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Hiring Personalities in the Title Industry
Business Strategy Company Culture For Title Agents Training and Education

Hiring Personalities in the Title Industry

Justin Nedell

Hiring efforts worldwide are running into roadblocks with a shortage of quality candidates and the exodus of employees known as the Great Resignation. The title industry has also fallen victim to its own loss of workers as many seasoned veterans inch closer to retirement and hiring was slowed back in 2008. Historically, hiring in the title industry has relied too heavily on acquiring talent through exposure to the industry via family members or friends who were already working in the real estate world.

In our recent episode of Title Talks, we chatted with two professionals who offered excellent advice in overcoming this hiring hurdle. Lindsay Hall Harrison is a Florida Underwriting Counsel with Stewart Title and a board member of the Florida Land Title Association. She told us about succession planning in the industry and how companies need to rethink their approach to recruiting future title industry professionals.

Our second guest was Jennifer Niccolai, the Director of Human Resources at PropLogix, who carries over a decade of experience attracting talent in high-growth organizations. She offered a holistic view of recruitment and retention for an organization.

Click here to listen to the full interview.

The current economic climate calls for a change to the process to bring in fresh talent. Title companies must focus on finding the right people, matching them to the proper roles, and selling the many career opportunities that appeal to young professionals.

 

The Title Industry Faces a Challenge

It’s no secret that there is an age gap in the title industry, according to Lindsay. During the recession, the entire country faced a slowed pace of hiring, later creating a gap between older title professionals and younger ones. As more senior members enter retirement age, there are fewer people to train new entrants in the field. 

The title industry is unique, and many of the people who work in it today were introduced to it through family, friends, and early on exposure. Advancement in the title world is primarily based on experiential learning and apprenticeship, creating a greater issue. With fewer people passing down the knowledge, how can new professionals progress?

This predicament calls for title companies to ramp up their hiring strategy, training methods, and ultimately to think outside the box. Companies can’t rely on snagging employees from other companies or people shifting between industries.

 

Act Now As An Industry

Lindsay told us that there are some critical areas for improvement to overcome this hurdle. She echoed the idea that relying on experienced candidates to show up for interviews is not enough. The title industry is so unique and specific that it will be nearly impossible to find candidates who can walk in with years of experience.

Many companies fear investing in training people who will then jump ship and join another company. This fear is valid, but in this environment, having people shift around is part of the greater good for all the companies in the space. 

 

“A rising tide lifts all boats.” - Lindsay Hall Harrison

 

It can go both ways – some people will leave a company, but others will join another title company. At the end of the day, the industry needs to invest in training and development to create a stronger pool of title professionals.

 

Finding the Right People is Key

Although the greater goal is to bring in more professionals to the industry, employee investment should be directed towards those who are open and willing to learn. Title isn’t for everyone, and therefore it’s essential to weed out those who aren’t going to bring passion to a role.

Lindsay suggested that companies focus on people who can understand and appreciate the importance of title work, even before being trained. Many people don’t know about title, so it’s a chance to expose them to the industry and opportunities that exist for a person’s career in title.

 

Keep An Open Mind

Jennifer pointed out that sometimes quality candidates are overlooked because they aren’t high-performing interviewees. Although they might have the right qualities for a successful professional in title, their interview skills can be lacking. 

It can be a significant loss on a company’s part if they don’t dig deeper into the qualities that would make someone an excellent candidate. One way to do this is to intertwine behavioral interview questions with standard ones so that truly qualified candidates can demonstrate their skills.

On the other hand, another mistake she said to be wary of is enjoying someone’s personality in an interview too much. This can lead to a company overlooking a lack of enthusiasm for the industry or that their qualities may not be suitable for a specific role in a title company.

In addition to someone’s personality, companies shouldn’t forget that skills from one industry are transferable to the title industry. Good customer service, detail-orientation, thriving in a fast-paced environment, and other skills are excellent indicators of someone who could handle a position at a title company.

Diverse Clients Call For Diverse Employees

As more diverse cultures enter the homebuying market, it calls for a change in how the title industry approaches hiring. Meeting the needs of a diverse client base is going to be essential. The solution is simple – hire diverse talent.

