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Six Tips for Hiring the Best and Brightest in Compliance

Finding qualified candidates to fill open jobs is a major problem for banking executives, especially for compliance functions.

This month, the US Chamber of Commerce published a report titled “Understanding America's Labor Shortage.” Data cited shows that there are 9.9 million job openings in the US today, but only 5.8 million unemployed workers.

One reason for the shortage? The Great Resignation, or a shift in attitudes of American workers after the pandemic hit. In the past few years, large numbers of employees quit jobs in search of more free time or to pursue new ambitions.

These trends are dovetailing with a recruitment challenge specific to compliance hiring within banks and credit unions.

Last year, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, or OCC, published a report underscoring the high stakes accompanying this shortage.

“A lack of access to subject-matter expertise,” says the OCC, “may result in increased compliance and operational risks, particularly if existing compliance processes, controls, testing, and training become subject to funding cutbacks or limitations, or if future compliance management program enhancements and maintenance are delayed.”

Improving Your Hiring Game

Employment of financial examiners is expected to grow at 18 percent annually through 2030—a much higher rate than for other industries, according to Robert Half’s interpretation of Bureau of Labor statistics.

Here are some ideas for finding the talent you need:

  • Advertise with care. Attracting a large pipeline of unqualified individuals is not the smartest way to go about recruitment. Instead, make sure that you create a detailed and accurate job listing so candidates understand your requirements, and those patently unsuited for a particular job will look elsewhere.

One way to write a strong job posting is to imagine an ideal candidate and then state the qualities he or she would possess.

Another increasingly relevant piece of advice is to include a salary range in your posting. This is particularly important when it comes to hiring younger workers. In its 2023 future workforce study, Adobe found that 85 percent of upcoming and recent grads would be less likely to apply for a job if no salary range is listed.

  • Use technology tools, including AI. The use of AI-based tools in workforce management is becoming more popular. These tools are very valuable, but it’s important to remember that algorithms can create biases in hiring—something to be avoided at all costs.

The moral of the story is to use AI and technology to augment your search techniques. Do not, however, outsource the process fully to an algorithm. Human intelligence and intuition remain critical to the process.

  • Make sure your employee value proposition appeals to your target audience. Why should employees choose your company over a competitor? Whatever your reasons, be sure to highlight them in job postings and on social media.

If competitive pay is your chief selling point, put that front and center. If instead you shine when it comes to benefits, list those prominently. Work-life balance and wellness perks (such as gym memberships and community service activities) may prove make or break to some jobseekers.

A 2022 survey by Deloitte found that the top reason Gen Zers, or those individuals born between 1997 and 2012, chose to work for their current employer was a good work/life balance (32 percent). This quality-of-life determination beat out high salary and other financial benefits at 24 percent.

  • Be flexible and consider offering remote or hybrid schedules. Since the pandemic, the opportunity to work from home one or more days a week has proven to be very enticing. If you can be flexible about where your compliance staffers perform their jobs, this is definitely worth highlighting.

  • Don’t rule out selection testing (it can be a time saver). Candidates for compliance positions are expected to possess specialized skills. One way of determining which applicants would be best is to administer a short screening test. Making sure that new hires have the level of knowledge necessary to perform well can be a win-win for everyone.

  • Keep your current employees happy. Hiring the right compliance specialists is a tall order. Many banks and credit unions are therefore taking steps to promote retention so they find themselves in this position less frequently.

One meaningful retention strategy is providing ample opportunities for career growth. Another is investing in programs to recognize employees for a job well done.

Finally, executives don’t always have a strong read on how their culture is perceived. Surveying your workforce is a good first step for finding out what’s making your employees happy and what needs to be changed.


Need staffing help? Our team of financial professionals and former regulators can help. Check out our Advisory Services and see how you can unlock an extra set of hands with RiskScout.


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