Category Archives: Real Estate Financial Services

Good Luck: When Preparation Meets Opportunity!

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines luck as “a force that brings good fortune or adversity; the events or circumstances that operate for or against an individual.” We often apply luck to our day to day lives…sometimes in a negative light…sometimes in a positive one. You may use bad luck as a scapegoat for a lack of preparation in an unfortunate situation. Conversely, you may credit good luck when things unexpectedly go your way.

In theory, luck is great for the ‘ignorance is bliss’ crowd. As we all know, in business, ignorance is typically anything but bliss! This can certainly apply when building your team.

On this St. Patrick’s week, as you evaluate your luck, we suggest that you don’t get caught behind the eight ball with your company’s personnel strategy. Ergo, a few helpful tips in that department:

• Take the steps necessary to consistently engage and interact with the external candidate pool.

• Periodically evaluate your existing team to look for needs and/or glaring weaknesses.

• To help with future recruiting and bench strength, make sure that you are actively promoting your company brand and culture at all times.

These types of actions may help when the next hiring opportunity presents itself. This way, you’ll be praising your luck instead of cursing it!

Corporate Culture… Just Another Buzzword?

It’s a term that is used all of the time in the recruiting world. Anyone looking for a job or hiring for a position has had to deal with the same question… “What is the corporate culture like?” But what does this really mean? Are people talking about the size of the company, the personalities of the different employees, the leadership hierarchy, company benefits, or all of the above? This can be a very important part of the hiring process for both parties involved, and is often one of the more overlooked components when either side is making a final decision regarding employment.

From the employer perspective, finding a person that fits into the established organizational culture is imperative to ensure your long-term success. Understanding your own company and what type of environment you are trying to cultivate is the first step in the process. According to a Harvard Business Review article, there are six components of a great corporate culture: Vision, Values, Practices, People, Company Narrative, and Physical Workplace. Having clear answers to these questions will help any employer comb through candidates to figure out who is most likely to mesh well into the existing environment.

From the employee perspective, the reasons why corporate culture should be at the top of your consideration of any prospective employer are more or less the same. The difference is in the mindset. One must consider their own likes and dislikes of the various companies for which they have worked. The points to think about can include desired company size, leadership hierarchy, public vs. private ownership, geographic location, etc. There are pros and cons to just about any way to set up a company, and the trick is to find one that you as an employee are going to feel comfortable in, thus enabling the best chance to maintain high personal morale and motivation levels.

Regardless of what the answers to these questions are, this is an important piece to consider in any talent search. We would argue that culture is more important than financial compensation, as increased “comp” can be exciting in the short term but doesn’t necessarily ensure long term employee satisfaction with the position. And it’s not that there is one right way to build a corporate culture. Quite the opposite in fact. Companies with very different environments have found all sorts of success by making sure that the people that they onboard are going to fit into the established environment. This is one of the key areas where the team at Anderson|Biro can help. A large part of our job as an executive recruiting firm is to understand our client’s corporate culture, and make sure that the candidates we recommend for any given position are going to fit in with that vision and ecosystem.

If you have any questions, please feel free to visit our website www.andersonbiro.com and one of our team members would be happy to hear your thoughts.

2018 Recruiting Strategy: Are You Prepared?

2018 has arrived! Ahh, the refreshing turn of the calendar page. Annual bonus and distribution season is finally upon us. Hope springs eternal and… hopefully… you will soon be reaping some of the financial benefits of your hard work in 2017!
This year is looking like it could be wild and full of business opportunity and uncertainty alike. Of course, there are well publicized variables to consider with tax reform and what its components mean for each individual and business entity…. A shortage of housing inventory in many markets and the opportunity that brings to home builders….Rising home values and what it means for top-notch realtors and real estate attorneys… Interest rates remain at historically affordable levels so what does that mean for mortgage lenders and servicers? Or course, all of this has an effect on Title and Settlement Agents and ultimately, their Underwriters.

