Hiring the right employees is one of a manager’s most important duties. To the best of your ability, you try to weed out the ones who aren’t a good fit so that you can choose those who have the highest possibility of success. Hiring people who lack the necessary skill set or don’t have the appropriate disposition for your work culture can quickly create a frustrating situation. So, what kinds of things should you look for when hiring new loan officers to avoid that scenario? Here are five of the most important qualities to consider when hiring new LOs:
1. They have fantastic interpersonal skills
Loan officers need strong communication skills. If a person doesn’t naturally enjoy meeting and interacting will various types of people, they probably won’t enjoy the mortgage industry. Ask questions to see if working with people is a reason they enjoy the job, and look for examples of how they’ve interacted with clients in the past, especially in challenging moments. They should also be good listeners, as they’ll be working face-to-face with clients who’ll have frequent questions and concerns.
2. They have exceptional organization
Make sure that the candidate has the organizational skills necessary to juggle all the daily tasks required of LOs. Do they have successful multitasking experience that they and their references can attest to? What systems do they use to stay on track? Your team members should be committed to tying up loose ends and tending to each client’s needs. Knowing the next step for each client as they move through the mortgage loan process is an important organization skill. You can’t passively succeed as a loan officer — you must have the organizational skills necessary to deliver a smooth experience for your clients. Make sure when hiring you look for those with strategies in place to work through the lending process with ease.
3. They are positive and caring
Because the role is so interpersonal, your new hires should demonstrate empathy and the ability to stay positive. Great LOs genuinely care about the needs and interests of their clients, and it shows through their communication and dedication. Pay attention to a new hires demeanor. Are they friendly and cheery? Do they show any negative perspectives in the interview? Think about the kind of energy you’d like your company to radiate to prospects and clients, and hire in that mindset. Your clients want to feel like they can trust their loan officer, so hire someone you feel is a caring and invested individual. Imagine yourself as a client meeting with this person for the first time. What is your first impression?
4. They are analytical thinkers
Every professional in the mortgage industry should possess the ability to think critically and analytically about the situations thrown their way. Can your potential LO remain focused on the problem at hand and work at chipping away at it? Or do they fall flat and fold under the pressure? Asking for specific examples throughout the interview will help give evidence for this. It’s always good to check with references to make sure the employee is thorough, especially when it comes to reviewing paperwork and numbers.
5. They have “thick skin”
Finally, in order to withstand the pressure working in an unpredictable and demanding mortgage industry, your employees will need to be resilient. There are sure to be times of rejection and perceived failure, and your LOs will need a strong backbone and the confidence to stick out the more difficult moments. Inquire about their perception of failure. How do they see failure? Have they failed? And what was the experience like? If they’re able to be persistent despite adversity, they’re more likely to succeed.
It’s important to invest in the process of hiring new employees. Develop questions that will allow the candidate to speak to the most important qualities. Keep questions open so that you don’t lead them to your desired answer, and ask for the candidate to provide examples to back up their responses. By putting the time and energy into finding the best candidates, you’ll set your team up for success.