The recruitment of quality candidates is well recognised as a challenge for most businesses. Since the regulation of the mortgage market, however, the difficulty of finding a suitable calibre of adviser became markedly more pronounced.
At Force 4 Mortgages, we found ourselves stuck between more experienced candidates whose way of working and philosophy was not compatible with our own or promising but inexperienced candidates that we did not have a suitable structure to train.
We needed to find a solution to our recruitment needs that delivered the right calibre of candidate in conjunction with a robust and structured training programme that accommodated differing ranges of experience.By working in partnership with our mortgage network Lime, we are delivering a highly effective solution.
Previously, we mainly relied on specialist recruitment agencies for our supply of candidates. However, with our new training structure in place, we find our local job centres a very productive source of candidates. They tend to yield a rich source of “career changers”, many of whom have had a taste of financial services in the form of working for call centres or estate agents and are keen to pursue this avenue.
Having identified our candidates, the next stage is a one-to-one interview, where the candidate is told about the company philosophy, information about our operational structure, the remuneration package and the admin support that we offer. If they meet our criteria and demonstrate the necessary potential, we then turn the process on its head and, unlike most brokers, who offer the job to the candidate, we ask the candidate to take some time to consider our proposition and if they would like to join us, we respond to their request. This small but important shift makes the candidate think more deeply about whether we are the company for them and we consider it one element in our reduction in staff turnover.
The next element of our new approach is the ability to offer three types of contract aligned to the relative experience of the applicant. The first type of contract is for the inexperienced recruit such as the person looking for a career change. We had previously not been able to consider these types of candidates due to lack of a suitable training programme but we have now set up a tailored CeMAP homestudy course. This includes a face-to-face induction prior to each exam, a one-day onsite refresher course and of weekly CeMAP question sheets as well as supervisory assistance.
For the candidate who already holds a minimum of CeMap 1 & 2 or for the recruit who has now passed those exams, a dedicated mortgage academy in conjunction with our network is offered.
This consists of eight days of induction training, both at our offices and at our network’s training department. The course gradually builds their technical knowledge and experience of the sales process through presentations, roleplay and case studies and, once authorised, delegates then follow a six-month close supervision programme which will lead to competent adviser status. To aid them in their new career, candidates are provided with 10 leads weekly from their local area as well as having all their fees, including indemnity insurance, paid for them.
Finally, for the candidate who is already fully competent and experienced, we offer a career development route to supervisor status as well as the provision of free leads and all admin support.
The adviser is monitored until we are confident that competent status is achieved and the adviser is then given a structured development plan. The chance to increase qualifications and experience by becoming a supervisor has been very popular and, of course, provides benefits all round by increasing our scope for recruiting new trainees.
Shane Austin is operations director at Force 4 Mortgages.