A new year is a clean slate in some sense, and a continuation of progress in another. In addition to all of your other planning considerations, your recruiting strategy probably falls into the second category as the search for meaningful talent is really never-ending.

The competitive landscape of the title insurance and settlement industry continues to evolve, and you are probably constantly looking for creative ways to provide top notch solutions to your clients. What does this mean for your recruiting strategy in terms of its effect on your ability to serve your client base? What are you doing on the recruiting front to grab market share in an evolving landscape? What are you doing to enhance your internal talent pool and develop your current team? How have you positioned yourself to meet your talent needs in 2018, and how does your overall recruiting strategy align with these goals?

All are important questions and you probably have an idea on most of these items. If you need help with any of this, please feel free to get in touch. One of our team members would be happy to hear your thoughts and provide candid feedback. Here’s to a successful 2018!

Back to the Basics: Showing Appreciation in your Hiring Process

There are many things that come to mind Thanksgiving Week. Usually family, turkey, cranberry sauce, and naps grace the leaderboard. Somewhere near the top you will typically find the very basis of the holiday, giving thanks and showing appreciation for the things we have in our lives. Things that folks are often thankful for and truly appreciate are typically not things at all. They are intangibles, such as health, happiness, and well-being.

You may be asking what this has to do with your recruitment efforts and hiring process. The message is a simple one: appreciation for the candidate’s mental well-being goes a long way, especially in situations where it may not always be expected. Below are some tips on how you can utilize small cordialities and the sign of appreciation to enhance your culture and brand recognition in the marketplace.

• Respond within 48 hours to a follow-up thank you email from a candidate that has interviewed. Replying timely to candidates can help reinforce team comradery and communication skills.

• Deliver constructive feedback during the interview process. When not selecting a candidate to proceed, offer them honest feedback to help them continue to grow as a professional. It may help you down the road when filling another role.

• Inform candidates when they are no longer being considered for the role. No one really likes rejection, but what may be worse is not knowing at all and being left in the dark. Being known as a straightforward and transparent company can help build trustworthiness in your group in the candidate marketplace.

• Thank each candidate for their time and interest in your organization. While you have ultimately used your company time and resources for interviews, they also have taken the time and effort during the hiring process and should be thanked accordingly. Showing genuine appreciation to a candidate, selected or not selected, may help you establish a reputation of gratitude and connectivity.

Who wouldn’t want to work with a group like that?

Networking Events…Love Them or Hate Them and How They Can Relate to Recruiting

Depending on your personality, there are generally two types of outlooks on networking events: optimism and opportunity…..or indifference and aversion. The truth of the matter is that networking is essential for a multitude of reasons even outside the obvious of connecting with potential customers or clients.

Utilizing networking events to your advantage from a recruiting standpoint has a similar strategy as networking with potential customers or clients for your services or products except that the end goal is not necessarily to secure a deal (unless you’re at a career fair of course). Whether it is a national summit, statewide conference, or local chapter meeting, these events can work to your advantage by helping you control things you may not otherwise be able to if you did not attend.

Listed below are some key areas on which to focus when networking to help improve your business from a recruiting perspective.

Reputation – Being visible in the market provides the opportunity to have a direct impact on the reputation of not only your organization, but yourself as well. This gives you a chance to promote your organization with body language, enthusiasm and your personal style, all of which may not come through full force when speaking on the phone or in a formal business meeting. When people can see for themselves the qualities that make you a consummate professional, this can help reinforce your personal strengths in the marketplace. This type of presence can help reinforce a solid reputation and may lead to candidates wanting to work with you and your organization.

Brand Building – If you are able to reach multiple points of contact within your industry on a regular basis, there is an opportunity to continue to build upon the brand of the organization. Being able to help control the messaging that the market receives provides you with an advantage when it comes to building your brand. Do you put an emphasis on work/life balance? Do you offer perks other companies do not? Are you on the forefront of an emerging product? Let the market know. This may help attract talent to your group that may have otherwise not been interested.

