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First Interview Tips for Branch Managers and Loan Officers – Part 1: Avoid Talking About Money and T

Branch managers and loan officers looking to advance their careers with top companies in today’s competitive market make a lot of mistakes in the first interview. Your goal in the first interview is to focus on what value you bring to the company should they hire you. Don’t talk about things you want or need; there will be plenty of time to discuss what the company will do for you later.

In the first interview, the hiring authority is actively listening for reasons not to hire you. These “red flags” may eliminate you from a better career opportunity. The following are the primary elimination factors that the hiring authority is listening for in the candidate:

  1. Individuals who are self-centered and don’t fit into the company culture.

  2. Those who have an unwillingness to learn or accept training.

  3. Individuals who change companies often or negatively talk about their previous employers.

  4. Personal issues (recent divorce, financial pressure, drug or alcohol problems).

  5. Individuals who make excuses and don’t take responsibility for their actions.

When you focus on money and compensation, you are going to come across as self-centered and jeopardize the opportunity. Furthermore, there is no benefit to talking about money at this stage in the process. You could ask for too much money and offend the company or too little and leave money on the table.

Some hiring authorities will ask you about money. While this isn’t a trick question, it is an opportunity to eliminate you from further consideration. I recommend your respond with, “I am much more interested in the long-term opportunity with the company. Should you feel I’d be the right person for the job, then I’m confident you will make me a “fair offer.”

If that doesn’t work, share what your current compensation plan is and that you are looking for an opportunity to advance your career. Remember, before they make an offer, most top lenders will ask for production numbers, pay stubs, and W-2’s, so don’t embellish the facts.

While money is the primary topic to avoid, these issues should not be discussed either:

  • Vacations and benefits

  • Politics

  • Religion

  • Sexual orientation

  • Favorite sports team

Remember, your goal for the first interview is to get to a second interview. Since most first interviews are done over the phone, if you feel the company may be better for your career, be assertive at the end of the interview. I recommend that you conclude with a statement like, “I appreciate your time and like what I hear about this opportunity. I would like to come and meet you in person about it.” Not only will asking for a personal meeting improve your odds of a second interview, it will show the hiring authority you won’t be afraid to ask for business from realtors, referral partners, or borrowers.

Jeff Flees • • (877) 721-4822

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