Friday, May 20, 2022

Fake job searches for diversity at Wells Fargo

I think we're all familiar with the "fake job search", where a candidate has been pre-determined, and yet the formal process of a job search takes place. I've actually taken the trouble of naming these as "coffee parrots", and I find myself identifying academic versions of them on a regular basis. 

There are also the private industry versions of these fake job searches. Via the New York Times, here's a rather offensive version of them: 

For many open positions, employees would interview a “diverse” candidate — the bank’s term for a woman or person of color — in keeping with the bank’s yearslong informal policy. But Mr. Bruno noticed that often, the so-called diverse candidate would be interviewed for a job that had already been promised to someone else...

...Don Banks, 31, a Black wealth manager living in Monroe, La., was contacted by Wells Fargo twice before he was hired. In 2016 and 2017, a human resources representative from the bank told Mr. Banks that he had advanced past an initial interview round for a financial adviser trainee position and would be getting a call from a manager. Both times, no one called.

Mr. Banks had been submitted to fake interviews, according to a former employee who was a manager in the area where Mr. Banks had applied, and who participated in the hiring process involving Mr. Banks’s application. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because he still works in the industry.

Mr. Banks was eventually hired in 2018 by Wells Fargo in a more junior position. Two years later, he was laid off during cutbacks in the pandemic.

It seems to me that the fellow in the story (Mr. Bruno) had the right idea around recruiting candidates of color (i.e. specifically reaching out to professional associations for those groups.*) Fake job interviews are definitely the wrong idea. 

*a reminder that NoBCChe and SACNAS are both excellent organizations 


  1. I know for a fact that Merck does the fake interview thing. I know a manager who was frequently in the position of wanting to make a temporary contractor full-time, and was forced by HR policy to advertise the position and waste the time of external interviewees who had no chance at the job.

    1. I can confirm this also happens at Thermo Fisher Scientific and two of the Danaher subsidiaries (Beckman Coulter and Cepheid). I imagine it happens throughout all of the Danaher subsidiaries though.

  2. So this is the industry version of gaming the Rooney Rule, basically.


looks like Blogger doesn't work with anonymous comments from Chrome browsers at the moment - works in Microsoft Edge, or from Chrome with a Blogger account - sorry! CJ 3/21/20