Establishing Stronger Relationships – This is a great way to strengthen connections between people you’ve known for years and folks you hardly know. Quality face time with your network enables a chance to deepen existing relationships and ignite new ones. There is a special bond that forms when you can shake one’s hand, notice their authenticity, appreciate their wit, or admire the quirks that make them who they are. Stronger relationships will help augment the reputation you’ve cultivated, the brand you have built, and thus help you have an impact in the marketplace.

So, in closing, if you are recruiting for your company, get out there and network!

Are You Transparent in Your Hiring Process?

When you conduct a business transaction, there are certain things that are expected from each party. Some of these things may include trustworthiness from the partner with whom you are doing business, a fair price, and a quality good or service. You could also be thinking about how this may apply to your hiring process.

A fair price can be negotiated for any transaction. The quality of that good or service can typically be measured. So how do you help establish trust in someone you’ve only spoken with maybe once or twice? Two words come to mind; honesty and transparency.

In the hiring process, we tend to give others the benefit of the doubt that they are honest until they give us a reason to doubt that assumption. Transparency, however, is a bit more complicated. You may trust someone based on the fact that they’ve always been honest with you, but there is still a chance they are not telling you everything you may need to know. When it comes to honesty and transparency, you can sometimes have one without the other. When it comes to your hiring process, it is imperative that you have both.

Being transparent in your hiring process allows you to accomplish a few things that may otherwise be hindered by a lack of it. Listed below are a few of those potential benefits:

•Greater sense of trust between candidate and company. This can lead to uncovering potential pain points early on that may have caused headaches for everyone later (i.e. compensation issues, healthcare issues, commute or work from home needs, overtime requirements)

•Candidates begin work excited and motivated as their concerns were addressed in advance. This may lead to greater productivity and leave them less likely to exit your team early for a “better” opportunity.

•A culture that breeds an environment where team members can interact openly without the toxins that ulterior motives often create. The more employer transparency with goals and expectations, e.g. a better definition of boundaries… often the more team cohesiveness and ultimate productivity can be achieved.

Of course, this is not an exhaustive list. Feel free to reach out for further discussion.

The Intense Competition for Talent – Urgency in the Recruitment Process

In our last blog we touched on the changing landscape of the hiring process and timeline along with the importance of adaptation in both to secure your next hire. For those of you that missed our last post, it can be found here.

There is an old adage in the business world that applies to the hiring process more than you may think. You may know it better as “time kills all deals.” Whether we like to admit it or not, a sense of urgency is an integral part of two sides coming together for mutual benefit. In this case, that means you securing top talent for your organization.

Competition for talent has heated up. As mentioned in the last blog, there are now more available seats than folks to fill them. If you are not creating urgency within your recruiting process you are creating talent vulnerability. Below are some tips on how to create urgency within your hiring process to help secure your next hire.

• Keep the interview process efficient and timely. Sure, it can be hectic when you have other deadlines to meet. However, making the time to conduct multiple interviews in a relatively short time period can help keep the candidate engaged and attracted to your group. If significant time passes between meetings, they may start to think you have lost interest and in turn they start to lose interest.

• Be decisive in your selection. This applies to who to interview, who to bring back to meet again, and to whom an offer is made. From time to time, we all wonder in the back of our minds if there is something better out there. This is not the time to let that thought get in the way. If you wait around to see one or two more candidates, your lead candidate may be gone by the time you’re ready to pull the trigger.

• Beware the search for the legendary “Purple Squirrel”! You know, the perfect candidate that may not actually exist but is so tempting to land. In the meantime, don’t pass up on that great, “real life” candidate as you continue hunting for this mythical beast.

The Intense Competition for Talent – Are You Adaptive in Your Pursuit?

There is a theory from Darwin that has withstood the test of time; it is not the strongest or smartest that survive, but the most adaptive to change. This has been applied to everything from basic survival to running a successful business. It is time to recognize that this principle also applies to the hiring process and timeline.

