Human Resources

Hire the Right People: Eight Tips

In a tough marketplace defined by intense competition and razor-thin margins, your people are everything.

January 01, 2007
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In a tough marketplace defined by intense competition and razor-thin margins, your people are everything. After all, competitors can steal your ideas, copy your products, and go after your members, but they can't replicate the people who make your credit union work.

Your employees are the innovators who come up with the next big idea that keeps your credit union a step ahead of the rest. That's why it's so critical to hire the right people, says Ruth Haag, author of "Hiring and Firing: Book Three," the third book in a four-part series entitled, "Taming Your Inner Supervisor."

Haag advises employers to follow two main principles:

  • Realize you can't identify the right person, but you can screen out the wrong person; and
  • Low performers can destroy your culture and, ultimately, your company.

"Hiring and Firing" offers the following tips to help you navigate the hiring process and find better employees:

1. Set clear hiring goals. Before placing a want ad or conducting the first interview, know exactly what you want in a new employee, both experience and work ethic. Goals will help you week out those who don't fit your credit union.

2. Hire only after conducting a thorough interview. Interviews let you assess whether candidates lack skills, knowledge, and attitude necessary to perform the job. Don't hire everyone and let the training sort them out.

3. Ask the right questions. Learn all you can about the person's training, job experience, and work ethic. Keep the person's personal life out of the interview. Explain what you want out of the person you hire and let the interviewee decide whether his or her personal life will accommodate that.

4. Read the resume. Look for red flags, such as gaps in employment, job hopping, or inappropriate presentation.

5. Don't make it seem like a candidate already has the job. Inexperienced interviewers may commit this sin out of nervousness, or experienced interviewers may jump the gun because they like a certain candidate. Tell the candidate you'll call in a few days so you have time to think about your options.

6. Ask about a candidate's past work experiences. Listen closely to what the person says. You might discover that some claims don't add up.

7. Don't base your hiring decision on a reference check. Most references aren't completely forthright.

8. Beware too much concern about money. This may carry over into the job. Look for people who are enthusiastic about what they bring to the table and about professional growth.

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Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory ( will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

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