Do you want a job in an investment bank? In particular, do you want a graduate job in an investment bank, where applicants can exceed places by a ratio of 45:1 (at Goldman Sachs), or even 750:1 (allegedly, for front office intern positions in IBD at Bank of America)? Until now, banks have trawled through their masses of applicants by sifting them on the basis of academic credentials, performance in a numeracy test and - if successful in the previous two challenges - a telephone interview. Only candidates who make it through the telephone interview are invited for an interview face-to-face.
Now, a new firm is pushing a technology which could make banking interviewers more remote still at the initial phase - but may be good for candidates nonetheless.
Developed by LaunchPad recruits, a video interviewing and screening company whose investors include Damien Regent, the former head of credit trading at UBS, the technology allows employers to programme their written interview questions into an online system. Interviewees log into the system and record their answers in front of a webcam so that recruiters can view responses at their leisure.
Kirstie Kelly, director of sales and marketing at LaunchPad, said financial services is a key target market. "Banks are starting to look at motivations and culture fit far earlier in the hiring process. It's much easier to deduce these from a visual interview than from CV screening or a telephone call," she said. Whereas previously, employers would make hiring decisions based on hard CV data and qualifications, automated video screening allows for more nuanced impressions at an early stage. Kelly argues that it's also more 'high touch' than a telephone interview and isn't impersonal at all.
So far, LaunchPad has one financial services client, Axa, but Kelly is hopeful that more will sign up for the coming graduate recruitment round. In the long term, she predicts that the technology could spread beyond graduate hires and be used for experienced recruitment in banks too: "It's a good way of getting someone quickly in front of key decision-makers globally, without requiring them to travel or arranging specific interview times," she added.
Candidates can undertake trial automated interviews by visiting LaunchPad's demo site here. Kelly advises that people undertake some trial interviews before the real thing - you can't practice with real interview questions, but you can accustom yourself to preparing an answer within 30 seconds and delivering it to your webcam in a professional manner.
LaunchPad doesn't allow you to pause or overwrite recordings, meaning that errors are preserved prosperity. Kelly said there have been many silly things caught on camera but declined to say what they entailed. "It's very important to our clients that we can ensure complete confidentiality and prevent, for example, videos with mistakes from going viral."