The labor market is experiencing an upheaval not seen in decades. Employers are facing challenges in recruiting and hiring amid record-level turnover, increased job opportunities, and an overall shift in employee expectations. 

Qualia recently hosted interactive roundtable sessions to discuss recruitment strategies at this year’s Future of Real Estate Summit (FORES22). Title and mortgage professionals from across the country shared their tips for strengthening recruitment strategies to attract top talent in a competitive labor market.

5 tips for recruiting talent today

1. Streamline the recruitment process

Hiring demand is high for title & escrow professionals, with some markets being very hot (i.e., Southern California, Houston, Texas, and Phoenix, Arizona, to name a few). In this competitive labor market, it’s vital to have a structured and streamlined process for candidates.

The hiring process can often be light and unstructured for small to medium-sized title companies who are focused solely on hiring for the immediate need in order to fill an urgent gap. This makes sense, especially during times of high volume; however, this short-sighted hiring strategy can often result in a company bringing in a new employee who doesn’t meet the long-term needs of the business or who doesn’t match the office culture. This can lead to issues down the line when the new hire decides to leave the company for a better “match” for their personality or desired office environment. The constant churn of employees ultimately creates a less-than-ideal office environment. 

A best practice to avoid hiring someone who may not be a fit for your company or the role is to introduce the candidate to others on the team with similar roles. Those team members will have more insight into the candidate’s fit in performing daily responsibilities as well as how they may work with the individual.

2. Be open to diverse career backgrounds

Title agents largely agree that the title & escrow industry feels like a small, insular community. However, title companies can further open the talent pool by seeking other candidates with skill sets outside of title & escrow, who can be trained to fulfill a particular role. 

During the roundtable discussion at Qualia’s Future of Real Estate Summit, title and mortgage professionals discussed how they are opening up the candidate pool in a competitive hiring environment by sourcing candidates from other industries such as the service industry (i.e., bartenders and servers) as well as the healthcare industry. These industries (and others) often breed service-oriented professionals who can also handle stress well—two important attributes for successful title & escrow professionals.

To find employees outside of the title industry who could be a good fit for roles on your team, consider incorporating behavioral-based interviewing. This type of interviewing evaluates candidates’ past behavior in various situations to help predict their future performance and ability to meet the job requirements. 

For example, some title companies use a recruitment tool called the Predictive Index to find talent inside and outside the title industry. The assessment measures what drives the individual and builds a behavioral profile. It’s about finding what drives that person, what kind of work they thrive in, and if they are a good fit for a particular role or team. This can be a powerful tool in recruitment efforts. “We look for educated professionals that we can train,” roundtable participants said.

3. Use your existing talent to attract new talent

Small-to-medium-sized title companies don’t typically have a recruiter on staff; however, all employees can play a role in the recruiting process. Your employees are part of the fabric of your community and likely have an ear for capable professionals looking for a career change that could be a value-add to your team.

Your employees also already know the title & escrow talent pool in your region since they may have worked at other title companies in the past or in some cases interact with other agents to close transactions. Through these interactions, they may know who might be looking to make a change and who may be a good fit for your company. 

Consider implementing an employee referral program if you haven’t done so already. Employee-referred new hires get a chance to understand the company from the employee’s point of view before working there. Employee referral programs are also more cost-effective than other recruiting strategies and often are the fastest way to find external talent.

Current employees know the company’s mission, culture, and what makes it a great place to work. Therefore, these employees can spread the word about why people should consider working at the company. 

4. Use your company culture to compete

In some markets, there could be several title companies within a 1-mile radius—as a result, the competition for talent is steep. To effectively retain talent, you’ll have to do more than just offer the highest salary— you will also have to offer an attractive company culture. 

Defining a company culture means you’ll need to consistently bring to life what makes your company unique. If your company culture is one of innovation and a positive work-life balance, you’ll want to demonstrate how you tangibly offer that to employees. For example, you may demonstrate to candidates that the technology you offer will help to make them more efficient in their day-to-day tasks. A software that takes minutes to complete tasks versus clunky software that takes hours to figure out and complete tasks will be a competitive advantage in recruitment. Reinforce the payoff of technology, emphasizing how it will provide a better quality of life (work-life balance) and better efficiency in their work.

5. Recruit within your organization

Rather than looking outside the organization to find someone to fill a particular position, consider your existing employees and how they could potentially grow into the role in question. This may take more time, but proactively thinking about your employees and their career paths can help your staff feel valued so they stick with you for the long term. 

This long-term strategy can come in the form of career plotting to help employees identify opportunities to expand their responsibilities over time or professional development courses to help employees upskill. Employees who feel their growth is a priority are more engaged in their work and more likely to stay.

Title companies reorienting and strengthening their talent recruitment strategies now will ultimately survive and thrive in this competitive labor market.