CUs Search for Hire Power

Reduce employee turnover by finding the best people and getting the most out of them.

August 09, 2011
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Joe Sefcik believes the most common mistake credit unions make when seeking new hires is not realizing the best sequence that will lead to the fewest hiring errors.

The best sequence, he says, “places objective and unbiased screening tools early in the selection process—before involving personal contact and emotions,” says Sefcik, founder/president of Employment Technologies Corp. “Early interaction can inadvertently inject biases that lead to hiring mistakes. By using the most objective and accurate screening tools first, credit unions can reduce potential bias and human error, and make better hiring decisions.”

Employment Technologies Corp. specializes in employment simulations, which combine advanced technology with realism. They also give candidates a realistic preview of a job’s functions and employers insight into job candidates’ future performance.

“Employment simulations create a virtual workplace where applicants can interact with members and co-workers and perform actual job tasks,” Sefcik explains. “When you hire an employee, what better way is there to predict how that person will interact with your real members once they’re on the job?”

He says simulations are more engaging than traditional tests. “It’s not just words on paper or on a screen. Simulation immerses them in how the job works, and it calls for on-the-spot responses. It’s perfectly aligned with today’s digital world.”

Tellers, for example, need good service and people skills. Simulations engage applicants in what successful tellers do: handling cash, using product information to up-sell and cross-sell, using account histories, and relating to members. Detailed reports are instantly available showing information such as:

  • How many cash handling errors they make;
  • Customer service and sales aptitude;
  • Keystrokes, navigation, and multitasking abilities; and
  • Time to complete. The simulation stops automatically if candidates exceed the 45-minute time limit.

Sefcik says simulations help prevent “faking,” where people select the answer they think employers most want to see. “If you’re taking a traditional teller test, you know the credit union is looking for answers that convey friendliness and attention to detail, so you give responses that suggest you have those qualities. But with simulation, you can’t fake it—you have to perform.”

Not choosing job candidates wisely leads to low performance and high employee turnover costs. Sefcik says a typical credit union will spend 25% to 50% of the cost of a teller’s annual salary to replace that person. That includes costs for recruiting, training, evaluating, and lost productivity.

Sefcik likens employment simulations to what would-be pilots undergo. “They show who can, and they show who cannot. The goal is to give you the most effective person for the job, not somebody who says all the right things but can’t perform.”

Next: Managing performance

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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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