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Character first: The core of Fairway sales manager’s recruitment philosophy

Over the years, Ihler’s team in Austin grew, but it was their uniqueness that stood out. Unlike many in the industry, his focus wasn’t solely on hiring experienced mortgage professionals. Instead, he adopted a more holistic approach.

“One of the things that I learned early on when I was coming down to start the branch and meeting with The Wood Brothers, the branch managers at the time, was that he didn’t recruit mortgage people. He recruited people,” Ihler shared. “He looked for good human beings who would be loyal, trustworthy, and would operate with integrity. [People] who would treat people right and know how to work with people and do right by others and not necessarily put themselves first all the time. And so that’s the recruiting model.”

Ihler’s emphasis on character and potential over experience has not only shaped his team but also the culture of his branch. He believes in nurturing and educating his recruits, ensuring they not only understand the business but also align with the company’s values.

“We adapted. If you look at the guys around me who have helped build this thing, one guy was a used car salesman,” Ihler said. “Another guy was a missionary in Honduras. Another guy was an elementary school PE teacher at the local private Christian school who waited tables on the weekend. So, we all came from very different backgrounds.”

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