The Biggest Roadblock to Hiring the Best Candidate (and how to get around it)

Have you checked the unemployment rate recently? We’ve gone from 4.9% unemployment to 5.5% unemployment in a quarter, which suggests a fairly robust market.  At least, that’s the 10,000 ft view from our candidate traffic helicopter we call the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.  But, what does that really mean at the street level — for your bank and your team?

We have the opportunity of talking with clients and candidates from coast to coast.  Interestingly enough, every bank we talk to is feeling the same frustration — as the economy begins to get better, they have a mandate to grow, but finding a qualified candidate seems to be next to impossible.

Where is this roadblock coming from, and how can you get around it?  Once you hear what the qualified candidates are saying, you’ll better understand the major shift in the way candidates think about new job opportunities in banking.

The biggest roadblock may come as no surprise: the fear of instability.  As a candidate in Tennessee recently confided, “No matter what frustrations I’m feeling here, I’m always worried I’ll go to a bank that will end up selling in a year or two, and I might be right back in the same situation.  “The devil you know is better than the angel you don’t.”  This is a common fear among community bankers, but it’s also felt among candidates from larger institutions thinking about making a move into regional and community banking.

Many candidates who were in banking at the time the Recession hit know this fear better than anyone.  The fear of going somewhere that is a great culture fit, only to be absorbed by a bank with a totally different culture; or worse, displaced after an acquisition that turns into a never ending string of not being able to settle into the right job.

Of course, there is no company out there that can promise it isn’t for sale; however, for the majority of banks, selling is not even on the radar screen.  Simply articulating this point to a candidate makes a difference.

This is something most hiring managers take for granted, so it’s rarely addressed at any stage of the hiring process.  The concern of job stability, if consistently addressed head-on in the first interaction, will remove the largest roadblock preventing many candidates from even getting on the road.

Suddenly, that mandate to continue growing your market with top quality candidates will become much more possible.