Technology Recruiting for the Mortgage Lending Industry – 3 Tips for Greater Success
Written by Lloyd Booth COO, CTO
If you are tasked with hiring technology resources for a mid-tier mortgage lender, you know it can be a tough road. Worldwide there are literally hundreds of thousands of unfilled technology positions from companies in nearly every business sector. Many mortgage IT departments have evolved over time as the business and its reliance on IT grew. Others may have been purpose built and had the luxury of building an enterprise department in a single step. Regardless of how these departments were formed, both are recruiting into a technology ecosystem that is the most competitive in history and one that will surely grow more challenging. When most C-suite executives think of IT recruiting, they think of developers, network engineers or help desk personnel. To be sure, these resources are among the most sought after. They are also the most (relatively) plentiful in the pool of available resources. However, in the real world of IT staffing, positions like data engineers, data base architects, business analysts, QA and Testing Engineers, Project Managers, Program Managers, Business Intelligence Engineers and Technical Writers can be some of the most elusive individuals to find. Here are a few tips to consider as you design your IT recruiting plan:
1. Understand your need – There are times when an IT department can be its own worst enemy when deciding on recruiting needs. This is commonly exhibited in two ways. The first is the idea that the position can be filled from internal company resources. Don’t get me wrong, some of my most successful hires have been disgruntled processors and underwriters that wanted to make the jump into IT and have made outstanding Business Analysts. However, you cannot staff an entire IT organization with home grown resources. The second is assuming the department has a bona-fide need for a senior resource such as a system architect, data scientist or specialized senior developer. Many times, the perceived need for these high-power people is transient and lessens as the initiative is delivered.
2. Understand your competition – When you are ready to begin searching for IT resources it is important to keep in mind that you are not only competing with other mortgage companies. Any organization with a computer, from fortune 100 companies, to sexy startups, to cutting edge societal disruptors, are all looking for the same skill sets and experiences as you. Many of these organizations will offer greater benefits and perks, higher pay or simply more prestige. You must decide to either concede to the resources those other organizations will pass on, or have ready answers as to why your company deserves the candidate’s consideration. Do not forget that we are in the 21st century and most of these applicants already know the technologies needed to be successful in a remote environment. Your organization’s willingness to fully commit to that environment can be a powerful tool for some candidates or a deal breaker for others.
3. Stop treating IT like overhead – Most IT people want to feel like they are making a difference in their organization. If your company treats IT in the same vein as copier and janitorial services, you are going to have a hard time convincing them they can make an impact. Smart companies know that their information technology team represents a tangible competitive advantage. This culture comes from the top down and is the responsibility of IT leadership. It is a result of a true partnership between the business and IT that ensures alignment between them.
In my experience, senior IT managers charged with hiring new talent should plan on a devoting a minimum of 20% of their time to recruiting efforts. If you are fortunate enough to be in an organization that has dedicated recruiting resources don’t be fooled into thinking they’ll plop the right candidate down in front of you. Technical recruiting is very different from production or operations and you will need to take an active role in assisting your recruiting department, in other words, stay engaged. The underlying point to each of these tips is to be flexible and open to different ideas on how to staff for your needs. Technology has evolved to be anything but traditional and recruiting for technology must do the same.
Lloyd Booth has over thirty years executive leadership experience and has held multiple executive leadership positions for both lenders and fintech vendors in the mortgage space, giving him a unique and valuable business perspective that routinely results in successfully orchestrating project execution and implementation.