Culture and Talent

In a tight market for talent, banks are looking to ‘match’ candidates with talent profiles

  • Banks are employing a more targeted approach to find candidates with the right mix of skills.
  • Targeting includes marketing of job posts in addition to a focus on specific behavioral traits that align with characteristics of top employees.

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In a tight market for talent, banks are looking to ‘match’ candidates with talent profiles

For banks, finding new employees is becoming increasingly difficult, given the competition for talent with startups and large tech companies. From how they market themselves to the selection process itself, banks are going the extra mile to find the right people.

One way is to use behavioral profiling. Some banks, including Deutsche Bank and Citi, are using Koru, a platform that is part of a pre-screening process when a job candidate applies online. Instead of looking at personality traits, it targets what it calls “impact skills,” or behavioral traits linked to actions. These include grit, ownership, curiosity, polish, teamwork, rigor and impact. It takes the form of a questionnaire based on experiences or skills built through previous jobs or personal activities like a recreational sports team. “It’s about how you react in different scenarios — for example, do you prefer to solve a hard problem with an Excel spreadsheet or do you prefer to meet with a team and solve it with a white board?,” said Josh Jarrett, co-founder of Koru.

Using information provided during the online pre-screening interview and the candidate’s training and experience, Koru is able to create a holistic profile of the candidate. Using machine-learning tehcnology, Jarrett said it’s able to compare them with profiles of high-performing employees within the company to determine if there is a match. Jarrett said the banks are into their third recruitment cycle using the technology to find candidates.

koru-resizedKoru sample question

Citi, which has been using the software for over a year, said it’s a way to attract and retain junior talent.

“Koru is helping us to better understand the non-quantitative attributes that can predict which applicants will succeed at Citi and stay with the firm for a longer period of time,” said Citi spokesman Robert Julavits. He added that the platform lets the bank test a candidate’s attributes alongside what he called Citi’s existing “fingerprint,” or those attributes many of its successful employees display.

Deutsche Bank would not comment for this story, but Jarrett said that what struck him was that candidate attributes that correlated with success at one bank may not necessarily apply to other ones.

“There are some table stakes, but the profiles may be 50 percent shared [between institutions] and may be 50 percent unique to the culture or clientele,” he said. “The types of things that make you successful at Deutsche Bank are different from those at Citi.”

For JPMorgan Chase, marketing to new graduates online is an important way to lure them, with social media videos and webcasts designed to guide prospects through the recruitment process or get a glimpse of the culture of the firm.  “Candidates’ consumption behaviors have changed over the years — it’s social first and social focused,” said Katy Fitzpatrick, executive director in charge of Chase’s campus and lateral recruitment marketing efforts.

At Wells Fargo, ad targeting is important part of the job posting process.

“Traditional job boards and help wanted ads have been replaced by pay per click media and contextual targeting,” said Aaron Kraljev, Wells Fargo employer brand manager. He added that hiring managers need to know where to find their ideal candidates before even thinking about posting an opening.

For the executive searches, recruiters say banks are increasingly looking to other fields.

“Ten years ago, it was more about how the employee was going to fit into their box, but banks are being more flexible and creative,” aid Doug Rickert, vp of Robert Half Financial Services. Part of this includes recruiting from other industries.

Banks are also putting more weight on prospective senior leaders’ work products in addition to their resumes, said Brad Warga, a principal at executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles’ San Francisco office. “Companies can look to work products to hire people so that they’re not basing decisions on pedigree but really evaluating them based on their coding, data science abilities and even investment performance.”








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