Being based in Florida led Lindsay to call attention to this. States like Florida are a prime example of this where many languages are spoken, and homebuyers come from varied backgrounds. The connections formed from sharing a language or cultural background are irreplaceable.

With 1-in-5 homebuyers having Hispanic heritage, this shift is going to be beneficial across the board. It’s not enough to simply translate materials into Spanish or other languages but to have that deeper level of connection and rapport with clients.

 

Successful Methods for Hiring

There are numerous ways for a company to improve its hiring strategy, even without a fully equipped human resources team. It’s as simple as slowing down the process, being more careful about candidates worthy of an interview, and understanding what type of person is ideal for a specific role that needs to be filled.

 

Take Time In Your Hiring Process

Jennifer suggests that companies and human resources teams take the time to think through a position before posting it live. The process should begin with understanding what an ideal candidate would look like and later tailoring the description to match that candidate. 

It’s a common frustration on both sides of the table – unsuitable candidates apply for a position, and job seekers don’t fully understand a role because of a poorly written job description. 

Overselling a position can be a mistake because an employee may not be happy in the long run and waste the company’s time and investment. Underselling a role deters candidates from applying. Strike a balance between the two to help filter candidates more effectively.

 

Other areas to consider when posting an opening:

  • Why there is a need for the opening in the first place
  • What the position will look like in a day-to-day setting
  • What would an attractive candidate bring to the table
  • Staying realistic in both the challenges and selling points of the position

 

ALTA offers excellent resources to help with writing job descriptions and more. Learn more by clicking here.

 

Match Personalities With The Jobs

Not long after joining the FLTA board, Lindsay’s mission was to facilitate a way for job seekers to understand what roles would be suitable for them in the title industry. The title industry is wide-ranging. There are roles for every type of person, whether creative, outgoing, analytical, or number crunching. Floridarunsontitleinsurance.org is the passion project of FLTA and Lindsay to make recruiting based on personalities and skillset easier for title professionals.

 

“The most effective way, I’ve found, for us to try and introduce new people [to the title industry] was to not overly explain to them what we do, but to try and match people to our industry with their personality traits and what they like to do.” - Lindsay Hall Harrison

 

It’s beneficial for companies to understand this matching process because it can make hiring more effective long term. It’s hard to explain all the intricacies of the title industry, so having a matching tool helps focus conversations on a specific role and avoids overwhelming professionals who are curious to learn more.

Jennifer echoed the importance of understanding a candidate on a deeper level and referred to the Predictive Index tool used at PropLogix. Its proven methodology allows a company to understand if a candidate’s personality is suitable for the role. Many people will adapt and throw themselves into a position while not considering long-term job satisfaction. A company has to help determine that ahead of time.

 

Sell Your Company and Its Culture

Many companies talk about the culture within the workplace today, but not every company takes the time to define and understand its culture. When diving into hiring, it’s easier to find suitable candidates who will fit into a predefined culture.

Jennifer also explained the importance of sharing how your company offers the things that young professionals are seeking right now, especially Millennials.

 

Young professionals care about: 

  • Being able to contribute to an organization’s and industry’s growth
  • Purpose in a role and organization, not just a paycheck
  • Having a work/life balance and defined boundaries with the workday
  • A strong relationship with their manager where feedback is offered
  • Opportunities to grow within the company and learn new skills continuously

 

The pitch should be a part of your company’s website, job descriptions, and interview process. Make it clear that your organization, and a role in the title industry, meet their career goals.

Although the title industry is subject to hiring challenges, there are numerous ways to overcome this. Rethinking the hiring process, selling the title industry to those who are genuinely interested in it, and matching candidates’ personalities to the suitable role are the best ways to bring in fresh talent to the industry.

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Justin Nedell Content Marketer

Justin Nedell is a Content Marketer at PropLogix who enjoys writing industry-specific, research-backed content that allows readers to make informed decisions in every stage of the homebuying process. He currently lives in Denver, has traveled to over 30 countries, and enjoys hiking, snowboarding, yoga, learning new languages, and spending time in the outdoors.