MReport October 2021

TheMReport — News and strategies for the evolving mortgage marketplace.

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28 | M R EP O RT FEATURE are flooded with messages from recruiters enticing them to explore their options. And candidates are moving quickly on their job offers. Whereas, pre-pandemic, recruiters would check in with prospective candidates twice a week; in today's market, recruiters are needing to check in twice a day to make sure a candidate is still on the market. Having so many options has also made candidates more selec- tive in their job search. Talent is more particular about what kind of company they want to work for and what kind of environment matters most to them. Prior to the pandemic, large, well-known lenders had no trouble attracting talent who were drawn to the company's stature, but today's candidates are more wary. They're less inclined to interview with big lenders if they have a reputation for undesirable company cultures or made widely publicized layoffs during the pandemic. Many of these companies operate on a "first-in, first-out" policy, and after a year of unparalleled uncertainty, job security is a top priority for candidates. What's more, some mortgage industry talent, along with talent across other verticals, are just not willing to return to the office full time. Whether it be due to concerns over the COVID-19 Delta variant or simply that their quality of life has improved without a commute, many candidates are looking for a new job because their current employer has asked them to return to the office full time. Research from Fannie Mae found that while 79% of lenders surveyed prefer a hybrid working model, there still are some roles, such as senior executive loan offi- cers and closers, that should return to the office for better collabora- tion, access to physical documents, and in order to provide facetime with customers who prefer to meet in person. However, many savvy lenders and financial institu- tions are more than happy to offer permanently remote roles to appeal to those unwilling to return to the office at all. How Companies Are Responding O ne obvious way that com- panies are vying to beat out their competitors for top talent is by upping compensation and offering other attractive benefits. It's not unheard of within the in- dustry to see salaries being offered $30k–$40k above the typical asking salary. Many companies are also offering unlimited paid time off and permanent remote status to appeal to candidates. While many employers have realized the benefits of remote workforces, from being able to widen their candidate talent pool and reduced overhead costs related to office space, the opportunity for fully remote work is being used as a bargaining chip to attract and retain talent. Additionally, for companies that offer them, sign- ing bonuses are on the rise, with some even reaching as high as $50k, depending on the role, for a one-year minimum contract. However, offering and accept- ing impressive benefits, like gener- ous bonuses, is proving to be a slippery slope for candidates and employers alike. Some candidates are being enticed to leave their current roles with larger-than-life promises about career progression and company culture, only to realize less than a year later that the reality is far from what they were promised. Many of today's job hunters are slingshot candi- dates who took on a new role in 2020 but didn't get the benefits they were promised, and now are back on the market. No one wins in this situation—companies who overpromised to candidates now have another empty role to fill, and candidates once again must start the interviewing process. Plus, candidates who do make the decision to leave less than a year into their role typically must pay back their impressive sign-on bonuses. Although lenders and financial institutions across the board are feeling this pinch for fresh talent, larger and smaller companies are experiencing it slightly differently. While bigger, more established companies may have to contend with a potentially negative percep- tion of their culture or company because of publicized layoffs, they also have more internal resources that make their need for talent slightly less urgent. Larger compa- nies, such as big banks, typically have the luxury of internal train- ing programs and professional de- velopment opportunities that allow them to bring in more junior talent, or talent that don't precisely meet every job qualification, and shape them into the ideal candi- date. In the process, they're able to bring in candidates at a lower salary point, invest in employee loyalty, and reduce the pressure to get a brand-new candidate up to speed immediately. On the other hand, smaller companies are moving faster through the hiring process and are more often in dire need of a perfect fit candidate who can hit the ground running. They don't have the resources nor the time to spend getting a new hire up to speed, so they're unable to be flex- ible about candidate background. For example, these hiring manag- ers are less likely to interview can- didates with tangential experience, such as title processing, for their roles. Their hires need to be ready to dive in after two weeks of onboarding. As such, these are the companies more inclined to offer competitive salaries and excellent benefits to the best fit candidate. In the bustle of a vibrant hiring market, it can be easy to over- look the human aspect of talent recruitment. At the end of the day, the money or perks aren't the only things guiding candi- dates' decision making. Mortgage industry veterans especially can easily accept or decline a lucrative job offer at an esteemed bank in favor of a smaller company based only on a gut instinct. It remains a buyer's market for job-seeking mortgage industry talent and those looking for career growth opportunities. . MADELINE WHITE is an Executive Search Consultant with Parker + Lynch, part of the world's leading talent advisory and solutions company, Adecco Group. White was instrumental in the launch of Parker + Lynch's nationwide Financial Services division, where she specializes in aligning top talent in mortgage, banking, and financial services with premier organizations across the country. She is based in Phoenix, Arizona. Prior to the pandemic, large, well-known lenders had no trouble attracting talent who were drawn to the company's stature, but today's candidates are more wary.

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