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The bank that hires graduates using human beings

If you're struggling with the lack of human interaction when you're applying for graduate banking jobs that use Pymetrics tests and Hirevue interviews for the initial screening stages, a reprieve is at hand. Mizuho International, the Japanese investment bank in London, is sticking with human interviewers throughout its hiring process.

“What makes us different from a lot of other financial services firms is that we adopt a people-centric interview process which is not AI based,” says Jennifer Peters, head of people, talent and inclusion at Mizuho in London. “We see the interview as a two-way process – we want candidates to understand about Mizuho, to have an opportunity to ask questions about the roles they’re applying for, and to receive feedback.”

Graduates applying for jobs at major investment banks might like to receive the same degree of human attention, but big banks have automated their recruitment processes for a reason: they have hundreds and thousands of applicants. Goldman Sachs receives 250,000 applications; Deutsche has over 600 applicants per role. 

Mizuho’s graduate recruitment operation, by comparison, is much more diminutive. Peters says the number of people on the 2021 internship programme is unlikely to exceed 20. “We hire relatively small numbers compared to the bigger houses, but our candidates get much more exposure to senior staff and can progress more quickly. – Our size allows us to have a more flexible approach whereby high performers can progress quickly.”

It’s this exposure that helps make Mizuho’s programme popular. The Japanese bank ran a summer internship for the first time in 2020 (“We redesigned the internship very quickly and moved everything online,” says Peters) and received hundreds of applications for around 10 roles. This year, Peters says it’s already received 500+ internship and 1,000+ graduate applications, with applicant numbers expected to rise 50% by the time applications close.

With nearly 40 applicants per role, Mizuho could easily turn to automated recruitment tools. However, Peters says this is against its ethos: “We’re investing heavily in future talent, and we want this to be a two-way conversation. We know from candidates’ feedback that they really value the opportunity to meet our recruiters.”

Students applying to Mizuho can expect to answer some initial pre-screening questions after submitting their application. If they’re successful, they are then invited to a Zoom interview with a Mizuho recruiter where they can expect to answer competency-based interview questions based on Mizuho’s ‘pillars of success.’

“We look for potential over experience and value competencies where candidates can express multiple examples of varied and interesting extra-curricular activities,” says Peters. “We seek evidence of a curiosity to learn and self-develop in our candidates and how they can translate this to want to join our programmes.”

If the Zoom interview goes well, Mizuho’s candidates are invited to a Zoom-based assessment center. “We build in times for candidates to meet people who previously joined us at entry level,” says Peters. “All the way through, it’s about a two-way conversation.”

Peters says the bank is proud of its “traditional” recruitment process. Candidates “truly value the human feedback element we are able to provide.”

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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