Do you expect your CV and contacts to get you a banking job? That’s so old school

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If you think you need an excellent CV to get a banking job, you’re probably right. However, the importance of your CV to the banking application process has already diminished and is only likely to decline more in future. Going to the right school also counts for less than it used to.

So said speakers at today’s CogX artificial intelligence conference in London. Whereas big employers (like banks and consulting firms) previously required no more than a CV and a cover letter as prerequisites to inviting candidates to interview, the recruitment process has now changed. Nowadays the CV is just the first stage in a long process that may, or may not, bring you into contact with a human being who likes your accent and went to your school. Algorithms now control hiring, and they have different priorities.

The new-look recruitment process means submitting a CV to be scraped by a tool that first looks for the requisite technical skills, said Frida Polli, co-founder and CEO of Pymetrics, a company that uses neuroscience-based games in the recruitment process. If you’ve got the right skills, you might be asked to play a psychometric game. If the game works out, you can expect a digital interview. Only if you jump through these hoops will you come into contact with a potential future colleague.

Banks are already inhabiting this new reality. JPMorgan has begun using Pymetrics’ games to recruit graduates this year and both JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs were among the early adopters of HireVue digital interviews. Bank of America today credited its own use of digital interviewing systems with its recruitment of the most diverse group of summer interns in the firm’s history.

By eliminating human bias from the earlier stages of the application process, artificial intelligence is making recruitment more meritocratic and bringing different sorts of people into organisations, said Hirevue chief technical officer Loren Larsen.

“The algorithm will start suggesting different kinds of people and you will only realize how great they are when you start working with them,” he said. At BofA, algorithms have brought in more women, and more non-caucasians, but Larsen and Polli said AI can also introduce neuro and social class-based diversity too.

Larsen said most HireVue clients have less human bias in their systems than might be expected. But he admitted that humans aren’t always keen on having their own decisions supplanted by algorithms. “People typically prefer AI to decisions made by another person, but they don’t prefer AI to their own judgement.”

Some clients are surprised when they see the poor scores candidates achieve in Hirevue interviews, said Larson. There’s a tendency to think, “They’re great, they went to the same school as me, so they’re great,” he says.

HireVue’s scoring system is demonstrating that this isn’t always the case. “We have the chance to go beyond [the sorts of candidates who have] been considered in the past,” said Larsen. Your CV still matters, albeit less. Your university and parents’ friends are rapidly diminishing in importance.

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