Back in the days of Bob Diamond, Barclays had a ‘no jerks rule.’ Under Diamond, jerks were trapped in the mesh of an incredibly detailed four hour interview process designed to identify disagreeable personality traits. The process wasn’t infallible: several jerks slipped through the net and went on to perpetrate the LIBOR and FX fixing scandals.
Nowadays, therefore, it seems that Barclays is trying a different tack.
We understand from recruiters that the bank is routinely putting experienced junior hires through automated ‘ethics and values tests’ at the final stages of their interviews. Graduate hires at Barclays are also expected to participate in an ethics test during the first stage of the bank’s application process.
Barclays declined to comment on its new jerk exclusion mechanisms. However, it wouldn’t be the only finance-related firm to examine student applicants’ ethical behaviours from the start. Big Four accountancy firms like PWC ask students to complete ‘situational judgement tests’ which examine individuals’ decision-making processes in ethically complex situations.
Waitrose is also known to screen applicants using ethics-related questions at the first stage of the application process. The company was recently named as the UK’s ‘most ethical supermarket’, so Barclays is in good company.