The agreed standard has always been multiple interviews, select your lead candidate, continue your fact finding, make an offer and make the hire. However, the agreed timetable for these events to take place tend to vary from organization to organization and hiring authorities alike. In an employer driven market like the one seen during the economic downturn, you have the flexibility to take your time. A candidate may need you more than you need them so they will wait on you hand and foot. In a thriving industry or time of economic growth, this may not be the case.

Right now the pendulum is swinging. Talent readily available is now more scarce. A well-qualified candidate who before may have waited a few weeks until a decision is made may now be less likely to wait around. The current circumstances causing them to seek a change may get addressed internally before you’ve made a decision and you miss the boat. They may be interviewing with multiple companies and another that they also like may be moving quicker than you. The truth of the matter is, on an industrywide scale, there are more empty seats than qualified individuals to fill them. Looking at the hiring process and timeline that worked before, the question is, will it be effective now? Are you prepared to adapt to secure your next hire?

Here are some suggestions on how to be aggressive to land your next hire:

• Be constantly vocal promoting your brand and culture in the marketplace
• Act faster on decision making
• Maintain relationships with passive candidates to act quicker for future needs
• Offer compensation packages outside the norm (a few examples can be found here)

Need help or have questions? Give us a call.

Quick Reflections on a Decade of Service

Ten Years…it’s been ten years since we had an idea… let’s build on our prior experience in recruiting and create an executive search firm that truly services the land title insurance and appraisal industry from coast to coast. Looking back…what were we thinking? After all, we opened Anderson|Biro in 2007, essentially near the front end of our country’s worst recession since the great depression…and we had just started a company focused in the real estate industry, one of the recession sectors hit hardest! At first, we scratched, we clawed, and then…it started to “click”. Ten years, chalk-full of various experiences. Strategic growth. Growing pains. New business opportunities, some fully developed, some yet in their infancy. Ten years of hiring intelligent, fresh faces bathed with persistence and vigor. Ten years of watching trusted, experienced team members grow and prosper as mature, specialized executive search consultants. Ten years of working in the trenches, every day. Helping good people find good people. In many cases, helping clients share life-altering opportunities with candidates ready for their big break.

Clients and industry contacts, what can we say about you? It is hard to put into words just how much we value our partnerships. We are lucky to have such amazing client and candidate relationships, forged over time. Relationships built on decisions and actions based in trust, honesty, and integrity. Over the years we have partnered with Underwriters and Title Agents, Law Firms, Lenders, AMC’s, Realtor and Home Builder JV’s alike, big and small, public and private.  We’ve had a front row seat to a lot of deal formation and growth and have been part of a good portion of it. Simply put, we would not be here today without these relationships.  We owe this ten-year anniversary to you.  As we reflect on a decade of service…we would like to say THANK YOU! Thank you to our clients and industry contacts*. Also, thank you to our vendors, friends and family. Thank you all for your trust, love and support. Ten years…it went fast. We are just getting started!

*As a gesture of thanks, we are now offering a 10% discount on your next project. Please contact randerson@andersonbiro.com or ebiro@andersonbiro.com for more details. 

End of Month is Over, Go Build Relationships with Potential New Hires

Ah, the 1st of the month.  I don’t have to stay in the office until 10pm today.

Congratulations! 

As you go through the normal routine following the end of the month, do not miss out on the opportunity to communicate with potential new hires.  Remember, they went through the end of the month just as you and their calendars have finally cleared out just like yours.  Now is a good time to meet people face-to-face.  Build on the relationships that have already been created.  Go create new relationships.  With the volume of work within the industry now, recruiting needs to remain a major priority, whether to increase your bench strength, or adding new positions.

Quick Tips:

  • Get personal – pick a meeting environment that is quiet.  Don’t meet at the local coffee shop during rush hour.
  • Expand your reach – whether in new markets or related industries.
  • Strive to create at least one new relationship at the beginning of each month.

There isn’t a perfect science to when you can best recruit top talent, but why miss out on an opportunity when things are calmer than the “end of month”.