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Four tips for hiring, and keeping, the best job candidates

February 13, 2018

By: Debbie Hogue for the Bellingham Business Journal | The Bellingham Business Journal
Debbie Hogue - Talent Acquisition Manager
Debbie Hogue - Talent Acquisition Manager

I don’t know about you, but I like to be continuously learning. I’m always challenging myself to grow. I’ve spent more than 20 years in retail banking, and recently decided I wanted to try something new. After taking an executive development program course, I was approached by the human resources director who said, “Hear me out, you might be a good fit for our department.”

Even though I don’t have a traditional HR background, my new position has been a dream, because it’s everything I enjoy doing – interacting with people and finding out what they want and need to thrive. Here’s what has worked for us at Peoples Bank when looking to hire — and, most importantly, retain — employees who are fulfilled and give their very best to the organization and our customers.

Think outside the box: I believe in promoting and hiring from within, even if the candidate may not have the exact skill set match. What’s more important is that they are a good fit for our culture. My manager demonstrated this firsthand — she took a chance on me even though I had no prior human resources experience. But she also knew I was a hard worker and a quick learner. I believe we can always train someone for the job, but the soft skills – like an employee’s attitude or dedication – are sometimes the more important criteria to evaluate.

Understand your employees: It’s critical for organizations to know what’s important to their employees. Is it paid time off to attend family events or for community service? Is flextime important? While compensation matters, I’ve found that it’s not often the primary motivator for attracting and retaining employees. That’s why we assess our benefits many times throughout the year to ensure we’re aligning with what employees are asking for. For us, that includes team-building events, a popular wellness program, and paid time off for personal and community commitments. I always ask candidates I’m interviewing, “What’s the one thing you need in a work environment to be successful?” We seek people who value and fit well in a positive environment, and we’re always looking at new ways to provide this. Read more...