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Ways Korea Inc. hires recruits keep changing

Mar 14,2018
Another season of spring recruitment has begun as new graduates leave classrooms and hope for a place in Korea’s saturated job market. Conglomerates are hoping to make this season’s biannual recruitment process fairer and more effective through revamped exams, blind recruitment and AI-powered document screening.

Hyundai is no longer requiring applicants to write essays on a topic in Korean history for the HMAT, or the Hyundai Motor Group Aptitude Test, starting this recruitment season. Hyundai and other major Korean conglomerates require applicants to take written tests created by the company before calling them in for interviews. The HMAT is scheduled for April 8 this year.

“Contrary to our original objective,” a Hyundai spokesman explained, “we realized that there were unwanted social side effects like the use of private tutors to prep for the essays.”

Samsung Group decided to get rid of the general knowledge questions in the GSAT, or the Global Samsung Aptitude Test, which were mostly about Korean and world history. Now the GSAT, scheduled for April 15, will only ask questions on reading comprehension and vocabulary, quantitative data interpretation and logical reasoning including visual and numerical pattern completion.

“We made the change because applicants were put under great pressure because the range of the general knowledge questions was too broad,” a Samsung spokesman said.

“Companies are now focusing on whether applicants have expertise and qualities useful in the workplace,” explained Seo Mi-young, CEO of major job portal site Incruit.

“Job seekers should review each companies’ hiring practices and prepare accordingly,” she recommended.

Not all companies are dropping history, however. LG Group, for example, is keeping questions on Korean history and Chinese characters in its written exam. SK and Posco exams will also continue asking Korean history and general knowledge questions in an effort to determine whether applicants are capable of critical thinking and well-versed in practical knowledge outside their majors.

Blind recruitment is another trend for this season. Companies are taking cues from the Moon Jae-in administration, which has advised the private sector to follow its lead in giving a more diverse range of candidates a chance at interviews and pre-employment testing, regardless of their educational background or experience.

Last fall, several CJ subsidiaries launched the “Respect” recruitment process in which applicants were not required to disclose the name of their university, academic average or English language exam scores. That opens up jobs to a broader range of graduates.

Samsung is no longer requiring applicants to disclose their universities or submit photos of themselves. LG Group’s applications no longer have sections for language exam results, study abroad experiences, internships or volunteer experiences.

Some companies are counting on artificial intelligence to enhance the hiring process. Lotte Group adopted a system to read and analyze autobiographical essays submitted in the first stage of recruitment to detect plagiarism. The system also scans for terms in the essays that predict whether candidates are fit for a role or have traits valued by the company.

“The HR staff will take the AI’s review into consideration when assessing the candidates,” explained a Lotte spokesman.

BGF Retail, the operator of CU convenience stores, is using similar technology to scan for plagiarism in autobiographical essays. It will accept applications through Saturday.

Samsung subsidiaries are accepting applications for entry-level jobs through next Tuesday. Hyundai Motor Group closed applications Monday. Its smaller affiliate Kia Motors does not directly hire entry-level positions but conducts an Intern K program that offers outstanding participants a full-time position. Applications for the program close next Monday.

SK Group is accepting applications through next Friday. Lotte will accept applications from next Tuesday through March 29. CJ is accepting applications through next Monday.

LG Group is accepting applications through next week. Unlike other conglomerates, it allows applicants to simultaneously apply to up to three of its subsidiaries in a single recruitment season. Posco, Kumho Asiana Group and KT are also expected to begin accepting applications this month.

This spring, conglomerates and public institutions will likely hire between 70,000 and 78,000 new recruits combined, around the same number as last year, according to Incruit.


BY SOHN HAE-YONG, HA SUN-YOUNG [kim.eunjin1@joongang.co.kr]


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