Can you select the next Russell Wilson?

This week the NFL 2013 draft occurred in New York City. For my Philadelphia Eagles, the pressure was on to make quality personnel decisions since last year was such a disaster (4-12). In recent years, the Philly’s draft picks had more busts than wins and was largely why the team performed badly over the last few seasons.

This year, Chip Kelly, our new head coach, made an excellent point on recruiting: “Everybody knew that Andrew Luck was a real talented player, but only one team gets him. But who is going to get the next Russell Wilson? Everybody had a shot at taking him, but for some reason he fell through the cracks.” Wilson, a Wisconsin quarterback was taken 75th overall last year by the Seattle Seahawks. Wilson led his team to an 11-5 record and a playoff victory—a stellar performance for a team that had not done well previously.

For mortgage lenders, making the right hiring decision is similar to the NFL draft. If a team has a poor evaluation system, the results can doom a football franchise for years. Likewise, poor hiring of mortgage originators can hamper business in the short- and long-term. The only saving grace is when interest rates decline, an order-taker can survive, but they are over-paid for their contributions. At some point, the over-payment translates into a high cost to originate.

There are two parts to hiring well: innate talent (9 personality traits) and corporate culture matching. To establish whether a candidate is a match with your company’s culture, managers must ask whether the originator has the right attitude, way of doing business and the right selling model for the business. Just because the sales candidate has a W-2 that shows a previous year’s performance doesn’t mean that they have the talent or match your cultural business requirements.

Isn’t it time to make a successful hiring system a priority? The first step is to train your managers how to evaluate and select talent. Nothing else impacts individual and corporate performance more than the quality of your hires.