Bakers and Hogan Lovells to compare applicants’ backgrounds in bid to promote social mobility

Baker & McKenzie and Hogan Lovells have partnered with diversity organisation Rare Recruitment to contextualise their recruitment by comparing economic and social circumstances of applicants.

The Contextual Recruitment System (CRS) was inspired by Big Data and by the selection processes already used at some universities, which make differing offers to students based on contextual data.

The system uses information from two Rare databases: one contains the exam results of 3,500 English secondary schools and sixth form colleges and the other contains 2.5 million UK postcodes. It then fuses this information and candidates’ responses together to produce contextual data on every candidate.

Both Baker & McKenzie and Hogan Lovells plan to integrate the system into their own recruitment tools in time for the 2015/16 recruitment season.

Hogan Lovells graduate recruitment partner Tom Astle said: “We welcome this as a quantum leap in objective and reliable methods of screening applications, enabling those from less privileged backgrounds to shine through.

“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.”

Rare managing director Raph Mokades added: “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.”

Last year, Baker & McKenzie was one of those organisations named as a ’social mobility champion’ by the government.