Community bankers often assume their limited budgets keep them out of the running for top-flight technology workers. But Ronald P. Selewach begs to differ.

Mr. Selewach, founder of Tampa, Fla.-based Human Resource Management Center Inc., said community bankers are in position to attract excellent technology talent if they properly promote the advantages of working for a smaller company.

They also must learn to search in the right places.

Mr. Selewach, who led a human resources discussion at a Bank Administration Institute technology conference in Nashville last month, said community bank human-resource departments typically rely on job fairs or help wanted ads. These avenues may fill positions, but they usually will fail to attract the cream of the crop.

Landing top technologists requires approaching workers who are currently employed, Mr. Selewach said. He encouraged community bankers to view trade shows as possible recruiting venues.

Community banks, "have to stop fishing out of same pond," as everyone else, said Mr. Selewach.

He added that community bankers should dispense with kicking off a recruitment effort by requesting a resume. The best tech workers are accustomed to getting job interviews and offers without one, and requiring one may hurt a bank's chances.

"Top performers don't need resumes," Mr. Selewach said. "If a company makes it a condition to send a resume, then they won't hear from the best."

Once a qualified tech professional is identified, bankers must focus on building a relationship. "Engage them in conversation, include them on mailing lists, ask them for opinions, engage them in getting involved in the business even though they are not employees," Mr. Selewach said. "By doing that, you're beginning to build a relationship and building a pipeline of future relationships."

If there's a bite, community bankers must use their workplace advantages to reel the candidate in. One advantage is that community banks typically are more flexible than larger counterparts, Mr. Selewach said, and can tailor a job offer to the candidate's particular life situation.

"Community banks have a more flexible environment," Mr. Selewach said, "even to point where [workers] might accept a lower salary."

Banks that follow these pointers should find it easier to staff a top-notch IT department, Mr. Selewach concluded.

"[It's] not difficult if community banks do it correctly."

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