MReport November 2021

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16 | M R EP O RT FEATURE is nothing wrong with those scenarios, but it's just not our world. We eat what we kill. So, one of the things that I look for when I'm speaking to a poten- tial candidate is, do they have a demonstrated ability or a track record of generating business on their own?" A strong personal drive is es- sential for any loan officer that Inlanta Mortgage hires, said Paul Buege, President and COO. "You look at people's actions, perfor- mances, and results to determine if individuals are self-motivated with a strong degree of want- ing to be successful. You look for someone with the mindset of 'no one is coming to help, so I need to go out there and do it on my own.' You look at the roles that they have had to see if they are constantly building and growing." Russo also follows up with deeper questioning to learn how a loan officer candidate sources leads and how he or she handles different loan challenges. "I don't want to create a sce- nario where we've hired someone and they think they have been misled," Russo added. "The last thing I would ever want to do is have someone make a career change and then find out that we are not the right fit for them." Russo and Buege said that a loan officer who was very successful at a traditional bank may not fit with an independent mortgage company because a bank will offer a natural funnel of work from customers who have other products, something an independent mortgage company doesn't have. "That's a layup environment," Buege said of banks. "We have a self-sourced business." Similarly, WiPro Opus wants someone who is experienced working with a variety of mortgage products, said Greer Allgood, the company's Managing Director over Operations. "I need to make sure they understand the rudimentary elements of different mortgage products, even though they might have to learn about some specialty products that we offer." Like Russo, during the inter- view process, Allgood will ask prospective loan officers about how they've handled various loan challenges, such as how they've handled a confrontational customer or a frustrated customer. She will also do some roleplaying during an interview to learn how the prospective hire will react. "I want them to tell me about one of our more complex products. How does the product work? What are some of the things that the bor- rower will experience? What is the best fit for a borrower for a certain situation? I want to see how much depth they have with the different products that they are selling." Buege added that, while being self-driven is essential, a potential hire can't be overbearing. "They have to be approachable and pro- fessional. They also have to have the desire to earn the programs, the products, and the services that we are selling." Where to Find Talent L ike many others, Russo relies on the connections he's built in the industry to find new loan officers. Maintaining relationships helps put Russo and Homespire at top of mind when a veteran loan officer thinks it's time to change employ- ers. Referrals from current employ- ees and managers provide another source for potential new hires. Churchill Mortgage looks for different types of loan officers, depending on which side of the business needs them, Hardwick said. "We try to partner with people. Most of the people that we're getting today are people we already know in the industry, people that are at other companies that we're friends with and that are interested in us." By using its tools to identify the best producers, Embrace Home Loans attempts to identify a narrow pool of potential hires at the outset, Adamo said. "We believe that we have something unique here. We have good pro- cesses—good underwriting, good closing, good marketing, good technology, great digital apps, etc." The technology, culture, and what Adamo calls the "commu- nity of Embrace," form a three- legged stool to attract loan officers. "We've had good growth and we're excited about it," Adamo said. "But it is very specific growth around the table stakes of originating loans, the core values, the culture of our company, and the community which we embrace." Internal referrals are the initial source of potential hires, Allgood said. "They're not going to refer someone unless they are happy with the organization themselves, which is definitely a compliment to the employer." However, internal references may not always produce a large enough pool of potential hires, so Allgood and many others also rely on LinkedIn. "It is the kind of source that can help you get additional referrals," Allgood noted. Allgood posts an opening on her own LinkedIn page and asks her contacts to make referrals. "The posting is something you need to spend a little time on. A lot of organizations put postings out there that are generic; they just list roles and responsibilities. You should be very clear about what expectations are for the role. The postings should also share the history of the company and its services." This will help dis- tinguish the posting from similar employment offers. "I'm not the most avid social media user, but LinkedIn is one [social media platform] I've found to be a necessity in our busi- ness," Russo said. "It helps you shoot out quick messages or stay in touch with people who many not be answering the phone for whatever reason." A strong climate for loan of- ficers makes it hard for recruiters to hire someone away, because commission from loans in the "You look at people's actions, performances, and results to determine if individuals are self- motivated with a strong degree of wanting to be successful. You look for someone with the mindset of 'no one is coming to help, so I need to go out there and do it on my own.'" —Paul Buege, President and COO, Inlanta Mortgage

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