Wells Fargo pauses diverse slate hiring policy after reports of fake job interviews

FILE PHOTO: A lady walks by a Wells Fargo bank branch in Washington
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(Reuters) - Wells Fargo & Co is pausing a hiring policy that requires recruiters to interview a diverse pool of candidates, after the New York Times reported such interviews were often fake and conducted even though the job had already been promised to someone else.

The bank also plans to conduct a review of its diverse slate guidelines, Chief Executive Officer Charles Scharf told staff on Monday, according to a memo seen by Reuters.

"Since The New York Times published a story last month about diverse job candidate slates at Wells Fargo, I've had the opportunity to hear from many of you," Scharf said, talking about the bank's staff.

"In these sessions, you've described in deeply personal terms the career obstacles you've faced because of who you are," he added.

The New York Times reported last month that a former employee in the bank's wealth management business had complained that he was forced by his bosses to interview people for jobs that had already been promised to others, just to meet the diverse slate requirement.

Diverse slate hiring is a talent acquisition strategy where the recruiter starts with an already diverse pool of qualified candidates.

Scharf said the bank will continue to actively seek diversity in hiring even during this pause, and upon completion of the review, will make adjustments to its diverse slate program where appropriate and relaunch it in July.

Scharf in a Zoom meeting in 2020 exasperated some Black employees when he reiterated that the bank had trouble reaching diversity goals because there was not enough qualified minority talent, Reuters reported at the time.

(Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)