This feature originally appeared in the May issue of MReport.
The median age of mortgage loan originators (MLOs) is the late 40s, according to data from Stratmor Group. And while Stratmor’s research found no correlation between borrower satisfaction and loan officer age, at some point, current MLOs are going to want to retire, and companies will need to replace them. While the mortgage industry continues to make strides in diversity, lenders can do more to attract soon-to-be or recent college graduates.
You might be surprised at the differences between today’s college students and your personal experience if you were a student. One of the biggest differences is that students enter the job market earlier, seeking internships as early as the summer after freshman year. Gaining real-world experience is key to getting hired after graduation in any industry.
Even though a college sophomore or junior may have little, if any, work experience, they want to be compensated when they work. They see the learning opportunity of an internship, but they also need to pay their bills— including student loans. Based on my experiences working with college students at the National Association of Minority Mortgage Bankers and as Planet Home Lending’s representative at college recruiting programs, students are hungry for our business advice.
The most common request I get from today’s students is resume writing help. They want to know how to write for businesses, which is different from texting, a skill at which they tend to be very proficient. They will attend writing workshops and even pay professionals to help them craft better resumes.
This shows their commitment to presenting themselves as professionally as possible. While most soon-to-be-professionals have extensive social media experience with platforms such as Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat, another area where they won't help is creating a substantive LinkedIn profile that will grab the attention of potential employers. Recent graduates want to make the best possible impression on recruiters and hiring managers and to showcase their skills and knowledge to potential employers.
They appreciate advice about interview prep and networking as a way to gain access to opportunities. If your company is seeking to hire more college students or recent graduates, here are four tactics that may help:
- Show Up
If your company can be present and engaged at professional development or recruiting event and provide insight into the industry, the jobs we hire for, and the interview process, you will have a positive impact on a student. Many lenders are proactive and sponsor events, but students may not react to brand names. They react to hearing from industry people they meet in person. Showing up might sound a bit blasé, but it can be the most important thing you can do to get in front of recent grads.
- Provide Flexibility
Recent grads are looking to work, but they’re coming from college, where they had a tremendous amount of control over their schedule and the environment in which they chose to get their work done (quiet library versus noisy dorm). If you can provide flexibility, whether that is working remotely once in a while or changing hours from the typical schedule, your job will appeal to more of the recent grad population.
- Make Your Case
Just as hiring managers search for potential employees’ backgrounds online, potential employees also search for companies. Do your company website, LinkedIn, and other social media accounts reflect your firm’s culture and value proposition for employees?
- Highlight Your Diversity
While you may never have a recent grad ask you questions about diversity or initiatives in a face-to-face meeting, that does not mean they are not interested in it. They may just be making judgments based on what they see on your career website or who you send to campus events. Today’s graduates expect employers to value and promote diversity and inclusion. Providing diverse representatives who they can relate to can be key to attracting new hires as they are scoping out potential places to work. While many grads do not turn to the mortgage industry, you can do more to attract them.
This is where the engagement comes in. Many young people remember the credit crisis through their parents’ eyes. You can help educate them on how far the industry has come and the rewards in this business of providing homeownership to families. Giving special attention to areas that matter to them as well as providing the training and compensation they want can attract new hires. The mortgage industry has been a great place for many to work in and for many decades. Now, it’s our turn to show recent graduates how the same can be true for them.