How do you make a great hire?
“Be quick, but don’t hurry, number one. And number two is, there is a process. I mean, as we talked about previously, most processes involve … in today’s environment, when you’ve got employees all over the United States, one. And two, a lot of the corporate personnel, particularly in our space, the mortgage banking environment, a lot of these professionals work from home. Which is perfectly fine, because we measure by results and not effort.
“And the ability to work from home is a big advantage to individuals, and it’s perfectly fine with us, but how does someone that works from home really understand about the organization that they’re going to work for? If the interview process just simply takes place over the phone, you take a look at a resume, and maybe call a referral or two, or you know, check on some references. It’s very difficult to have a long-lasting relationship with such a short ‘dating phase.’ I mean, think about when folks get married, do you get married the same way that you interview people for your company? I don’t think so.
“But if you went through the dating process, and our process starts out with a phone call with me, a phone call with the manager of the department that is going to be responsible for that individual. And if those two things work out well, I will fly that individual, no matter where they are in the country. I will bring them to our corporate office for a full day, and what I tell them … I walk through the entire process that they’re going to go through at our corporate office, so they understand and can see what’s happening versus just kind of wondering what’s going to happen in the next hour. And I tell them, ‘My commitment to you is that all you need to do is get to the airport. I’ll take care of the rest, it’ll be white-glove service from the time you leave to the time you get home.’
“But by the time you go home, if we are going to proceed with this job offer, I’m going to put you in a position to make a decision one way or the other by the time you step home and talk to your spouse or have your ability to go through your decision-making process, whatever it may be. And we really introduce the individual to our company, they can see our culture, see our environment, see our people. Are they walking around, are they smiling? Are they wearing Bermuda shorts and flip-flops, are they dressed professionally? What is it like? Because what you see here at our corporate office is what permeates throughout all of our offices across the country, this is where it starts. So you might as well be able to go back and back it all the way up to where it starts, which is here, and see if that’s something you want to be a part of. That’s the way we do it.
“Look at it this way. The first thing that I talk to a prospective candidate about when I get on the phone is, I’ll ask them straight up. Let’s say that, as an example, you’re interviewing for an underwriting position at InterLinc, right? I’ll ask the candidate, ‘On a scale of one to 10, how good are you?’ And they’ll kind of hem and haw, and then they’ll give me an answer. And I’ve got some that have said, ‘I’m an eight, I’m a nine, I’m a 10.’ Some have said, ‘I’m a 12′; I love it when they say, ’12.’
“On the flip side, I’ve had some that said, ‘Man, I’m about a six.’ And if they give me anything less than an eight, I’ll say, ‘Man, it’s been fantastic talking to you, but we only hire eights or better. As you progress in your career, and you become more and more advanced, and you think you’re an eight, man, give me a call back. I’d love to talk to you again.’ Because imagine the organization, if you were a client doing a home transaction with this company, and you asked me the question, ‘Jim, on a scale of one to 10, what type of people do you hire?’ And I say, ‘Great question, we hire a bunch of sixes.’ You’re going to be like, ‘Fantastic talking to you, I’m going down the street.’ But if I tell you, ‘We hire eights or better,’ then you feel pretty good when you talk to your wife about doing business with InterLinc.” —Jim VanSteenhouse, CEO, InterLinc Mortgage