Ashurst and Herbies latest firms to compare training contract applicants’ backgrounds in social mobility push

Ashurst and Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) are the latest firms to sign up to contextualising their recruitment data.

The pair join Baker & McKenzie and Hogan Lovells in using the Rare Contextual Recruitment System (CRS) developed by the ‘elite yet diverse’ recruitment agency, Rare.

The system is designed to identify students from more disadvantaged backgrounds who have done well even though they didn’t go to a top school. 

All four firms are now able to contextualise their applicants’ grades in terms of their home postcode and school. The system hardwires metrics into firms’ databases to allow graduate recruiters to accurately and consistently measure the social mobility characteristics of every applicant.

Both Ashurst and HSF plan to wire the system into their own applications systems for the 2015/16 recruitment cycle, during which trainees who will begin their training contracts in September 2017 are chosen.

The firms have been involved in Rare’s working group around contextual recruitment, helping to develop how contextual data could be applied to the graduate recruitment sector. During that process, the firms had access to contextual data on candidates who had applied via Rare.

HSF resourcing head Peter Chater said: “We’ve been involved in the Rare contextual recruitment working group from the very beginning. ‎We’ve been using contextual data on Rare candidates for the last year. In that time, it’s really proved its value. We’re excited about having it available for all candidates for the next recruitment season.”

Ashurst global head of graduates Emma Young added: “Having been involved in the Rare contextual recruitment working group, we were feeling confident about using the data and were clear from the outset that using it at screening stage was the correct approach as this was the most likely stage for candidates from a less privileged background to be filtered out.

“Of the 11 candidates we have hired, seven had contextual data markers of one sort or another… the data helped us to see how totally exceptional certain applicants were – and helped us make sure we did not miss them.”