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How To Add Novice Loan Officers

Don’t bail on up-and-comers because you’re lacking a good training program.

Dave Hershman headshot
Dave Hershman
A bright green and bright blue human silhouette stand superimposed on a silhouetted crowd.
Many times the choice will be between someone we have to train, and someone with bad habits we will have to “un-train.”

Most every sales manager recruiting is looking for the proverbial “pot of gold.” Someone who is a good producer, high quality, easy to work with and a team player. The problem is, a low percentage of loan officers fit this description and most of them are fairly stable, which means they are hard to dislodge from their present situations.

You open the possibilities to an even larger pool of candidates when you consider those who are not experienced. Though most companies would love to attract the top producer, in reality many times the choice is between –

  • A high quality novice;
  • A lower quality experienced producer – typically one with bad habits.

In other words, many times the choice will be between someone we have to train, and someone with bad habits we will have to “un-train.” Too many times in the recruitment process, the sales manager makes the choice of the latter because we do not have the necessary training resources, nor the time to attract higher quality experienced producers.

Keeping in mind that a candidate without mortgage experience does not necessarily mean that that candidate does not have relevant experience. This is a concept that we will discuss further in a future article addressing the assessment of candidates. In other words, not all novice candidates are the same. Here are some examples:

  • Do they have sales experience?
  • Do they have financial services experience?
  • Do they own a home and/or have other real estate experience?
  • What is their technology quotient?

The goal for your recruitment plan should really be choices between quality with experience or quality without experience. In reality, good recruitment plans usually have a mix of experienced and novice originators. A plan that is too heavy on either side will typically produce less than ideal results.

I would like to add one final point about novices. Knowing that there is a chance that a novice will not survive even if we do a great job of selection, it makes sense to add these candidates in groups. For one thing, it is much more time efficient to train more than one person at one time. If you have a basic training curriculum—it does not matter if there are two people in a recruiting class or five people. Again, you do not have to accomplish the basic training yourself—there are curriculums such as OriginationPro which deliver basic and advanced training on-line. Though every company should have training which is specific to their company. For example, covering their LOS systems and mortgage programs.

Coaching sessions can also be accomplished in a group. In addition, these novices can be paired up with one-another for support. You might invoke a rule—they are not to approach you with a question before they have consulted with their “buddy” first. That way they become self-reliant more quickly.

Remember, each new hire should come with skills that may help the others grow. If they don’t, you have made a poor hiring choice. Just because they don’t have mortgage experience does not mean that they are not an expert in sales, technology, marketing, financial investments or other areas.

If you hire rookies one at a time, the process of growth can be slow and inefficient. By the time you finish the process with one and go through another selection process, you may be adding one each year.

Close more loans, be more efficient, stay out of trouble.

Find more at Pro School
This article was originally published in the NMP Magazine November 2020 issue.
Dave Hershman headshot
Dave Hershman

Dave Hershman is an author for the mortgage industry with eight books and several hundred articles to his credit. He is also senior vice president of sales for Weichert Financial Services, head of OriginationPro Mortgage School and a top industry speaker.

Published on
Nov 12, 2020
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