Brokers are specialists in their field, providing great advice and service to their clients. Specialist finance broking recruiter Zach Wilford elaborates on the benefits of in turn employing a specialist to manage your business’ recruitment.
What type of clients do you mostly deal with?
My clients range from one-man operators looking for a PA or for their first junior brokers all the way up to huge groups writing over $600 million a year.
The one thing they have in common is that their processes are meticulous and they don’t want to step away from that. They recognise that recruiting someone into their business requires investment of time or money and they don’t have the time to step away from what is making them money – getting in front of clients and writing loans.
Why do they use you as opposed to recruiting internally?
They use me because of my network, presence in the market and the relationships I have. Plus I have in-depth knowledge of the broker world – having worked for an aggregator in the past, it’s almost like the gamekeeper turned poacher.
I know the behaviour of brokers, I know what’s important to them, what motivates them and, because of that, I know what would make them move.
Brokers also don’t have the time to actively approach others, but conversely when people recruit internally, it tends to be a much more reactive process. They also use me for intel on payment structures, what other brokers are paying etc. in order to be competitive.
What challenges do you find as a recruiter in this space?
It is a very candidate-short market: it’s no secret that broking is an ageing industry and attracting young talent is an issue.
On top of that, it’s not a normal hiring process – changing aggregators is something else I have to think about.
Just because one person leaves their job to start another, doesn’t mean they can be actively writing loans from the first day – they may need to get reaccredited for example. Also people from the banking sector are tricky; they have aspirations of leaving the bank, becoming a broker and setting up alone, but they don’t want to leave behind their big bank salary.
Conversely what do you enjoy about working in this space?
I like to think I know the industry very well. I’ve had dealings with every aggregator, brokers from every aggregator and understand how they all work, their selling points and their weaknesses.
I love the industry and providing visibility in a job market that is predominantly hidden.
What is the most common complaint that you hear about recruiting?
The most common issue clients have is that other recruiters they spoke to charge a lot.
Because of the nature of broking and the fact there are a lot of one-man operators, paying a huge recruitment fee isn’t economical. The biggest issue in general though is finding someone.
It is a difficult market because the pond brokers are fishing in is tricky. In my experience, brokers find it hard because there is no industry standard when it comes to remuneration. They are hesitant to pay a salary because they want some that is a hunter and not someone just looking to take home a pay cheque.
How are you dealing with the talent shortage?
This is a question everyone wants the answer to, but I don’t think anyone has nailed it yet.
Right now, companies deal with the talent shortage by engaging with me and getting access to the networks I have.
I have relationships with Cert IV providers that provide me with candidates that have recently completed the course and are looking for opportunities.
The broking industry isn’t seen to be as sexy as real estate and so younger talent are attracted to make a go of being a real estate agent rather than a broker.
What advice do you have about hiring the best candidate?
My advice is to be as open and transparent in the interview process as possible.
There is no doubt that in this industry, especially, a candidate will join a group with the view to learn the ropes, take as much IP as possible to then leave in two to three years to start on their own.
If you know this from the beginning, you can put provisions in place and use this as leverage for yourself.
You need to see a return on your investment and the candidate knows that too, so to create a plan where you both get exactly what you want out of the relationship is a much more beneficial process.
It allows you to manage the process and create a succession plan, which will mean you won’t be surprised when they do eventually leave.
The best brokers are the ones that are entrepreneurial types with a drive to build a strong network and grow a business: why not take advantage of this for three years?
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