusive Candidate and watch the entire series of recent webinars covering topics from; list building to recruiting, closing, and onboarding talent.

We encourage you to visit our website on a regular basis to access the latest month’s newsletter. In each issue, we will focus on new recruiting trends and opportunities in the mortgage industry!

In addition to the mortgage industry news, new challenges, and recruiting opportunities, we offer tips and techniques from Jim McGrath. Our goal is to raise your Recruiting Intelligence! 

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