If you are searching for a company that best exemplifies the future of hiring, look no further than Capital One, the Virginia-based banking company.

Capital One distinguishes itself from other banks by stressing its focus on analytics, a keystone of today’s information age. And that is reflected in their hiring process, where seemingly every aspect – including the oft-overlooked candidate experience facet – is quantified, analyzed and expected to improve.

What Capital One is trying to do is something many companies in America are trying to accomplish as well – take a process (hiring) that for years has been more about “gut feelings” and first impressions and add structure to it so it repeatedly produces good results, no matter who is doing it.


So how does Capital One hire? Well, the recruiting process is relatively standard, as the company focuses on getting college students and developing them over time. Additionally, the company gives its employees a $1,000 bonus if they recommend someone who is eventually hired, to the point that approximately a quarter of all new hires are from employee referrals.

Where it is unique though is the screening process, which clearly is based around quantifying both a candidate’s skills and personality. Candidates are required to take online skill-based, behavioral and intellectual assessmentsafter applying, to more objectively measure their personality and capabilities.

In-person interviews are atypical in that they generally consist of giving candidates business scenarios and seeing how they answer them, a la Warren Buffett. Candidates are judged “more on how you go about dealing with the problem rather than on the specific answers you come up with,” according to Capital One’s career site.

Additionally, the interviews include showing the candidate the work environment and having them meet their potential colleagues, according to Capital One’s career site. The point is to give candidates a clear picture of what it is like to work at Capital One, so they’ll get a good idea if they really want to work there.

Improving Candidate Experience

One aspect we really liked about Capital One’s hiring process is that along with looking to always improve their quality of hire, they also look to improve candidate experience. This is something many other companies neglect, and by making it an emphasis, Capital One gains a competitive advantage.

What Capital One does is garner feedback from all its candidates who interact with its recruiters and then reacts accordingly, according to the Washington Post. The thought is that if candidates are treated well – even if they are not hired – they will be more likely to use Capital One and recommend it to others (surveys find that to be true).

For example, Capital One used to send a driver every hour to pick up candidates from the airport or train station for their in-person interviews. But that left some candidates complaining that they were waiting 50 minutes for a ride, so now the company sends a driver every half-hour.

Another example is that candidates used to have a hard time remembering the benefits offered by the company after an interview. So now, candidates get take-home materials after each interview explaining the company’s benefits.

How Is This Working?

Is this process effective? It would be fair to say the results have been solid, if not spectacular.

Capital One reports that their at least 95 percent of their employees are satisfied with their bosses, atmosphere and rewards. However, their voluntary turnover rate is 15 percent, which is slightly higher than the banking and finance industry’s average of 12.8 percent.

The company as a whole has rebounded nicely since the financial crisis of 2008. In February of 2009, Capital One’s stock price hit a lowly 12.05, but has since climbed back to 81.62. That’s around the level it was in 2006, at the height of the market.


Overall, there is a lot to like about Capital One’s hiring process. While the assessments they require candidates to take to apply for a job might be burdensome, it is certainly laudable that they are trying to get more objective measures of their applicants.

Their in-person interview strategy is fantastic, as giving candidates real-life business scenarios is a great way to garner powerful insights into their thought process. And Capital One’s focus on giving candidates a good view of what it is like to work at the company and their emphasis on improving the overall candidate experience is both rare and commendable.

The bigger point here though is that the process Capital One uses – or at least something very close to it – will soon become the norm, not the exception. Companies today are quickly understanding that winning the talent war is the most important part of building a successful company and the more they can turn their hiring process into a science, instead of an art, the better.

About VoiceGlance

VoiceGlance is a cloud-based hiring tool used by forward-thinking companies to hire smarter, instead of harder.Learn more here.