Wells Fargo is backtracking on a hiring policy after an embarrassing investigative report in the New York Times. The bank put what it called a "diversity slate" policy in place in 2020 stipulating that "diverse" candidates must be interviewed for any job with a salary of more than $100,000. The problem? Bank employees told the Times that it resulted in interviews of women and people of color that were purely for show—the positions already had been filled. Managers complained they were instructed to conduct the fake interviews in case regulators ever checked into the bank's hiring practices.
"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," CEO Charles Scharf wrote in a new company memo seen by Reuters. He said the hiring policy would be put on hold for several weeks to make sure that “the guidelines live up to their promise,” and that “hiring managers, senior leaders and recruiters fully understand how the guidelines should work,” per the Times.
Scharf also defended the policy's bottom-line results, saying that 42% of people hired for high-paying jobs last year belonged to a racial or ethnic minority, a gain of 5 percentage points from two years earlier. This is not the bank's first brush with controversy over hiring, with Insider noting that the bank agreed to pay nearly $8 million in 2020 after accusations it discriminated against Black job applicants. (Scharf apologized after complaining about "a limited pool of Black talent.")