Why fewer college grads are applying to banks

Written by By Kara Krukowski, CNN

The preference for a college education tends to be tied to salary: The higher the school, the more likely you are to earn more money.

That might not be entirely true when it comes to university admissions.

Scotiabank is the latest major to lean more heavily on new graduate hiring, instead of relying on resumés to determine if a candidate is a good fit.

The financial services firm has joined a growing number of corporations that have realized that new graduates are increasingly turning down the resume route in favor of new job platforms that make it easier to find the perfect candidate.

“We’ve been making this transition for years,” said Jarrett McCarthy, CIO at Scotiabank. “We’re looking to be more responsive to the people who want to work at Scotiabank. This new process emphasizes quality over quantity.”

Scotiabank revamped its shortlisting process to favor candidates based on their knowledge of technology, rather than their experience. The bank says that, once they find the candidate that’s right for them, they’ll go for a second interview with the candidate in an hour, giving both parties more time to discuss an employer’s issues. (The time constraint was implemented after Scotiabank employees said they’d be wary of joining a team where they didn’t feel valued by managers.)

“There are currently about 1,200 digital roles we’re looking to fill across the company,” McCarthy said. “We’re tracking very, very well with that goal.”

One of those roles is the director of data science, in which the bank is looking for a candidate with a background in computer science, mathematics and analytics. If this candidate is hired, they will receive a stipend of $50,000 as part of the job.

One key factor for recruiting is also being more proactive. At Scotiabank, candidates can add their own goals, values and aspirations to a list on the bank’s campus hiring website. These goals can also be listed on LinkedIn and shared with recruiters before the start of a recruiter’s round of phone interviews.

As Scotiabank’s increased digital focus has grown, so too has the number of potential candidates.

“We’ve gained quite a number of candidates that we probably wouldn’t have had,” McCarthy said.

The bank isn’t the only large corporation looking to diversify who they work with in their hiring practices. Others include Facebook, Goldman Sachs, Mastercard, and SapientRazorfish.

McCarthy said he believes that the more digital and tech-minded the work that candidates apply for, the better match they’ll be with the bank.

“This is someone who knows our company and who has a familiarity with our work,” he said. “We want someone who’ll embrace the digital journey that we’re on and bring their skills and experience to it.”

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