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Job Seekers' Frustrations -- We Hear You!

Denver Post reporter Aldo Svaldi recently examined the frustrations felt on both sides of the hiring equation. Job seekers apply for positions and await answers that sometimes never come; and companies on the other end struggle to keep up with the flood of resumes arriving daily. We’ve felt it at Allonhill, and I know from hearing from many applicants that they have too.

We have had a steady stream of highly qualified and dedicated job applicants in the past year, both when we’ve been actively hiring and when we’ve had no positions to offer. Hundreds of applications pour in when we advertise positions. This comes on top of the many unsolicited applications we receive from people who read about us, know that we are on the front end of repairing the mortgage crisis and are eager to get involved.

We have a dedicated and diligent team in place at Allonhill to respond to job inquiries. But we’ve also had the challenges that come with starting a business, and with staffing large engagements with limited time to prepare.

Svaldi’s piece was a timely reminder of many frustrations I experienced myself when looking for a job, and of many things that have come up through the years at my former company, The Murrayhill Company, and at Allonhill. In light of these frustrations, we have renewed our commitment to observing a higher standard of responsiveness to job seekers as we enter into a new phase of hiring (yes, we are hiring: for senior analysts, client service managers, full-time and contract analysts , credit risk managers and support and IT personnel).

Call it the “Allonhill Job Applicant’s Bill of Rights”:

  1. Anyone who takes the time to submit a cover letter and resume, whether by e-mail, in person or by mail, has invested valuable time. More importantly, they have taken a risk, by presenting themselves for what is most likely, in the current economy, a rejection. They deserve to have their submission acknowledged in a timely manner, even if it is only an acknowledgement.
  2. Anyone who follows up with an inquiry deserves a response. Again, even if it is just to acknowledge that we have received that person’s resume and that we have noted their interest, they deserve to be acknowledged.
  3. Anyone who interviews with us, by phone or in person, deserves to know the outcome of that interview. In the worst case, that outcome is a rejection, and people deserve to know if we felt they were not the right fit for us. If an interviewee could be a good fit but we have no position for them at the moment, we owe it to the applicant to communicate that.

The Post article cites a 5 percent response rate from blind submissions by applicants. We strive to be in the very top percentile of companies and employers in all regards, and responsiveness to applicants is no exception. It’s part of our culture, and the success of our business is very much driven by our culture.

Here is what we ask of job applicants:

  1. Submit your resume and a cover letter electronically. Send them to [email protected]. Make it easy for us. Unless you are applying for a very senior position, a one-pager is going to serve you best.
  2. Give us at least one week to respond. Expect the response to be perfunctory: “We have received your application and we will get back to you shortly.” Please know that we are sincere in our intention to respond to you soon, and that by receiving this acknowledgement, you can rest assured that you are in our system and have not been lost.
  3. For some positions, we are going to move fast to fill them and will respond more quickly. These will generally be the underwriters, contract file reviewers and loan analysts, as they are driven by immediate workload. For others, where we are looking for more experience or are filling a permanent position, we will take longer to get back to you. Please understand that the people who will be interviewing and selecting for those positions are not in an HR department; they are our line managers and staff, who are fitting job recruitment into their normal workload. We’re lean and mean in our current staffing, so that’s a big demand for them. Be patient.
  4. If you haven’t received a response after a week or two from when you submitted your resume, it is fair for you to feel like you should make an inquiry. I apologize for that, but with the volume we’ve seen in the past, if I were you, I’d want to check in and just be sure. E-mail is best. Send an inquiry to [email protected]. You can copy me at [email protected]. I won’t respond to you – that would be a full-time job! – but I will follow up with our manager of HR and make sure nobody falls through the cracks, and that someone responds to you.

Here are a few things you should know going in:

  1. Much of our current work is with the U.S. government and large, national banks. Both require very stringent background checks. Be prepared for that. Know, though, that we and our clients expect and understand that many have, themselves, encountered financial hardship in recent times, and that we may be able to find a position for you that does not require passing this clearance.
  2. If you know anything about us, you know that our company is passionate about mortgages and passionate about integrity. If you can express your own beliefs in those two areas, this will help us understand you and how you might fit into our culture.
  3. We have a very broad vision in our hiring practices. We believe that if we find the best and brightest, regardless of their experience, we will have a team that can learn anything and execute our strategy. We have no desire to repeat the hiring model of the past in our industry. We will continue to hire seasoned, experienced industry veterans who share our passion in reinventing the mortgage industry. We also will continue to take on unseasoned people. These include hard-working people who have put themselves through community college. We’d love to add even more team members who bring the wisdom of maturity, and not just in the supervisory positions. We have the ability to be somewhat flexible, as some of our work can be performed from home. We are open to whoever you are, if you are passionate about learning about our industry or already know and embrace our industry, as long as you have the ability and desire to be committed to delivering an absolutely unwavering level of integrity to our clients.
  4. Final note: know that we will hire the best people for the job. If you don’t have what we need, we won’t be able to hire you. I want to be clear about that. I know there is tremendous talent out there, with a strong desire to be employed. But we are only going to hire the people who are right for the job.

I wish you all the best in your job searches. Getting the hiring process right means a lot to me. And your willingness to read this lengthy diatribe on hiring processes is an indication that it’s important to you, too.

And thank you, Aldo, for writing an article that reminded me of my obligations as an employer.

PS: We will probably need some help processing resumes and responding to applicants. If that suits you, let us know.