What Does Marketing Your Credit Union's Services and Hiring Great Tellers Have in Common?

By Christine Pena-Oquist

Your credit union’s marketing and human resource departments might have more in common than you think!

It's marketing.

Wait. What? Marketing is obviously part of selling an organization's services, but what does it have to do with hiring? In today’s job market, everything!

Gone are the days when it was considered wise to use the method of hiring that I was taught to expect as a high school student in the 1980’s. That painful process went something like this:


First, the hook for the best applicants was baited with a generic job listing in the local paper.

Then, the “biters” were sent on an obstacle course of arbitrary tasks that had to be performed exactly as described while avoiding all of the secret traps.

Yes, there were traps! (One cautionary tale I remember being told back in those days was about an employer who would put a can filled with an assortment of colored writing utensils out on a table next to his pile of applications. Then, without reading them, he promptly threw away any applications that were filled out with anything other than a black pen.)

Finally, at the end of this excruciating race, the favorite of the “survivors” was called and offered the job. However, if he or she missed the call, the second favorite might be called instead.

Meanwhile, the others were lucky to get a rejection letter a few weeks later. Though, some of the early losers might never hear back at all. Since this was before the age of cell phones, I'm sure you can imagine that most job hunts involved a nail-biting "camp out" near the telephone

True, choosing the right color ink to fill out a job application by hand is generally an obsolete job-hunting skill in our tech-driven world. The changes in the market, however, go much deeper than that. The biggest shift is not in tools but in power. Employers no longer hold all the power. They can no longer just dangle any old bait over a pool of captive applicants, treat the biters disrespectfully, and then expect great results.

Your first reaction might be that this power shifts between employers and job seekers depending on the state of the economy. While it’s true that the winds of the economy might cause some ripples on the surface of the job market, there is evidence that this power shift has gone much deeper into our modern work culture. Even during the struggling economy of 2012, a survey on CareerBuilder.com reported that 56% of employers admitted to having a job offer rejected by a candidate during the previous year.

The tide has truly changed. Applicants are more savvy, proactive, connected, and self-aware than ever before. They are doing a whole lot of research on prospective employers before they even apply, and sites like Glassdoor and Indeed are making this incredibly easy.

Even entry-level applicants are networking with each other. If you’ve ever been on a Facebook job posting site, you’ve probably witnessed discussions about which local fast food joints are the best to work for and why.

On a whim, I asked my teenage daughter about the employers in our town who hire the 16-18 crowd. Sure enough, she could tell me, without hesitation, which ones should be avoided at all costs! Then, she continued to break down which ones offer the best work environment, which ones offer the most flexible scheduling, and which ones pay the best. And, she hasn’t even started looking for a job yet!

Unless you want employees that couldn't get hired anywhere else to be the public face of your credit union and handle your member’s cash and sensitive data, you must take care to ensure that your institution is not perceived as the worst credit union to work for in town!

But wait, there’s even more to this marketing thing. Your public relations responsibilities aren’t just about finding and reeling in the right applicants. Your hiring process in and of itself has a public reputation for better or worse.

The opinions of applicants that you didn’t land also contribute to your institution’s reputation as an employer. According to one survey by CandEs.org, 65% of applicants would share negative hiring experiences with friends and family and 27% would go so far as to discourage others from applying. So, yes, clear, professional, and prompt communication with all applicants really does matter!

Here's one more thing to think about. What if your hiring practices also play a direct role in attracting business to your financial institution itself? Your human resource department’s reputation may be more far-reaching than you thought. According to one survey of 800,000 job seekers by CareerBuilder.com, 44% think less of companies that don’t respond during the application process and 32% are actually less likely to purchase a product from those companies in the future.

So what messages are your hiring practices sending about your credit union?

Hiring Professionals Can Learn A Lot From Their Friends In Marketing Cuhiring Pinterest