Financial sector to create hiring guidelines

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Financial sector to create hiring guidelines

Korean lenders plan to abolish special recruitment based on recommendations and to bring in outside experts for their hiring procedures as part of an effort to eradicate irregularities and boost transparency, the bank association said Tuesday.

These are the key items included in the new guidelines the Korea Federation of Banks (KFB) is now drawing up, following a series of hiring irregularities at some financial firms and state-run institutions that have caused public outcry.

In order to assess applicants’ capabilities in a fairer manner, the guidelines will call for the reintroduction of written exams, which have been abolished in some companies.

Outside experts will be invited to take part in at least one phase of the hiring procedure, such as document-screening, written exams or interviews, according to the association.

The new guidelines will also urge banks to adopt “blind recruitment,” where officials have no basic information on applicants prior to having interviews with them, and will ban banks from discriminating against potential employees based on their gender, age, alma mater or region of birth.

Special selection through recommendation will be abolished, while those involved in hiring irregularities should face penalties. The new rules will also require measures to compensate the applicants victimized by any unfair actions to be devised.

The self-regulating guidelines are not legally binding, but 19 member banks, including Shinhan Bank, Woori Bank, KEB Hana Bank, Kookmin Bank and Citibank Korea, have vowed to accept the rules, the KFB said.

The plan will be finalized after due opinion-gathering and approval procedures and will be announced next Monday, according to the association.

“The new guidelines are expected to boost fairness and transparency in the recruitment process in the banking industry so that banks will fully serve their social responsibilities,” the KFB said in a statement.

Since last year, allegations have emerged that some banks gave undue favors or special treatment to job applicants with ties to top bank executives or top-tier customers in their recruitment processes.

A former Financial Supervisory Service governor, Choe Heung-sik, stepped down in March after facing allegations of involvement in hiring irregularities while he served as president of a commercial bank in 2013. KEB Hana Bank Chief Ham Young-joo has been subject to a probe over similar charges.

Many job seekers want to land a job as a banker, one of the most prestigious careers in the country. Last year, the average annual salary of full-time male employees at all four of Korea’s major commercial banks exceeded 100 million won ($93,780).

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