A Recruiting Primer–As Easy as ABC

May 2, 2017

By Dr. Cynthia A McGovern

Look around the room at any title company and the tenure of the staff is pretty darn impressive. While this experience is a strength, it is also a threat. What happens when all of these people retire? What are we doing to attract new (and younger) talent to our industry?

Let’s face it—a lot of folks out there don’t know we even exist. Heck, some of our families still don’t understand what we do for a living. We need to start thinking about tomorrow. Not tomorrow, but today.

Here are a few tips to help you attract top talent.

Assess the True Need

It is easy to assume that this step is so straightforward that perhaps it’s even unnecessary. After all, if your company loses their account manager or a position opens for a sales development representative, you simply need to find someone who fits the bill, right? Not exactly. That would end up doing your company a disservice in the long run if this important first step is not taken: assess what you really need in talent, not just title.

Do a SWOT analysis, of sorts, of the current team; openly consider strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Then decide precisely what kind of employee would be the best to complement that particular group of people. Ask yourself what areas need a little more focus in the company. Maybe you need to find a sales representative who can enhance your presence on social media, or you need that operations manager who can manage work flow, processes, closing calendars and put out 17 fires—all before lunch. Make a clear and detailed list of what exactly your company needs, and who you are looking for.

Once you know the true need of your company, you are ready for the next step.

Build Your Job Profile

The importance of this step cannot be overstated. A clear and detailed job description is vital; don’t assume that someone will know what their role is supposed to be. Clarify their job by defining the role after you have considered the strengths and gaps of your current team and know exactly what (and who) you need.

Start with the basic requirements for the position. Then take it a step further and identify particular skills and qualities that will pave the way for success in that job and, possibly, a career path in the land title industry. Again, take into account the specific needs of your company. Does the salesperson need to come with knowledge specific to the title industry? A specific sales methodology? Are you looking more for IQ (intelligence quotient) or EQ (emotional quotient), or a fair balance of both?

Define what exactly this person will need to take responsibility for on a daily basis and how it will be measured. Construct a complete job description that includes your requirements for the position. Not only will you attract qualified candidates, but you will receive replies only from those who are confident they can fill the role you are outlining in your job description.

ALTA has given us all a gift! It has created a sample library of job descriptions (www.alta.org/hrsamplelibrary) that you can use to get you started on this process. And, remember these descriptions are not just for hiring new talent. Maybe it is time to redefine the roles of your current staff. This library will help you get started!

Cast, Conduct, Choose

Now that you’ve assessed your needs and have constructed a clear job description, it’s time for the fun part: fishing. You might remember, however, from those times your grandpa took you to cast a line and you waited all day without a bite, that a single line doesn’t always hook the biggest fish. The solution? Cast your net wide.

One great place to start looking for possibilities is through your team members (but clearly define the role or you will end up with everyone’s third cousin applying for the position). Ask them if they know of capable and talented individuals who might prove a good fit. Also consider your personal circle. Let professional friends and colleagues know that you are hiring, and who you are hoping to hire. Finally, cast that net on social media, including LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, your website and blog. Even newspapers or online job boards are good sources. A good job posting can also weed out the riff-raff and attract top talent to your organization. There are sample job postings on the ALTA website at www.alta.org/hrsamplelibrary. Also, with the goal of attracting younger talent, consider looking outside of the title industry. We still exist in secret to most people and there are many industries that have transferrable skill sets that we can pull from. So, cast your net wide!

Once your inbox starts filling with applications, it’s time to put into effect another “ABC” list. Categorize the candidates according to the clear and detailed list you created earlier. The “A” list includes those who appear to fill every need of your company. Conduct interviews with them. The “B” list is your next line just in case the first set of interviews doesn’t pan out for some reason. For those on your “C” list, you can simply respond with a polite letter of appreciation for their application. (It is a good rule of thumb to acknowledge every single application, even from the individuals you won’t be considering further.)

For the interviews you will be conducting, compose a series of questions that will assess whether or not the prospective employee possesses the skills and qualities you identified earlier as necessary for your company. Also construct a scoring system to help you evaluate each candidate fairly, and stick with that scoring system no matter how someone might blow you away with their eloquence or style. The ALTA Education Committee is working on additional guidance and documents that will help you develop your interview questions and a system for evaluating job candidates. Watch the ALTA website at www.alta.org/hrsamplelibrary for updates.

As a small but important side note, be sure to let any new recruit know that sales responsibility is everyone’s job at your company, especially in our industry. The goal of each team member should be to help your business grow, so ensure that they are comfortable with that, and if they have any particular experience in that area.

Next time you look around the room and consider your staff, hopefully you will see a great blend of experience, skill and new talent. And, if you need to add to your team, you can use these three easy steps and the ALTA resources to bring on new team members. It’s as easy as ABC.

Dr. Cynthia McGovern is the chief executive officer of Orange Leaf Consulting, which helps title companies create sustainable growth and follows the motto “Grow Big or Go Home.” She can be reached at cmcgovern@orangeleafconsulting.com.



Contact ALTA at 202-296-3671 or communications@alta.org.