Jun 28 2018

Diving Headfirst into the (Applicant) Pool: How Employee Attraction Impacts Employee Retention

This report uses credit union human resources data to investigate the process of generating potential applicants, and identifies various conditions that result in hiring and retaining superior employees. The results provide practical insights for credit unions to use in recruiting quality candidates.

Sekou Bermiss
Sekou Bermiss
Assistant Professor of Management at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin
Samantha Darnell
Management Research Assistant, McCombs School of Business, University of Texas at Austin
Report Number 453

Executive Summary

Every organization has been both burned by a bad hire and fortunate enough to have that amazing employee who makes you want to say, “We’re so fortunate to have you.” Ensuring the right people are hired for the right position is arguably the most important job in an organization. The potential impact of recruitment on an organization’s hiring outcomes and overall performance can be far-reaching and is deserving of a credit union’s time and resources.

Fortunately, credit unions have a rarely used tool from which to gain insights and develop strategies for improving employee recruitment and selection: their own data. This report relies on a credit union’s human resources (HR) data to explore the elements that most affect credit union recruitment and retention. The goal is to gain a better understanding of the necessary factors for maximizing the number of successful employees hired by credit unions.

What Is the Research About?

There are three phases of recruitment to consider that fall between identifying a need for an employee and onboarding. Recruitment can be broken down into the following phases (Carlson, Connerley, and Mecham 2002):

1.Generating applicants

2. Retaining high-quality applicants throughout the application process

3. Getting the desired applicants to accept an offer

Although every step in the process is impactful, this report focuses on the first phase, generating applicants, and examines the downstream organizational effects of fluctuations in the size and quality of an applicant pool. An organization’s applicant pool is not fixed, and by understanding what forces could draw additional or higher-quality applicants, an organization can actively manage recruiting and other activities to strategically improve its applicant pool and beneficially impact overall recruiting outcomes.

Attracting, recruiting, and hiring employees is a costly process for credit unions, which makes retention a critical factor. From a base of extant research on applicant pools, we conducted an empirical investigation of the impact a credit union’s applicant pool has on employee retention.

What are the credit union implications?

What do credit union HR professionals think about this research? Betsy Sommers of Seasons Federal Credit Union discusses implications with Filene researchers. Listen to the podcast here:

Episode 41: Diving Headfirst Into the (Applicant) Pool


Filene thanks its sponsors for helping to make this research possible.