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Baker & McKenzie and Hogan Lovells to pioneer ground-breaking contextual recruitment tool

The tool will work by hardwiring social mobility metrics into the firms' existing graduate recruitment applicant tracking systems enabling them to take the economic background and personal circumstances of a candidate into account for the first time. By way of example, the firms will be able to assess a candidate’s academic performance against the overall performance of their school providing the context as to how that set of grades was achieved something which conventional assessment systems are currently unable to do. By contextualising the performance of individual applicants, employers will be able to identify those & lsquo;stand-out’ candidates regardless of their background.

Baker & McKenzie and Hogan Lovells plan to fully integrate the system into their own application systems in time for the 2015/16 graduate recruitment season.

Sarah Gregory, Baker & McKenzie’s diversity & inclusion partner, said,"By integrating contextual recruitment into our own graduate application processes we will be setting a new benchmark for social mobility. This underpins our vision to be a truly inclusive organisation and is testament to our determination to improve access to the legal profession one of our key commitments as a Social mobility business compact champion."        

Tom Astle, Hogan Lovells’ graduate recruitment partner, said, “At Hogan Lovells we are committed to ensuring diversity, inclusion and fairness is at the forefront of recruiting decisions. We welcome this as a quantum leap in objective and reliable methods of screening applications, enabling those from less privileged backgrounds to shine through. We are therefore delighted to be working with Rare on this very important development in graduate recruitment selection which is set to revolutionise how we select candidates.”

“Using contextual data we will now have greater understanding of the challenges some candidates have faced and overcome.  This will give candidates the confidence that they have been selected on their merits by organisations that recognise their achievements in context and are keen to give them every opportunity to demonstrate their potential.”

The Rare Contextual Recruitment System [CRS] is completely unique and innovative:

-          Its algorithms and data analysis have been informed by contributions from an expert geodemographer at Cambridge University and an expert in data science from Oxford University

-          It uses information drawn from two new databases built by Rare: the first contains the exam results of 3,500 secondary schools and sixth form colleges in England the second contains 2.5 million UK postcodes

-          The system uses this information, together with the candidates responses to questions asked as part of the application process to produce real-time contextual information on all the candidates.

The system was inspired by Big Data processes and the selection techniques used by the UK’s leading universities, which make differential offers to students based on & lsquo;contextual data’.

The Rare CRS seeks to revolutionise the way in which graduate recruiters discern the candidates with the greatest potential from those that are simply the most polished. It follows Rare’s 2013 social mobility research on graduate recruitment processes at top firms which was informed by the comments of a cross-industry working group comprised of leading public, private and third sector organisations and individuals from Cambridge University, King’s College London and Oxford University.

Rare’s managing director, Raph Mokades, said,  “It is wonderful to welcome Baker & McKenzie and Hogan Lovells as our first official Social Mobility Pioneer firms. Their joining is a sign that the legal industry is taking a lead on addressing diversity and social mobility in the City and the UK.

“The way people present their talents superficially in print or on paper is only part of the answer to the question of how you measure how good they are.

“For instance, someone who gets AAA at A Level from a very high performing school may be underperforming relative to the average attainment at that institution, whereas someone who gets AAA at A Level from a school where the average is DDE, whose parents may not have attended university, and who lives in a deprived postcode, is outstanding – even if he or she does not have glistening work experience and extra curricular activities.

“This data and evidence-based approach makes the Rare CRS a powerful and insightful tool.”


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