Scotiabank ditches resume requirements widening hiring pools for candidates

Gurjot Gill | Toronto

Outside Scotiabank. Courtesy of CP24

Gurjot Gill | Toronto

Scotiabank Headquarters Courtesy of

Canadians who are looking for internships, co-op and graduate placements no longer need a resumé to apply at Scotiabank.

As part of its campus hiring program, the Toronto-based bank removed the requirements and started using technological assessments from students in Waterloo, Ontario to help in the hiring process

They are also using the technology company, Plum, to help find talent and ease some barriers among population groups for employment. The goal is to find some untapped talent that may not have been found otherwise.

“(We’re) removing as much of that possible and giving a level playing field,” says James Spearing, Scotiabank’s vice-president of talent acquisition. “We are taking away any bias, which would be where did someone go to school, what jobs did they have before and what opportunities did they have or not have based on their upbringing or circumstances?”

Even though the requirements have been dropped Spearing notes that he won’t be penalizing people who include resumés in their application because writing one can help applicants in the long term. It can teach them how to review their own skills or market themselves to companies. But not requiring a CV allows Scotiabank to widen the talent pool while trying to maintain that more candidates are being looked at.

The bank decided to go away from resumés this past August in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic during what was a tight labour market

This decision has already increased the number of hires for people of colour and boosted retention rates.

Scotiabank recruiting event Courtesy of

In recent years, innovative technologies like personality tests and application assignments have been experimented with as recruitment methods. Executives of application websites Indeed and Glassdoor have urged companies to leave resumés behind during a time of worker shortages.

Even with the requests from executives, very few companies have been able to abandon resumés for their hiring process.

Plum is used by major business firms Deloitte, Hyundai and Canada’s national defence but none of these companies has dropped the resumé requirements.

This experiment started with around 1000 internship roles and 250 co-op placement spots.  These are happening during recruitment events that can include sponsorships, coffee chats and business overview sessions.

The recruitment team and Plum platform determine what the most important requirements are for the roles that need filling. They can include an applicant’s ability to execute projects, ability to create innovative solutions to problems and how goals are being set up.

Applicants are now required to complete a Plum assessment that targets requirements using situational questions, personality tests and problem-solving.

Recruiters get a score that is indicated by an applicant’s potential fit for the specific role they are looking for while applicants receive information on their preferences, talent and work style.

This information is then taken and used to see who is hired or interviewed. This approach is used to help get talent from networks outside of their usual network.

However, Plum’s assessments can take around 25 minutes to complete but Scotiabank has already seen the benefits of using this software for over a year.

In the first year, the platform has helped recruit people from over 30 post-secondary institutions.

In the Campus program, minorities make up over 60 percent of recruits with women representing 50 percent of hires. The retention rate of new employees has risen over 20 percent since pre-launch.

Spearing notes that they are not finished even though there has been success with the program so far. “We still have work to do to show the longer-term benefits”

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