|Illustration by Cho Sang-won|
By You Soo-sun
The background-blind recruitment, which seeks to hire people based on skills rather than educational background and other credentials, is becoming a source of hope and confidence for many jobseekers.
Under this system, state-run companies are forbidden from asking questions not directly related to the job including the applicants’ family background, age, sex and the school they attended on the initial application form. Some private companies have also adopted the practice.
This is especially good news for graduates of universities outside of Seoul, who have not been faring so well in the excessively heated job market.
“Now I feel like I can get a job if I just prepare myself well,” Baek Seung-hak, 26, told The Korea Times, Wednesday. A graduate of the Chungnam National University, Baek is among an emerging group of young people seeking to land jobs through the blind recruitment system.
As a graduate of a university outside of Seoul, he felt he was at a disadvantage in the job market. The system has brought him hope, as he believes his background will no longer play a critical role.
“Under this new system, I think my chances of getting a job depend on how well I do on the written test and interviews _ so I’m focusing on doing well on those,” he said.
Doubts remain about corruption
But many of his peers, Baek noted, have little faith in the actual process, even as they choose to give it a shot.
“Most of my friends don’t trust the blind hiring system. When looking at the people who got jobs at companies, they are mostly from the high-ranking universities based in Seoul. So when my friends fail to pass the first round of the hiring process, they begin to think it’s because of their lack of credentials that have led to disappointing results,” he explained.
Twenty-five-year-old Yoon Kyung-sik, a senior attending the same university as Baek, also cited some concerns prevalent among his peers, such as the possibility of discrimination against graduates from top-ranking universities, or competition in other ambiguous criteria.
Yoon also questioned whether the smaller state-run companies are following the new rules. “After seeing the news about corruption in the hiring process at some of these companies, my friends and I decided not to apply to smaller state-run companies, assuming they may already have candidates in mind.”
Despite these concerns, Yoon and his friends feel they have a better chance in the job market because of the blind recruitment system.
“There’s an increasing feeling among my peers that as long as we study and work hard, we can land jobs, at least at state-run companies. It relieves us from the pressure coming from attending a university outside of Seoul,” he said.
Yoon believes it also provides him an opportunity to seek a job in an area outside of one’s major.
“I studied in the department of humanities and arts, but I have been studying by myself to prepare for a different field. The new system allows me to capitalize on the skills I have gained outside of my major.”
For some, the system has already provided them with good opportunities.
A 28-year-old Kim, a graduate of Chonbuk National University, feels confident about the system which has won him a job at Lotte Cinema this year.
“It was a way to show my authentic self,” Kim said, adding that he was not asked about his credentials during the hiring process.
Those recruited through the system had diverse backgrounds and were from different universities _ from abroad as well as within and outside of Seoul.
“And because the recruiters were not given any typical information, such as university attended, pictures, gender, and even age, they also tried harder to really see through us,” he said. “It was a difficult process. Within a short span of 10 to 20 minutes, I had to win over the interviewers. Yet, if you are really fit for the position, I believe it is a great chance to show yourself.”