Innovate to build tomorrow’s workforce - BNP Paribas Corporate & Institutional Banking

Innovate to build tomorrow’s workforce

15 Jun, 2018

With today's rapidly accelerating business transformation, how could the recruitment process be reinvented? Would resumes soon be out of the game?

We are living through a fundamental transformation in the way we work. The new imperative is clear: create the future workforce. There are different levers to activate, the main ones being the acquisition by staff of new skills over time, the promotion of new ways of working, and the support of the hiring process, which constitutes a key pillar of such a plan and clearly needs to be reinvented to accompany the change.

Solveig Bachellery, Head of Innovation for Corporate and Institutional Banking (CIB), explains how innovation can serve change and how the hiring process can be transformed. To illustrate this, we look at Goshaba – a start-up BNP Paribas has partnered with to reinvent the recruitment process.

Why is innovate key to accompany corporates' transformation?
Solveig Bachellery: We are currently facing a fast moving environment, driven by a technology revolution around usage ofdata to better understand facts and human being's decision process. The competitive landscape is and will be profoundly transformed by new competitors leveraging these new technologies (Fintechs, GAFAM). The clients' demand has also drastically evolved in expecting digital services and data-driven advisory. And last, but not least, the Banking industry is now also competing with start-ups to attract and retain talents. Indeed the employees' expectations have also changed in favour of transparency, commitment and rooms to develop talents, especially scarce resources such as Data Scientists.

As it allows generating ideas to address client's needs without any restriction and transform them into concrete solutions, innovation is key to guarantee the sustainability of our business by adapting to our ecosystem and turning this new environment into growth opportunity, motivation, well-being and commitment. This is part of BNP Paribas' core strategy - the Bank of the changing world.

Why innovation is key to attract talents?
S.B.: Along with this approach, there is also clearly a need to have a coherent hiring process. Firstly, because this is the first contact with us – BNP Paribas, so it needs to be consistent with our willingness to attract. Secondly, because we aim to continuously improve our efficiency thanks to advanced technologies, and also acquire new types of competencies. Indeed, to support this transformation, we need more technical skills related to thesenew technologies, as well as more soft and cognitive skills such as creativity, agility, ability to change, entrepreneurship, management capability... We also have to find efficient ways to assess those new skills, for example by using gamification processes, to make sure we are able to recruit talents rather than resumes.

Thus, as part of the transformation at BNP Paribas, during the Web Summit 2017 held in Lisbon, we collaborated with Goshaba - a start-up, reinventing the recruitment process. Goshaba was incubated as part of WAI Boost (L'Atelier BNP Paribas) and has also been a leader in other contests such as Techinnov and Viva Technology. Goshaba proposes full recruitment processes separated in different stages based on brain-training games, smart screening surveys, technical quizzes, role-playing scenarios or video interviews. These activities analyse the cognitive abilities of candidates and allow enterprises today to select  applicants for positions for which resumes do not represent fully candidates' competences - such as data scientist, big data architects, machine learning experts...

The cooperation between BNP Paribas and Goshaba during the largest tech conference in the world, allowed us to experience the hiring process through a different angle – by gamification and smart screening. A competition was set by means of games among students and young graduates, through which Goshaba identified certain candidates with specific know-hows, soft skills and cognitive abilities. Some gained access to the Web Summit conference and others continued their journey within BNP Paribas with a job-offer. Indeed, this out of ordinary recruitment method is aligned with our drive to work differently, to be agile and open to diversity.

How can innovation and diversity work hand in hand?
S.B.: Goshaba is one of the many examples how through innovation companies increase diversity at the workplace. This out of ordinary recruitment process allows the select ion of candidates with various experiences. Diversity is not only a matter of gender, it applies to anything: skills, route, experience. Looking back in time, business teams were mostly groups of people with identical profiles. This was especially the case for the AI community which was relatively small with few educational channels and favouring profile similarities. Thus, expanding the diversity and including a vast variety of backgrounds – including creative artists, writers, sociologist.., is today imperative to make sure that any business project, and especially those using AI technologies, results in a diversified output. The verdict is clear - innovation favours diversity and vice versa. 

Read more to discover how Goshaba is reinventing the hiring process and what Djamil Kemal's vision of the future of workforce is.

What is Goshaba and how did Goshaba come about?

Djamil Kemal: For the past 50 years, personality traits have been assessed mainly viaquestionnaires and interviews. Goshaba changes the paradigm. Instead of focusing on your candidates' biased declarations, we measure precise personality traits though "cognitive games" and combine the results with other evaluations that measure the candidates' experience and hard skills.

Goshaba offers a solution that automatically scores your job applicants, fast, accurately and in a totally candidates friendly way. On one single platform, you can rank your applicants, based on a full range of criteria, including work experience and hard skills but also soft skills and culture fit.

This alliance of cutting edge cognitive science, smart data and gamification comes from both luck and grit: Minh Phan and I, Djamil Kemal, had been working in the video game industry for 20 years and wanted to launch our own company focused on data. At the exact same time, Camille Morvan, one of our colleagues' sister was teaching cognitive science at Harvard and NYU had a very similar idea. We took the opportunity of this perfect timing to create Goshaba and try to overturn ages of recruitment processes.   


What is your vision of the future of workforce? 

Dj.K.: A few years ago, most of the candidates I interviewed wanted to focus on a dedicated area (marketing or sales for instance) and tried to go deeper and deeper to become experts. But the ones I interview today are much more willing to develop a broader set of skills. I see this as a consequence of one of the three trends I consider decisive in the evolution of workforce.

The first trend is the ever-growing emergence of new jobs and, as a consequence, an ever-growing need of transversal skills. When the need for growth hackers emerged, no specific degree prepared for the whole set of skills this new job requires (statistics, programing, UX, analytics, psychology, storytelling etc...). It is very likely that active and continuous learning won't just be an option anymore.

And this need of transversal and broader skills will be even more important as AI and automation, the second trend, are gathering momentum. Ultra-specialized jobs will be the first to be concerned.

The last trend I envision is the dominance of the gig economy. Because of an inherent cultural change of the new generations and more liberal social regulations, job tenures become shorter and shorter. For the recruiters, this will imply a continuous hiring process, even in slower economic periods. 

I believe that one major implication of those three trends will be for the recruiters to focus on soft skills (inc. the ability to learn). Another implication will be the need for tools that can automatically evaluate all key dimensions of a candidate (work experience, hard skills, soft skills, culture fit) and do it at scale. Luckily, it's precisely what Goshaba does.

Anything to add as a conclusion?

Dj.K.: Hiring tools are great to give the recruiters more elements and help them make better decisions. But an important caveat should be considered.

The recent GDPR (European privacy regulation) made everybody aware of the importance of data privacy. But awareness about what data are used in the hiring tools and how their algorithms function are much less discussed. Consequently, big data, deep learning and AI may lead to more discrimination and hiring mistakes i.e not only being hiring the wrong candidates but also not hiring great ones.

Indeed, most current tools harness data that are extracted from the candidates' resumes.
And yet, studies by Harvard* prove that resumes are highly subject to conscious or unconscious biases. Using big data on a wrong data set only automates and expands human's biases in ways that are very hard to audit. Moreover, in a world where soft skills will be more and more important, resumes are a very poor element of information of the candidates' ability to learn and evolve.

To opt for a more efficient and fair hiring process, shouldn't we get rid of the resumés for the preselect ion phase and only use them as a support during the interview?

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Head of Innovation, BNP Paribas CIB
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