Brokers need to cast recruitment net wider

Look to uni graduates, says recruiter

Brokers need to cast recruitment net wider



A leading specialist industry recruiter has said mortgage brokers should consider looking for staff talent in new places, rather than vying for a limited number of candidates with existing industry experience.

Platinum People Group founder and director Roland Youakim (pictured above) said while some top brokerages were excellent recruiters, a large number of brokers were essentially fishing in the same pool for talent.

“They are looking for those people with existing industry experience, who can come on board and use their experience in a brokerage, or as a BDM if we are talking about a lender,” Youakim said.

The problem is that pool is fast “running out of talent” due to a shortage of talent in the industry, he said.

“That is what is driving up the demand and driving up the price,” Youakim said. “Salaries have become so expensive over the last few years. There is also a very high quit rate – the percentage of people changing jobs is the highest we’ve seen since 2012.”

“Some brokerages are ahead of the curve and are working smarter and adapting to this market, but there are many casting their line in the water and hoping to snag one of the few candidates left. It may work for some, but I believe there are diminishing returns for brokers and our industry.”

Exploring talent outside the broking and lending industry

Youakim said the talent shortage meant brokerages had two major recruiting options.

“You can absolutely choose to go and pay a lot more money for staff – you can offer a really attractive offering and ensure you are very competitive to get those A-grade candidates.

“You will be paying bigger coin and you will need to keep them really happy, with an offering that both attracts them and retains them within the business.”

This option came with higher costs as well as a higher business risk if it did not work out.

The other option – aside from outsourcing offshore, which Youakim said would continue to be an option for brokers – was for broking businesses to tap into a much larger and cheaper graduate market.

“There are some incredible graduates coming out of university who are really switched on. They have experience in customer service type roles, like contact centres, sales roles and hospitality. They are people with really good transferrable skills. No, they haven’t worked in a brokerage before, but they are itching for an opportunity to start their career.”

Youakim said these candidates normally started on $50,000 to $55,000 plus super in the current market, rather than the six figures those with experience were demanding, and could be developed within the business.

For example, offering a two or three year development pathway that included a Cert IV and training into a broking role could provide a compelling early career roadmap for these candidates.

“When you get it right the loyalty is there – they are engaged and on the journey, because these younger people coming out of university are hungry to build and grow their career,” Youakim said.

Platinum People Group placed 28 graduates and entry level candidates from other industries with transferrable skills into broking industry roles as part of a program in the calendar year 2022. From that cohort, 26 candidates are still successfully engaged within those businesses.

Psychometric testing can support better candidate matching

Youakim said brokers interested in recruiting good graduate candidates need to consider getting more sophisticated about deciding if a person’s skills, experience and personality were the right fit.

“A lot of broker business owners will bring in a candidate for a coffee, ask a couple of questions, look at their resume, and if the gut test feels right, they will go ahead and hire them,” he said.

“But when you are hiring for an entry level of junior role, there is more you should really assess – thing like how that person behaves and what their cognitive ability is like.”

Youakim said brokerages should consider psychometric testing to “see how they are wired”.

“You wouldn’t buy a car without looking under the bonnet, without getting a roadworthy (certificate), or having a mechanic looking at it if you don’t know what you are looking for.

“It’s looking beneath the skin. A candidate might be saying all the right things, but you are seeing how this person is really wired, whether they are suited for the role and the role is suited to them.

“Things like how social they are, how they make decisions, how assertive they are, whether they are optimistic or pessimistic, can be uncovered by affordable and accessible psychometric assessments.”

Youakim said graduate recruitment can still go wrong and be expensive for a brokerage if it didn’t work out, but was still more affordable and a less risky strategy for certain roles.

“If brokers can’t do it themselves, I’d recommend seeking out specialists like a HR consultancies to support things like psychometric testing. They can also engage specialist recruiters like us,” he said.

The best recruiting brokers try multiple strategies

Brokerages with highly developed recruitment strategies are likely to try a few different things.

“They will not have just one avenue, they usually have a few irons in the fire,” Youakim said.

“Successful firms with the right outlook know that some roles won’t be able to be filled by a graduate, and there will be other roles where it does make sense.”

“And typically, they will have multiple angles on how they recruit. They might try jobs boards, and if that doesn’t work, they might need to have a headhunting strategy. If they don’t have time to do it themselves they may engage an agency that can help them. They develop multiple angles on how they can recruit.”

Would you consider – or have you had experience recruiting from - the graduate talent pool?  Share your thoughts or stories on this topic in the comments section below.

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