Kevin Allen is senior vice president — national sales manager
for Waterstone Mortgage Corp. Allen oversees field support
and production and acts as a liaison for all branches to ensure
their needs are met by the corporate office. He has more than
27 years of experience in the mortgage-lending industry.
Reach Allen at email@example.com.
Simplify the Recruiting Challenge
Hiring the ideal branch manager doesn’t require rocket science
By Kevin Allen
Asuccessful branch manager in the mortgage- origination business needs the suave, out- going and persuasive personality of a sales- person and the poise, self-motivation and
integrity of a business manager. Rarely does someone
successfully pull off both skill sets. When they do, that
person is usually successful at inspiring team members
to work hard to exceed expectations and achieve significant goals.
The art of hiring a successful branch manager that is
an ideal fit for a mortgage company can be a challenging task. Yet, with careful thought and intentional
discussions, finding that exceptional branch manager
is a very achievable objective.
The initial steps
Before mortgage companies even begin the search for
new branch managers to augment their loan origination efforts, they must identify what they are looking
for. Understanding the business strategy, management style and overall motivation being sought in
potential candidates is imperative. Mortgage companies should map out these characteristics in detail
before they start reaching out to candidates.
Once the desired traits being sought are clearly identified, the search process can begin. There are a variety
of search methods available. Some mortgage lenders
find that seeking input from existing employees who
have connections is the most effective way to find
promising branch-manager candidates. Employees are
not likely to recommend someone unless they are
confident about that person’s abilities — especially
when the recommended person will be in a prominent
Working with recruiters is another approach, but it
can be a little “iffy” in terms of results. If a mortgage
lender is working with a recruiter who doesn’t know
the company and industry well, it probably will not
turn out well. On the other hand, a recruiter who has
a deep understanding of the company’s goals is more
likely to get desirable results. Inviting recruiters into
the corporate office, for example, is a great way to
help them understand the mortgage company’s culture. In turn, this will help them to select preferable
Industry conferences and training seminars can provide the perfect opportunity to meet top originators
from around the nation. These events offer representatives of a mortgage lender a chance to speak with
leading producers in person, which is a great way to
get insight into their business strategies and personalities — and offers an edge in getting the recruiting
effort off to a good start.
Social media platforms also can be effective in identifying potential branch-manager candidates, but this
approach comes with a caveat: Social media should
be used in a strategic and smart way to seek out
ideal candidates. Sending out mass messages via social
media platforms to attract branch-manager prospects
may net a lot of inquires, but normally not very desirable candidates.
Pinpointing specific candidates and then reaching
out to them through social media is a more strategic
approach that often works well. Of course, it is important in cases where prospects are identified via social
media channels to follow up with multiple phone
discussions and an in-person meeting before making
the final decision.
The courting phase
After the initial contacts with prospective branch
managers are made, it’s time to start discussions with
candidates. Mortgage companies need to keep the
following in mind when interviewing these candidates:
n Listen, listen and then listen some more.
During conversations, allow the candidate to speak
n Identify a candidate’s current challenges.
as much as possible. By listening, the interviewer
can determine what the candidate is searching for
in a new employer. Listen as candidates speak about
their careers, history and future goals. Are they
driven? Do they talk optimistically about the years
Pinpoint the issues and problems that prospects
are experiencing at their current employers. Can
those challenges be remedied once they are hired?
That question must be answered honestly.
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