Doreen Rizopoulos is the national recruiter for the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), an independent federal agency created by Congress that insures deposits at federally-insured credit unions, protects members who own credit unions, and charters and regulates federal credit unions.
Born and raised in New York, Rizopoulos earned a Bachelor of Arts and pursued a professional career in financial services. In 2009, she was recruited by a financial regulatory agency to launch a national recruitment initiative and has since served in a variety of recruitment roles at several federal government agencies. Rizopoulos joined the NCUA in 2022 to lead the agency’s first national recruitment effort.
Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you came to work for the NCUA?
A: Before my federal government career, I had my own executive search practice in New York focused on the sell-and buy-side equity research and investment banking sectors. While attending a career event hosted by a local chartered financial analysis chapter to recruit members for my clients, a presentation from a financial regulatory agency caught my attention. I told the speaker that I found his presentation compelling. He responded by saying, “I’m an accountant. No one has ever told me that anything I’ve said is compelling.” We both had a laugh.
He asked me about my work and said his agency could benefit by having a targeted recruitment initiative—an uncommon approach in federal government hiring. We stayed in touch, and after two years of meetings and interviews, I was offered a position in Washington, D.C. to stand up the agency’s first targeted recruitment initiative. I was honored to be presented with the opportunity to serve our country.
Over the next 11 years, I stood up and managed national recruitment initiatives at two more federal agencies. During that time, I frequently heard that the National Credit Union Administration was considered one of the best places to work and consistently scored high on the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey. I am thrilled to serve as the NCUA’s first national recruiter.
Q: In your role as a national recruiter, what do you find most challenging in accomplishing the agency’s recruitment goals?
A: Time and balance. There are many steps to recruitment, and the clock is always ticking. In addition to the typical activities associated with recruitment, such as research, outreach and representing the agency at events, I have budget, reporting and training responsibilities. It’s important to keep them in balance and reprioritize appropriately.
Q: Why do you feel recruitment is such an important component of the NCUA mission?
A: The NCUA can only be successful in accomplishing its mission—protecting the system of cooperative credit and its member-owners through effective chartering, supervision, regulation and insurance—with the right team of employees with the right skills in the right place. Without recruitment, we would be largely dependent on potential candidates actively seeking our job opportunities. In most instances, those with specialized skill sets are in demand, employed or not actively seeking another opportunity. Our recruitment program enables us to identify and contact ideal candidates, and in some cases recruit a passive candidate to an applicant. Our targeted recruitment approach allows us to tap diverse networks for potential candidates representing a broad segment of society.
Q: What does a successful national recruitment program look like?
A: Putting the right people in the right position. Doing this benefits the employee, the agency and our external stakeholders.
Q: What advice would you give to someone who wants to build a successful recruitment program at their organization?
A: A successful recruitment program includes support from the organization’s leadership, an assessment of your organization’s short- and long-term needs, an appropriate budget and a recruitment strategy. Your strategy should include engagement with stakeholders to determine staffing needs as well as assisting with defining roles and responsibilities and identifying where to source external talent. The strategy should also include recruitment from within—institutional knowledge goes a long way.
Know your organization’s reputation and capitalize on the positive. Build a strong employer brand. Utilize social media. Track your recruitment activities, including your successes and challenges, to ensure program sustainability.