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In this digital age, when it seems that people interact more with screens and devices than with each other, I believe that the human touch is still an essential ingredient in building rapport and trust. The human touch is especially important in creating a positive first impression. Trust is, of course, crucial for financial institutions, which literally hold the keys to people’s wealth and financial health.

You really get a sense of what an organization values most in the way that it hires people and how it treats them once they work there.

This point was really driven home recently by my experience being recruited and hired by Day Air Credit Union as their new Director of Marketing.

In response to my initial application, the hiring manager reached out to me by phone. We had a 20 minute screening interview by phone. About a week later, I was invited in for a panel interview with a group that included the CEO and the hiring manager. There, we chatted about the credit union in general, the role I applied to in particular, and how my experience qualified me to work here. During the interview I got the clear sense that these were people I’d like to work with and that I would be a good match for the role and the company’s values, and culture. Shortly after that in-person interview, we concluded the formal application process. The final step was an offer, which I accepted, of course!

Now, if you’ve been through a job search recently, you’ll recognize that this is not the usual process that most organizations use to hire people. In fact, what I experienced with Day Air is a welcome relief from the impersonal recruiting process that I’ve found most organizations use. Most of the time, in my experience, the first step in the process is to fill out a lengthy and exhaustive online application. Sometimes I’ve heard back from a person at the organization (usually a recruiter, almost never the hiring manager). But all too often I’ve heard back nothing at all. So my first impression of many organizations I’ve applied to is based on a computer screen: “I just gave them a lot of information about myself and heard back nothing. They must not care.”

I recognize several important facts about recruiting qualified employees.

First, it’s a daunting and complex process, in this day and age, for an organization to find the right people for the jobs they’re trying to fill. Recruiters are under enormous pressure to get the hiring process right. Recruiters must also comply with many federal, state, and local regulations affecting the hiring process. Given these and other factors, I suppose it’s very tempting to let the digital side take the lead to deal with the sheer volume of applications for a given position.

Second, the exact approach used by Day Air may not be practical or scalable for larger organizations. But the key principal is transferable: an organization can put a human face and human touch on what is too often a very impersonal process. This human touch can and will vary across organizations and cultures, but in the end, it’s what builds rapport and ultimately trust in an organization.

An organizational culture that is humane and considerate in the way it recruits and treats its employees – here, we’re “associates” – can also be trusted by its members, customers, and other constituents. That’s especially true of a financial institution like Day Air which exists to enhance its members’ financial well being.

How can your organization apply the human touch and build that crucial rapport and trust?

Michael Pells
Director of Marketing