May 30, 2022

Is Monzo Bank’s Hiring Process Racist? – One Black Marketing Specialist Raises Questions

A Black marketing specialist has taken to Linkedin to complain about his experience applying for a job at Monzo Bank and has questioned whether the firm’s job application process is racist.

Before explaining what happened, Charles Oben wrote ‘Does Monzo Bank have an application process that is intentionally racist?’.

Sharing his experience, he said: “I applied to Monzo late last week, for their Growth Marketing Manager position. I spent a lot of time on my application (one of my responses is over 5 pages long), so I was rather dismayed and more than a little surprised when I received a quick rejection letter.

“I thought to myself, would someone have even had time to review my application properly? Probably not. Something didn’t smell right, but I didn’t know what to do. Thanks to a friend’s suggestion that I was probably automatically screened out by a bot or an AI of some sort, I decided to apply again and test this.

“Why? Why not. So I did. I re-applied earlier this afternoon and kept every single part of my application the same. Word for word. Just copied and pasted it. But I changed one field…My ethnicity.

“When I originally applied, I checked (in the apparently optional) data collection section that I am Black African. My application was swiftly rejected. Today, less than 3 days later, I re-applied with the exact same material and checked that I was White British.

“Same CV. Same Cover Letter. Same responses to the application questions. At 16.31 pm this afternoon, I received an email to congratulate me that I had been successful and will be moving on to the next stage to have a call with a recruiter.

“That call is now scheduled for 3:00 pm tomorrow. As I sit here writing this, I find myself in a very interesting position. I imagine a lot of people (including Monzo) will have lots of explanations for what has happened.

“Perhaps there was a technical AI error. Someone else reviewed my application the second time. I changed a field I didn’t realize. My application was somehow “better” the 2nd time. Perhaps something else I haven’t yet thought of. Or the easiest one – I’m flat out lying.

“Everyone is free to make up their own mind. All I will say is I am currently staring at two emails from Monzo in my inbox. One is a rejection letter when I applied as a Black African. The other is an invitation for a call and the next part of the recruitment process when I applied as White British.

“Everything else was kept constant. Monzo will have the same information. So back to the initial question – Does Monzo Bank have an application process that is intentionally racist?”

Monzo responded to his Linkedin post, stating: ” Hi Charles, We were really sorry to read your post, and we’d like to take a moment to provide an explanation. To be clear, race plays absolutely no role in our hiring process  – and we’re really sorry that it would even seem that way.

“Personal characteristics that we ask for, like ethnicity and gender, aren’t visible to anyone during the hiring process, and we store this information separately from applications. 

“Nothing here was automated and in this case, two people looked at your applications and made different decisions. We appreciate that’s frustrating. It’s really important that candidates have a positive and inclusive experience with us and we’re always keen to understand where we can improve.

“We’ve dropped you an email so we can answer any questions you might have and talk through the next steps in this process.”

Abbianca Makoni

Abbianca Makoni is a content executive and writer at POCIT! She has years of experience reporting on critical issues affecting diverse communities around the globe.