Interview Preparation and Planning Tips Part One: Create a Written Job Description

Written By: Stacey Sprain

I often struggle to find topics of interest for each week’s article because I want to offer something valuable for everyone out there. I realize that every single topic may not apply to every single industry professional, but it’s important to me that readers find my articles helpful and informative without the “bore factor.” I always commit to do my best to cover a wide range of topics that are of interest to processors, originators, underwriters and managers as well. As you have read from me over and over again, I am a huge advocate of education. I feel that anything I can pass on from my own experiences to help others is well worth my time.

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Fortunately, this week’s topic just came to me like a lightning bolt. I just happen to be working on something right now that I think many of you may find interesting and helpful. At this very moment, I am preparing for an onslaught of underwriting department interviews. Whether you have needs to interview underwriters, processors, assistants, loan officers, or other personnel, I think you’ll find my tips worth reading.

There are a number of things I feel absolutely have to be in place before you can expect any sort of organization and success with interviewing and hiring processes. The following questions correspond with the first step I work through when I find myself responsible for interviewing and rendering judgments on hiring:

1. What exactly am I/are we looking for in a candidate? What expectations must he/she be able to fulfill in the position I am interviewing to fill? What qualifications must be met? What kinds of experiences are required? Exactly what do we consider the responsibilities of the job in question? What education requirements need to be met? What challenges are present? Are there particular personal skills required to succeed in the position? Exactly how does the job relate to other persons/positions/departments within the company?

The best way to answer all of these questions in summarized format is to create a written job description. No person with interviewing and/or hiring authority should ever hire an employee without first presenting and reviewing a written job description outlining the position in question. On the other hand, no person should ever accept an offer of employment without first receiving, reviewing and acknowledging understanding of the same written job description.

Written Job Descriptions are crucial to both sides of the interviewing process for a number of reasons:

• They help to screen and eliminate potential persons who may in no way meet the minimum requirements of the job in question
• They help to establish standard expectations associated with the job in question
• They help to establish minimum education and experience requirements associated with the job in question
• They help to articulate the most important outcomes you need and expect from an employee performing the particular job
• They help to explain where each individual employee’s position fits within the structure of the department and overall company
• They help to establish the basic framework for employment evaluations and performance reviews
• They may offer legal protection in situations where termination may be necessary due to lower than expected and desired job performance

Before creating a written job description, I highly recommend using the web to search and locate sample job descriptions for review. Layouts may differ slightly, but for the most part, written job descriptions all contain the same basic information. Following are the standard components of a written job description:


Employment Position: Department:
Location: Reports To:

General Description/Overview of Position

Job Responsibilities

Required Qualifications

Required Experience


Special Skills

It’s best to gather feedback for your written job description from those persons within the organization who have first-hand knowledge of working in the actual position itself. In this case, I plan to consult with our existing underwriting staff for their advice and feedback. I think they can provide the most productive suggestions since they are already working the exact job we intend to hire additional staff for!

Tune in next week for Step Number Two: Creating Interview Questions and Script

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About The Author

Stacey Sprain - As an NAMP® staff writer, Ms. Stacey Sprain is currently a NAMP® member in good standing, and is a NAMP® Certified Ambassador Loan Processor (NAMP®-CALP). With over 15+ years of mortgage banking experience, Stacey is also a Quality Control Manager for a major mortgage lending institution. If you would like to become a volunteer writer for us, please email us at:




Opinion-Editorial (Op-Ed) Disclaimer For NAMP® Library Articles: The views and opinions expressed in the NAMP® Library articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect any official NAMP® policy or position. Examples of analysis performed within this article are only examples. They should not be utilized in real-world application as they are based only on very limited and dated open source information. Assumptions made within the analysis are not reflective of the position of NAMP®. Nothing contained in this article should be considered legal advice.