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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   July 2018

Virtual Reality Can Boost Originator-Recruiting Efforts

Mortgage companies need to understand how technology can energize job candidates

Virtual Reality Can Boost Originator-Recruiting Efforts

When attempting to attract top talent, mortgage companies and other businesses put on display their culture, key people, community involvement and the benefits of their workplaces. What can set your mortgage company apart in doing this is virtual reality content. Most companies don’t even have a virtual-reality headset yet. They should.

What if an originator, underwriter or CEO could give a virtual tour of their brand and company to a job prospect? Or maybe the company could put that candidate via virtual reality in the middle of an annual sales celebration recognizing top performers, or maybe it could plop that candidate into a company-sponsored community event.

Virtual reality (VR) and other technology used innovatively — from texting to social media to artificial intelligence — can make the previously mentioned scenarios possible. These technologies also can be used to really step up your company’s recruiting efforts in the process.

High-profile companies already use VR for hiring. Luxury auto-brand Jaguar created a mixed reality app to test job candidates’ curiosity, persistence, lateral thinking and problem-solving skills. The app gets some candidates to apply through more traditional methods. It also identifies those who perform well at the code-breaking games and accelerates them through the recruiting process. Think how your company could use this.

Business and financial-software company Intuit recently brought VR to a University of Washington design-career fair to share the company’s culture and to take students through a virtual tour of their impressive Mountain View headquarters in California. Imagine what your company could do by showing the inner workings of your mortgage company via virtual reality, or by allowing the job candidate to visit virtually with the company’s CEO who can share the vision of where the starship is headed.

Imagine what your company could do by showing the inner workings of your mortgage company via virtual reality, or by allowing the job candidate to visit virtually with the company’s CEO.

Do you think that realistic and virtual experience would energize candidates? Or could it convince the candidate that your company is setting the standard for the next new thing? The answer to both questions is yes.

The AI challenge

Artificial intelligence (AI) is dividing the business world at the moment when it comes to recruiting. Some companies are beta testing the use of AI in the process while others believe it’s practicable use is still years away.

While it’s up for debate how useful AI programs are right now, what’s not in question is that traditional, stuck-in-the-past recruiting methods based on standardized resumes and (potentially biased) interviewer opinions are still leading to some bad hires.

What AI can do well is it can collect vast amounts of data. Why not put that to use to help screen candidates? Maybe AI is far from being able to pinpoint exactly who a company should hire, but maybe it can be used to make recruiting a more precise art. The use of data optimizes recruiting time and makes us much more efficient with the limited amount of time we all have.

The transition to AI-assisted recruiting isn’t off somewhere in the distance future. It’s already starting to happen. One company that is doing some interesting things on the recruiting front, for example, is Wade & Wendy — an AI company that creates virtual assistants to help job candidates and hiring managers connect with each other.

Old tech made new

Social media has long been used in recruiting job candidates. But some companies are trying to connect with candidates through social media in interesting ways. Amazon, for instance, is recruiting engineers by posting advertisements on dating site Tinder. Another communication approach that shows great response times and immediate reactions is a targeted text message.

Hunting for passive candidates—those currently employed—is always a smart decision. 

Texting is far better than e-mailing, if done properly. A couple of benefits are that people expect that there is some relationship if you have their cell number. The candidates also can communicate on their own time, even between tasks.

Recruiting videos still can be used on Snapchat, YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook and some of the other social media venues. Those videos just have to be content rich and authentically engaging. By having team members and managers video message your prospect pool using simple messaging like “less touches to files” as part of the job description, you can subtly suggest that your file flow is more efficient, for example. 

Basics still matter

It’s not easy to find the ideal candidate, but technology is terrific in helping to identify the right people. Still, some recruiting techniques are time-tested for a reason. Sitting one-on-one in the same room and holding a conversation with a candidate can lead to assessments of body language, eye contact and general confidence.

When time pressures and distances make it difficult to be in the same room, try using one of the many video-conferencing programs to conduct an interview. That can help pick up a lot of cadences, voice deflections and off-the-top quips. It also can show how the candidate presents themselves in real time. 

Hunting for passive candidates — those currently employed — is always a smart decision. These candidates take the least amount of ramp-up time. They already understand the business. And they often don’t need the wining and dining and all the frivols. They’re just looking for the facts on your business to determine whether they’ll make a move.

Your current employees probably know some of these passive candidates. They are often past coworkers — who could become great coworkers again in the future.


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