Samsung shifts recruiting focus

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Samsung shifts recruiting focus

Samsung Group said yesterday that it is overhauling its recruitment process to select new hires specifically based on skills rather than hiring people en masse based on test scores.

The new system will be applied to college or higher education recruits applying in the second half of next year.

This is the biggest change in recruitment for the nation’s leading conglomerate since it adopted its own aptitude test, the SSAT, in 1995.

The conglomerate said the goal is to find talented and creative individuals to fill specific openings rather than hiring large groups and then allocating them to different departments.

The change comes at a very challenging time as Samsung’s profits shrink and it searches for new growth engines.

Flagship Samsung Electronics in particular is feeling the need to rely less on smartphones, as rising competition from Chinese manufacturers and a resurgent Apple have been eating into its profits.

Samsung Electronics wants to expand into other IT fields, including the Internet of Things and software-based businesses, and has been strengthening its cooperation with other IT companies like Facebook.

According to the conglomerate yesterday, it will be looking at the specific skills of job applicants rather than relying on their SSAT scores.

For example, openings in research and development including software programming would have to be filled by candidates with in-depth studies in science and math. People applying for more general positions like sales and marketing will have to prove some aptitude or experience through an essay.

Previously, all applicants had to first pass the SSAT before getting a job interview.

Under the new system, the applicants’ skills will be evaluated and only the candidates who pass a certain standard will be eligible to take the SSAT.

Applicants for research and development positions, including software programming, will need to submit transcripts of classes related to the positions. They will not have to turn in the average GPA they earned through four years of college.

Samsung said it will look into how deep the R&D applicants studied related subjects including science and math. It will no longer consider language skills, training certificates and volunteer work.

“In the case of those applying for the research and development department, we will be evaluating the applicants on their skills in a specific field,” said Lee Joon, head of Samsung’s communication team. “In the case of the sales and management department, we will evaluate them in a different way. For example, for sales we will look into their leadership skills, teamwork and friendliness.”

People applying for general positions will have to write an essay detailing how they suit the positions they are applying for. The company noted that this will be separate from the resume the applicants submit.

Applicants for research and development and programming will not have to submit separate essays.

“When we analyzed employees with outstanding performances [in research and development], there was a strong connection with how well they did in school,” said Lee from the communication department. “On the flip side, there was a relatively low correlation between successful sales people and the grades they received in college.”

The company also said it found that applicants with good scores on the SSAT weren’t necessarily good at their jobs.


BY LEE HO-JEONG [ojlee82@joongang.co.kr]

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