Some firms may find it useful to expand at this time and get new recruits to take on some of the share of workload.
However, the pool of suitable candidates may be hard to find especially when quick hires are needed to handle current activity.
So this week, Mortgage Solutions is asking: When you look to hire new staff, where do you tend to look for them?
Hiring new talent remains challenging.
Recruitment is something we should always be thinking about – not just picked up when a vacancy appears.
This means talking to potential new team members all the time and being open to new opportunities throughout the year. Panic recruitment and quickly filling a vacancy out of immediate necessity can and has resulted in disaster.
I encourage all our senior management team to be on the lookout. Asking our business connections for introductions to those they see as fitting with our culture works well too.
The failures of the past have shown us that good references from people we know and respect go a long way and have found us some of our best staff.
LinkedIn complements this network approach. However, social media driven sites are a hunting ground for recruitment agencies keen to sell their wares and we can spend a disproportionate amount of time deciphering sales pitch and rhetoric.
On the other hand, LinkedIn has enabled us to build good working relationships with them and we have found this is important as we are looking for a certain type of person to fit in with our team and not just qualifications.
In summary, we find that our team and our extended networks have been our best source of good people. We are always on the lookout and will find the time to see and speak to people interested in joining us.
This has meant we have never struggled to find staff and at time created new roles to buy in the right talent at the right time.
For me, it’s a case of whether they have relevant financial services experience and passion.
I look to understand their connection to customer service. We want to provide a five star service and if we look at our repeat and referral business, we get that because of the service we give.
Seeing the spark in new recruits is also important. They may not have the skill but that can be gained through training. But you’ve got to have that fire in your belly to do whatever is right by the client, because they pay our wages.
We’re looking to hire right now actually and it’s a strange one because the sector is exceptionally busy but there isn’t an overflow of qualified brokers.
Getting the qualified advisers we need is quite difficult so we are looking to the financial services apprenticeship program.
When it comes to that, you have to go by your gut feeling.
If you’re recruiting someone at a young age, they might be just doing the program for the sake of it. Then after years and effort of training, it appears they’re not actually that passionate about the job.
At the moment though, you can’t be overly critical because there aren’t many options.
Otherwise, the busy-ness in the market is a chance for the sector to open up to new kinds of recruits.
We have one lady coming from a building society and she was saying they’re making advisers there redundant because they want to go down an automated route. So there’s an opportunity from the banking sector but coming from a one-lender background to whole of market is a new ball game.
We try and take new people from within and we create a structure for that.
For example, we will have a mortgage administrator. They will then move on to be a mortgage paraplanner, then trainee adviser, then an adviser. That would be our first and primary line of attack.
But some of our advisers are getting older. So we’ve set up an academy to train new people for when advisers retire.
With the academy, people start from scratch. They then spend two to three years going through various departments, to get to the point where they become an adviser.
Lastly, and most difficult, is trying to find people who are already in the role. If they are on the market, why are they on the market?
Sometimes, when you get CVs and previous roles go on for many pages it seems like the person will go anywhere. I don’t always like that as you wonder if they will be with the company for a long time.
If we need to hire someone who is experienced quite quickly, we post the job on our website and get success that way.
Local advertising is another avenue, and the last resort would be agencies.
If you’re taking someone at entry level, they do tend to be younger and then I don’t need previous experience, just the right attitude. I can train them.
I’d rather spend time training the right person than taking a chance on someone I’m not sure about.
The right person has to have common sense, which is hard to measure. At interview stage, you put them in different scenarios. Not necessarily mortgage scenarios but ask how they would react to something and see if it’s a logical approach.
You can generally find someone with a good attitude in half an hour.