In a bid to improve their hit among millennials, and bolster the internal efficiency of their recruitment process, EY and KPMG have announced a latest round of tweaks to their job application process. KPMG is shortening the recruitment process from weeks to a matter of days, while EY has removed degree classifications and changed its view on high school performance, for entry to its ranks.
Professional services firms, while offering a range of benefits to prospective graduates, are facing stiff competition from, among others, the growing phenomenon of startups. To meet the competition head-on, reduce administrative burden and broaden the kinds of graduates that are seen as valuable, business advisory firms are transforming their recruitment processes. Two firms that recently outlined changes, on top of earlier tweaks, are accounting and consulting groups KPMG and EY.
KPMG recently announced it will be streamlining its recruitment programme. Graduates applying for the limited pool of available spots at the professional services firm were having to jump through three different hoops, while sometimes waiting for weeks in between to know if they had made the previous round. The much more direct, and therefore quick, recruitment process at startups, has allowed them to pick off top talent before the professional services recruitment programme could run its course.
KPMG’s new graduate recruitment scheme aims to significantly reduce the recruitment process for candidates, from three different processes over a number of weeks, to everything on just one day. All graduates will also be informed whether their application has been successful within two working days following the interview. The new process will, among others, reduce the ire of candidates whom the company ignores – and may become the talent it needs tomorrow.
KPMG Chairman Simon Collins remarks that the new recruitment process allows the firm to better compete with other firms, adding, “We are competing with the full gamut for the best brains and talent leaving university: getting our graduate recruitment right is crucial to the long-term success of our business.”
EY too is moving to broaden its appeal to a wider array of candidates. As announced last year, it would be scrapping its requirement for a 2.1 at university level, as well as at least three B grades at A-level – in a bid to improve diversity within its ranks. The changes, which take effect in this years’ recruitment round, will require aspiring professionals to take a ‘strengths’ based set of tests that aims to identify the capacities of students today – rather than how they performed in yesteryear.
Maggie Stilwell, Managing Partner for talent at the firm, remarks, “Academic qualifications will still be taken into account and indeed remain an important consideration when assessing candidates as a whole, but will no longer act as a barrier to getting a foot in the door. Our own internal research of over 400 graduates found that screening students based on academic performance alone was too blunt an approach to recruitment. It found no evidence to conclude that previous success in higher education correlated with future success in subsequent professional qualifications undertaken.”
PwC and Deloitte, the other Big Four professional services firms, have too sought to change their recruitment processes to meet the changing expectations and opportunities of millennial graduates. PwC has lowered the entry barriers for strong candidates from divergent backgrounds, while Deloitte is piloting a computer game based recruitment processes.