Before joining PropLogix, Jennifer spent time working at a staffing agency in college, where she was trained to interview people on behalf of clients’ job placement needs. She recalls, “I realized I got a lot of gratification out of making that perfect where the client was happy, but more so that this person is now the employee of a company, gainfully employed, they’re happy and satisfied.”
It wasn’t easy landing a job in human resources though as the recession bared down on recent college grads, but Jennifer was determined and willing to take on short-term roles in various types of companies. After a few years of getting to know the culture of businesses of every size, she realized she thrived the most in high-paced, hyper-growth companies on the cusp of becoming even bigger.
Since COVID-19, PropLogix has grown from 170 to 250 employees, so it was a perfect fit.
Hiring Tips for Title Companies
Human resource professionals are often the butt of a joke (like the unfortunate character of Toby in The Office who is often the target of Michael Scott’s ire), but HR is just as critical aspect of the business as legal, finance, or IT.
“HR is involved in driving the business strategy of a company through its people. No matter what your business is; your talent is essential,” explains Jennifer.
There are two important elements at play in building a strong team:
- Understanding people
- Understanding the industry
Successful hiring managers match these two seamlessly. The process of finding the right candidate begins before speaking to your round of potentials. The first step is taking the time to do a deep analysis of the job role beyond the required skills. What behaviors and personality traits are important in order to fit the role, the department, and the company?
Every company has its own unique culture, mission, and expected work habits, and understanding and clearly communicating these aspects of your company is going to be the way you attract the best candidates.
The more realistic you can be with describing the challenges and rewards of the position, the better outcome you’ll have when starting the interview process.
Behavioral Assessment in Hiring
Finding the right skills and personality to match the role is a science. Behavioral and personality pre-employment assessments have been around for some time. The logic being that understanding an applicant’s behavioral traits will help predict future performance.
However, the success of your team hinges on more than their performance or aptitude to perform a function; employees must also find the work meaningful and suitable to their personality.
There are lots of different methodologies with predetermined dimensions measured that are proven to provide hiring managers with insight on potential fit and success of a candidate.
At PropLogix, Jennifer has begun using The Predictive Index model, a proven methodology for setting job targets and matching job candidates to the right role.
The Predictive Index measures the following dimensions of an applicant’s personality:
- Dominance is the drive to exert influence on people or events
- Extraversion is the drive for social interaction with other people
- Patience is the drive to have consistency and stability
- Formality is the drive to conform to rules and structure
With these four key factors, we can better assess a person’s behaviors and personality to understand if they align with company values, meet core competencies of the role, how they may function within a department or team, and their overall satisfaction with the role.
The process of using Predictive Index looks like this:
- Candidates fill out an untimed, free-choice, stimulus-response tool that measures to understand what drives them.
- After completing the assessment, a Reference Profile is assigned to the candidate, a “snapshot of the way they think and work without regard to a specific role.”
- The results help employers identify what types of work may be unsatisfactory to the candidate, reducing productivity and increasing stress.
A result that doesn’t match your target profile for the role doesn’t necessarily mean that the candidate is unqualified or incapable of completing the duties of the job, but they may not be the right psychological fit. Jennifer explains, “You wouldn’t want your top salesperson going into a role where they’ll be doing high levels of repetition and paperwork all day. On the flip side, you wouldn’t take your best researchers and ask them to make 50 cold calls.”
When hiring for a processor or title examiner, some of the required traits (beyond skills) may be organized, detail-oriented, good judgement, communicative, and problem-solving. Tools like the Predictive Index help managers and company owners see past the resume and interview to better assess whether the candidate truly possesses all the required traits to be happy and motivated in the role.
The Biggest Mistakes to Avoid
Without a framework or clearly defined character profile of the job role, it can be difficult to find the right match. Jennifer mentioned some of the mistakes she’s seen hiring managers and owners make in the past that include:
- Hiring the person because you like them as a person. It can be easy to get caught up in an interview with a charismatic individual. While they may be someone you’d like to hire because they seem like a great cultural match, if they don’t possess all the required traits associated with the role, neither you nor they will end up being happy at work.
- Expecting the perfect candidate to be the perfect interviewee. Sometimes the skill set and personality traits of your ideal candidate may be at odds with the personality of a charismatic interviewee. Jennifer warns hiring managers against allowing the interview to eclipse other important factors when choosing a new employee. “Sometimes people who are humble, meticulous, detailed, and introverted… Those types of candidates may not know how to sell themselves, and so they may not be the best interviewers. So you come away from the interviewing thinking they aren’t the right fit… In those cases, you need to go beyond the interview.” This may require you to do an assessment to see if they can do the job and talk to their references to get an idea if their work ethic matches the role.
Predictive Index may not make sense for a really small company, but some of those concepts still apply. Jennifer encourages employers to use other simple behavioral assessment tools in that case.
Ask questions that gather details on how they have acted in order to predict how they may act in the future. For instance, when looking for someone who cares deeply about providing great customer service, ask a question like “Tell me about a time when you had an upset customer and you didn’t have a solution right away, how did you handle resolving the problem?”
Did they consult a manager? Did they research the problem or look into a company knowledge base? The answer will help you understand how they may behave in the future.
Attracting highly qualified candidates
“The good news is that while compensation is important, studies have shown that it isn’t the most important thing. If you look at the reasons why people leave their jobs. People care about the company mission and feeling like it’s meaningful in some way,” says Jennifer.
Other than compensation, cultivating opportunities for mentorship, professional and personal development, and a balanced work life with benefits like great time off are important for attracting and retaining highly qualified candidates.
Since COVID-19 the working environment has radically changed as more people in every industry move to remote work. Some title companies, like Patten Title, have moved the majority of their staff to remote work with little disruption because of the strong company culture and upgrade to technology they established before the pandemic. It’s much harder to move to remote work without the values and infrastructure in place to accommodate it.
? Hear my conversation with Eric Fontanot from Patten Title on taking a digital first approach.
Remote work might not suit every company culture. For companies who wish to offer more remote opportunities, cultivating comradery comes more easily when working in a shared space, so Jennifer recommends that managers spend the time and energy to provide the same feeling even in a remote setting. Keep regularly scheduled meetings, have virtual coffee breaks or happy hours, and check in with team members beyond asking about their work load.
“I think at PropLogix, we’ve found that the teams that feel like they’re connected personally and their managers go that extra step to check in on them has really helped to create the bond professionally and that they’re on a team that supports them.”
Get more insight into hiring and training in the title industry. Join us on November 17th at 11 a.m. EST to hear from experts in the field on this challenge and more facing the industry today.