Staff personality fits are critical to a credit union’s overall success, but how do you gauge an individual’s unique characteristics on the basis of a resume and a few short interviews? Don’t let first impressions fool you. Learn how to spot fakes and properly assess behaviors early on in the hiring process.

I’m always intrigued when people respond to identical situations in startlingly different ways. Some don’t hesitate to push back when pushed, while others willingly retreat. Skeptics question everything. Believers have no doubts. Introverts, extroverts, rebels, diplomats, leaders, followers, opportunists and procrastinators all find their way into this world.

But what happens when they all find their way into your credit union?

  • How do you manage such starkly contrasting personalities?
  • Do you really know who’s who?
  • Can you spot fakers?

Hiring new employees and managing existing credit union personnel can be a painstakingly hit-or-miss process when you can only guess at a person’s specific needs, expectations, traits and motivators. How can you confidently bring a new employee on board when all you have to go by is a well-polished resume, a friendly interview and, perhaps, some very flattering testimonials from your candidate’s “excellent” – but likely also very biased – references? Unwittingly hiring an outwardly friendly but inwardly passive person to aggressively develop commercial business or bring in new members will almost always prove disastrous. And taking on a less-than-meticulous teller is sure to be an expensive mistake.

Candidates may look the part, sound the part and seem so accomplished you become convinced they’re perfect for the job. However, the frustrating reality is that some of these applicants know all too well how to play the interview game and will not hesitate to improvise, stretch the truth, guess, charm or even flat-out lie when they must. Too often it’s what you think you see that you don’t get; a common complaint of hiring managers is that their new employee seemed so promising at first, only to then start exhibiting inappropriate behavior, decreased productivity, an increasing amount of ineptitude or some gut-wrenching combination of all of these!

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