Recruiting Loan Officers: Four Keys to Attracting Top Talent

A major differentiator between successful mortgage companies who have established consistent growth patterns and positioned themselves for the future and their counterparts who struggle, is the ability to recruit and retain top talent. But the disparity extends beyond a recruiting system – deep into the fiber of a company.

There are two types of companies in the mortgage industry today: Those who are looking into and positioning themselves for the future and those striving to get by in the here and now. Forward-thinking mortgage companies are focused on where the financing and real estate aspects of the industry are going and they are committed to finding and implementing the best systems and technologies available to stay relevant as market conditions and consumer trends change. The other type of company is caught up in “playing the today game,” and makes decisions regarding set-up, technology and processes from this limited mindset. What type of company would you like to join?

In order to have the right people executing your organization’s vision and mission, it is imperative to establish a culture that supports the goals of the people that can make it happen. Your company vision must tap into things producers are passionate about in their careers and support the lives they seek to lead because of their work. Doing this effectively requires building your company around the type of talent you want and getting them to buy into your mission initially and ongoing throughout their tenure.

Four Keys to Attracting Top Talent

1. Make sure your house is in order: Self-examination is the first step to recruiting the type of talent that will help grow your company. The first two questions will help you uncover, define and hone your company’s vision and mission:

  • What do we represent as a company?
  • What do we stand for in our industry?

Once you have these things defined as they relate to your brand and goals, take a look at your actual operation:

  • Do we have modern, effective systems in place?
  • Do we set our people up for success?

Your resources and standard operating procedures must support the direction you want to go as a company. Make any upgrades or changes necessary to get in a position to execute your stated goals.

2. Do a culture check: Establishing a culture of success is one thing, but the purpose is defeated if it is not effectively and consistently communicated to the people in your organization. Your existing team must understand and be completely on board with the company’s vision in order for your culture to be visible to and attract newcomers. Simply posting mission statements, mottos and slogans on the walls and in email signatures won’t ensure that your people will absorb and engage in the culture you wish to create.

It is important to communicate culture consistently over time to make a lasting impression. Management must also walk their talk: You can’t say your company is all about innovation, but operate with outdated systems and 10-year-old technology. A disconnect like this undermines the company’s credibility and inhibits the very culture you are trying to create.   

3. Audit your employee experience, build your pitch: So many companies focus on the customer experience, but the loan officer and employee experiences are extremely important too. Make sure the morale and motivation of your existing team aligns with the vision that will produce your desired results. You may find there is work to be done in order to attract the people you want, and you must do this work, or your pitch won’t be authentic.

Then ask yourself, “Why should people join my organization?” You have to present a compelling mission for MLOs to buy into that gets them excited about the future and where you could go together. Compensation cannot be your only value proposition. Instant gratification pitches play to the type of mortgage loan officers that are always chasing a few more basis points and they will jump ship at the next opportunity. And those aren’t the type of people that will help you win in the long run.  

Your recruiting pitch should focus on the pain points you can solve for MLOs to make their lives easier and more enjoyable. For example, you could offer a scenario where they can operate inside a Hub & Spoke Model that takes care of a lot of the things top producers don’t want to do, by posing a question like, “What if we could put you in a place where you are doing more business – building relationships and closing deals and we have people and systems around you to do the rest?”

Related: From Frustration to Domination: The Hub & Spoke Model 

4. Make onboarding friction-free: The decision to make a change is big and disruptive. Before you enlist top talent, determine how much and what type of friction you have as a company when someone joins your organization. Consider everything MLOs must go through to change companies and adjust your process to make it easy for them make the move. You can learn a great deal from your existing staff and acting on their feedback will allow new people to hit the ground running and accelerate your overall recruiting efforts.

Business growth really starts with business analysis. When it comes to recruiting – or business overall – you can’t be all things to all people: If you try to fit everybody, you will fit nobody. Develop and maintain a culture that supports your specific vision and mission and communicate it effectively to current and prospective team members. Doing so will help you connect with and attract like-minded people who will help you achieve your goals and succeed into the future.

To learn more, listen to our podcast by Total Expert founder and CEO, Joe Welu: “Expert Strategies: Recruiting Loan Officers”