Presenting Yourself at Interview

Presenting Yourself at Interview

Financial services employers reveal how interview presentation can affect job chances

The way candidates from disadvantaged backgrounds present themselves at interview is damaging their chances of landing roles in financial services, according to a new survey of finance employers.

The responses to the survey, conducted by the Sutton Trust, which seeks to improve social mobility through education, show that 81% of the 1,000 respondents believe the interview presentation of candidates from less well-off backgrounds is affecting their job chances. 62% said that they believed many candidates from these backgrounds would not fit in with their company culture.

The Trust’s press release also makes reference to recent research by the Social Mobility Commission. This found that many candidates from less affluent backgrounds were unable to obtain jobs in banking due to the way they dressed and behaved at interview, or because they had strong regional accents. The Commission labelled this the ‘brown shoes effect’.

Previous research by the Trust has shown that 34% of recent recruits and 51% of leaders in the financial sector were educated at private school, compared to just 7% of the UK population as a whole.

The Trust has partnered with Deutsche Bank, aiming to widen access to the banking professions for people from different backgrounds. The Pathways to Banking scheme will provide support for sixth-form students from low and middle income homes to go on to degree courses that can lead to jobs in finance. Scheme participants will receive a targeted programme of support, encompassing residentials, mentoring and work experience.

Sir Peter Lampl, Chairman of the Sutton Trust, said:

“Finance and banking offer rewarding careers for talented young people. However, today’s research shows that it is very difficult for young people from low and middle income backgrounds to access them. Our polling shows that the vast majority of senior figures in finance and banking think that the way candidates from poorer backgrounds present themselves affects their job chances – the brown shoes effect.

Tina Lee, Deputy CEO, UK and Ireland at Deutsche Bank, said:

“We know there’s a social mobility problem within the banking industry and that addressing it makes economic and business sense. By reaching students while they are still in school, we hope to encourage more bright young people from poorer homes that a career in finance is open to them.”

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