Man looking at two computer monitors
Graphic that shows three different types of interview questions you should be asking.

Use these questions to identify a candidate’s technical knowledge and abilities

Use these questions to determine how a candidate handled situations in the past

Use these questions to assess a candidate’s personal traits and cognitive skills

Why this matters:

Loan officers see both qualified and unqualified loan applicants and must be able to quickly evaluate debt-to-income factors, creditworthiness, and other loan criteria to determine whom to approve. To accurately make this assessment, it’s imperative that your loan officer understands the intricacies—and is clear on how to apply your particular lending criteria, including what to do when it might be a close call.

What to listen for:

  • Awareness of the loan process, including the various factors that play into approval.
  • Answers may also bring up the kinds of loans they have encountered most frequently, which allows the candidate to show the extent of their experience by example.

Why this matters:

The candidate should be able to list situations in which they’ve worked directly with specific loan types, and show their experience as it relates to the job. Loan officers can often be seen as sales professionals; having full knowledge of the various loans available will better equip them to represent your products—and match them with client needs.

What to listen for:

  • A breadth of knowledge of the various types of loans available, including specific examples and signs of comprehensive industry experience.
  • An interest in learning about other loan types beyond their past experience.

Why this matters:

A referral network is one of a loan officer’s most useful tools, as it allows them to draw in business from connections with real estate agents and others in the community. A solid network can also attest to their interpersonal skills, as it is a clear indicator that people are interested in doing business with them.

What to listen for:

  • Details of their biggest or most successful accounts, as well as a description of any repeat referrals that would follow them to the new position.
  • Candidates may also bring up any professional organizations to which they belong that may be a source of new business.

Why this matters:

Loan officers interact with a variety of clients every day, and good loan officers are able to be empathetic and sincere, while also being business-minded. A candidate’s answer here allows them to showcase both interpersonal and customer service skills.

What to listen for:

  • Listen for indications that the candidate has strong communication skills–including the ability to deliver bad news in a tactful way.
  • Answers should also attest to the candidate’s business acumen, showing their loyalty to the organization and its policies.

Why this matters:

All client-facing professionals, including loan officers, have dealt with upset or irate clients and applicants from time to time. While customer service can be easy with happy clients, this question allows the applicant to showcase how they would resolve a more stressful situation, while maintaining a professional demeanor.

What to listen for:

  • Signs that the candidate can maintain composure in a stressful situation and evidence of positive customer service skills with a solution-oriented approach.
  • Answers that make it clear that the candidate recognizes their position as a representative of their employer.

Why this matters:

Often, a loan officer will have several loan applications and client meetings to juggle at once, making it necessary to have an organized approach to their work. The ideal candidate will be able to manage a heavy workload with poise, without dropping any balls.

What to listen for:

  • The ability to multitask and remain focused on deadlines, while also realizing the impact their efficiency can have for both the bank and the client.
  • Candidates may also use this question to describe their organization tactics.

Why this matters:

Since motivated loan officers are instrumental in client satisfaction, it is important to understand the candidate’s drive and desire for growth. The candidate may have also had other experiences that led them to the role, which can complement the position or organization. 

What to listen for:

  • Top answers will show a keen interest in the industry, with specific examples, as well as a desire to grow within the role and in the organization.
  • Unclear and unmotivated answers can be seen as a red flag.

Why this matters:

While loan officers work extensively with clients, they also hold more senior roles within the organization itself. Qualified candidates will want to show their ability to grow and improve the institution, while working closely with team members to increase knowledge in the office as a whole.

What to listen for:

  • Leadership and management skills or experience, as well as an ability to train team members.
  • Answers may also describe a situation in which the candidate mentored a younger or less experienced team member, indicating their past leadership experience.

Why this matters:

A loan officer must pay close attention to detail, because they are often receiving sensitive information—and handling large sums. An ideal candidate is mindful of the quality of their work, and has tried-and-true methods to make sure their finished product protects client privacy—and remains free of any compliance issues.

What to listen for:

  • An answer describing established methods of efficiency and accuracy, and a candidate who understands the importance of the quality of their work.
  • Evidence that the candidate is accustomed to detail-oriented work.