Why you should hire for culture, and train for skill in your mortgage office

Why you should hire for culture, and train for skill in your mortgage office

Employees who “fit” enjoy greater success and longevity

Research has concluded that employees who fit well with their organization, coworkers, and supervisor had greater job satisfaction, superior job performance, and were more likely to remain with their organization.

In other words: make sure your hire fits the culture of your organization and you could be rewarded for your diligence. Otherwise, you may find yourself dealing with more stress and additional costs in order to get it right the next time.

What is mortgage office culture?

In our conversations with top mortgage originators, we’ve found that there isn’t really much of a debate to the value being placed on a cohesive office. For example, Linda Rudd of Your Lending Team told us that in her opinion, “what makes a winning team is culture. It’s motivating, it’s fun, it’s inspiring, it’s high accountability so that we are keeping ourselves very, very sharp at what we do.”

This brings us to a couple of questions, namely: what exactly is office culture, and how do we promote the culture we want so that we can bring in the people that will excel within it?

It is important to not think of office culture as “look like me, act like me.” This method of thinking tends to prohibit diversity, as well as turning away candidates that may have actually fit with what the organization values in an employee.

Instead, when trying to define the culture of your office, or the culture that you want for your office, try to focus on the core values, principles, and practices of your organization. Do you want to promote a collaborative environment that is deeply rooted in the systematic process? The research suggests that it is more important to find recruits who embody those values than to worry about what their last position was or the corporation that they previously worked for.

Joe Bass of The Bass Group has used the ‘hire for culture, train for skill’ methodology to build a high-performing origination team. “Probably the biggest thing that is important to me is attitude. I stopped caring about aptitude a while back because attitude can solve anything else. Any of the stuff that we’re physically doing, it’s not rocket science, it’s just about good communication and making sure everybody feels comfortable”, said Bass.

This thought process has allowed Joe to build a team that enjoys working together, has bought into the vision of the organization, and subsequently have been able to organically grow their business year after year.

Count James Pulsipher (NMLS 237744) of Fidelity Mortgage as a producer that also believes in having defined practices and a culture that every employee in his office has bought in to.

“Culturally speaking, we try to maintain a really upbeat environment. Everybody who works here, does so because they want to and they like the company and the culture and the people they work with. We’re pretty intent on keeping it a fun and happy place to work. Part of that is just developing a really defined system on how we do things,” said Pulsipher.  This synergy has led to every person on James’ team stay around with the company for at least 10 years, which has resulted in an ultra-efficient workplace.

Interviewing for culture

When interviewing new candidates for a position, it is important to blend in a mix of non-work-related questions that can help assess their fit with the office culture you want to foster.  This could be something as simple as, “what are you passionate about?” Or: If you could open your own business, what would it be and why? Get creative and think of what information would be necessary in order to assess a candidate’s “fit” with your organization.

You could also directly ask a candidate what kind of culture they believe they would thrive in, or what traits they butt heads with, and then compare their answer to the values and principles of your organization.

Finally, just remember that the work of sculpting your office culture doesn’t ever really end. Over time, the continual refinement of your vision, goals, values, and principles can pay off with long-term success and happiness within your office.