National Bank Focuses On the ‘Whole Package’ When Recruiting

At the National Bank of Canada, CEO Real Raymond and the board of directors recognize business success depends on a staff that reflects the community and can better help the bank serve increasingly diverse markets.

As such, the bank’s department for employment equity and diversity, in collaboration with the recruiting and talent development department, are working together to bring talent forward.

Staff from the department visit immigrant-serving organizations to coach newcomers on the bank’s job application process. They give advice on resumé writing and how to position their skills. Applying online is emphasized because this is not necessarily a traditional application method in other countries.

The bank has also expanded its recruitment strategies — attending job fairs in Quebec and advertising jobs on its own website, at universities and through immigrant-serving organizations. The goal is to increase the bank’s applicant pool, and in doing so, get managers familiar with different cultures and contexts of experience.

The bank selects staff based on “the whole package” — prior experience (wherever that experience was gathered), technical knowledge and personality — and managers are trained to ask behavioural questions that will highlight skills and use consistent, bias-free interview questions.

Managers are also trained to spot valuable experience that might not be obvious on a resumé, with phone interviews being an integral part of the bank’s recruiting process. As interviewers run through questions on the phone, they often discover valuable experience that wasn’t obvious on paper.

The bank also runs leadership training forums in which diversity practices are embedded as they apply to pre-selection, integration, promotion and retention.

Tips for Employers

  • Participate in information sessions at immigrant-serving organizations to improve the quality of applicants you receive from these organizations.
  • Use phone interviews and train managers to ask behavioural-based questions to find  valuable experience that might not be obvious on a resumé.

The National Bank of Canada has been a social and economic force for over 140 years. It is Canada’s sixth largest bank, with close to $84 billion in assets, 500 branches across Canada and 18,000 employees.

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