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This article is brought to you by Fidelity International.

The financial services firm is not one to shy away from doing new things - from looking for talent in unusual places to consolidating the strengths of senior, successful leaders into a new framework.

In the face of COVID-19, businesses around the world have been severely disrupted. Since talent is the heart of business, the war for top talent is fiercer than ever. For a financial services firm like Fidelity International, recruitment is even more challenging as its target hires are often not just based in Hong Kong.

While remote hiring and recruitment technology are the obvious solutions, it is the company’s norm-breaking recruitment philosophy and strategy that helps its early careers recruitment team to steer its local and international recruitment processes through tough times.

Fidelity International took home four golds – for Best International Recruitment Strategy, Best Local Recruitment Strategy, Best Remote Recruitment Strategy, and Best Use of Recruitment Technology; and one bronze for Best Recruitment Transformation – In-house – at the Asia Recruitment Awards, Hong Kong 2021 organised by Human Resources Online.

Let’s find out the team’s winning secrets.

The human touch behind technology adoption

Amid the pandemic, Fidelity partnered with an external vendor to replace in-person paper-based assessment with an all-in-one digital assessment platform. Additionally, by optimising audio and video conferencing platforms such as Zoom, Hopin, Airmeet, Microsoft Teams, all campus recruitment events and roadshows, which used to be conducted face-to-face in overseas locations, have gone virtual.

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While technology can undoubtedly enhance recruitment processes, Fidelity did not leave all the work to the platform. Rather, the firm balances technology and the human element to make the best of the situation.

Leveraging the partnership with its HR vendor, both parties regularly interview the alumni of Fidelity’s early careers programme and senior sponsors who are considered as successful in their roles, and figure out the common ground between the two. After that, Fidelity’s HR team consolidates the findings into a list of strengths called the “strength-based model”, which is developed into exercises, online tests, video interviews, etc.

To validate the assessment tools, the interviewees complete these tests. If they score high, that means the exercise is reflective of Fidelity’s hiring standard.

Apart from adding the human touch into technology, Fidelity is also strategically coming up with ideas to reinforce its attractiveness to candidates as well as its recruitment accuracy.

Louis Ng, Early Careers Recruiting Lead at Fidelity International, underscores the success of its international recruitment strategy on its active participation in conferences globally. The financial firm has gone the extra mile to sponsor overseas events, most recently, an LGBT+ conference in London and an MBA women investors’ conference in Boston.

“Supporting such activities allows us to see candidates outside the interview setting because they are often very well-trained for interviews. Seeing them in a more casual and relaxed setting can allow us to make a better judgment on their motivation and cultural fit,” Ng says.

Passion prevails over résumé

At Fidelity, the core recruitment philosophy is to provide opportunities for people from diverse backgrounds.

“We are one of the few firms in Asia that don’t necessarily pick education and previous experience as the major considerations. We focus a lot on candidates who are passionate about the industry,” Ng says.

He explains that passion could mean somebody who reads a lot of investment books, is a member of finance-related clubs or has previously joined some relevant competitions. Understanding that at first glance it is hard to spot an enthusiastic candidate, Fidelity makes sure that its recruitment processes are fair and transparent, which allows candidates to sell themselves instead of their résumé.

To identify young talent who are passionate about investment banking but might not be aware of what the asset management industry or stock pitching would look like, Fidelity debuted at China Stock Pitch Competition in 2015 in a bid to build a local talent pipeline for equity research analysts and portfolio managers. Winners were fast-tracked into Fidelity’s summer internship programme where they learned the daily tasks of an analyst and even had the opportunity to give advice to top management towards the end of the internship.

“Mixing things up” is another key recruitment strategy for Fidelity.

While there is a typical talent pool the company goes for, Fidelity always tries to include people that might not come from an “ideal” education background in the candidate shortlist.

“Employees coming from different backgrounds can bring in more fresh ideas to the table. We are serving clients who are also coming from various backgrounds. Having a diverse team brings a positive impact because we can then bring different perspectives for the clients,” Ng says.

Looking forward, Fidelity aspires to continue to strengthen diversity in its recruitment process and its strength-based model. The firm will also carry on implementing its hybrid interview model to attract talent from all around the world.

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