We continue this month on the topic of hiring rookies into the industry. In the last column we discussed the determination of the quality of a rookie. In this column we would like to talk about the experience of a rookie. That might seem like an oxymoron of some kind. After all, when we hire a rookie, we refer to them as inexperienced. But everyone has some level of experience. As a matter of fact, I would argue that many novices coming into the industry have more and better experience than some working within the industry.
I can’t tell you how many times I have heard of an experienced loan officer being hired over a rookie — despite the fact that they only had six months of experience and did very few loans. Plus, their previous company gave them almost no training. Yet we hired them anyway. Compare that to the experience of a seasoned rookie:
- Sales experience. Perhaps they have sold within a company or even owned a company in the financial services industry for 10 years or more. That would mean that they also have a large sphere of influence. Those industries might include insurance, financial products, banking and more. Perhaps they were an F&I (finance and insurance) manager for a car dealership. Do not discount other types of sales experience such as car sales.
- Real estate experience. Many loan officers were previously real estate agents. Certainly, having intimate knowledge of what a real estate agent does is a major advantage. Many experienced loan officers working for online companies have no clue what this vocation entails. Bonus: this would mean that they know plenty of real estate agents within their sphere and there maybe plenty this person can teach less experienced real estate agents.
- Mortgage operations experience. A good processor knows how to get loans closed. They know the importance of a complete and documented loan application. They may not have sales experience, but how many loan officers with great sales experience struggle because they can’t get loans closed without major stress?
- Real estate ownership experience. An experienced homeowner and investor in real estate would have an advantage over an experienced loan officer who has never owned a home. Having your own personal first-time homebuying experience to share can be priceless within the sales process.
How many loan officers with great sales experience struggle because they can’t get loans closed without major stress?
- Technology experience. Technology is more and more important to function within this industry. Yet the industry is still full of ancient loan officers who do not embrace the technology which is essential to the position. We still have some taking hand-written loan applications and then entering them online! Social media experience is also important, especially with regard to direct consumer marketing and sphere marketing as well.
- Additional experiences. There are many other experiences and skills that are very germane to the job of loan officer:
- Bi-lingual. Being able to speak another language is very important, especially considering the growth of minority homeowners. This also likely comes with having a sphere within a certain minority.
- Public speaking. Great public speakers are rare — but it is a great marketing skill — especially when delivering homebuying seminars and lunch and learns. Perhaps they have teaching experience.
- Leadership qualities. Great loan officers must be great leaders. They must lead each transaction — many of which provide major challenges such as divorce issues. Perhaps the prospect is the president of their homeowners association or leader within their church, mosque, or temple. Or they have managed or mentored many others within their previous careers.
- Financial planning experience. Owning a home is the most important investment most people make. Having investment experience is extremely significant.
Do not consider this listing as comprehensive or exclusive in any way. I am sure you can think of a variety of additional experiences and/or skills. The point is that many who are not in this industry have a rich and very germane background which you should consider, along with the quality characteristics we discussed within the last column. Rookies should be considered, but all rookies are not created equal.