Wells Fargo hits break on diverse slate hiring policy after ‘fake interview’ debacle

Wells Fargo is putting its diverse slate hiring guidelines on hold following a report that the policy requiring interviews with a diverse pool of candidates led to “fake interviews” with minority candidates for positions that had already been promised to someone else.

CEO Charles Scharf told employees Monday in a letter shared with FOX Business that while the company continues to “believe strongly in the value of diverse candidate slates,” the practice will be put on hold to review the guidelines “and how they’ve been operationalized .”

Charles Scharf, chief executive officer of Wells Fargo & Co., speaks at a panel discussion during the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, US, on Monday, Oct. 18, 2021. (Kyle Grillot/Bloomberg via Getty Images/Getty Images)

He emphasized that the company is still deeply committed to diversity, equity and inclusion, and that the review of its hiring protocol does not change that.

“Make no mistake: we will continue to actively seek diversity in hiring, even during this pause,” Scharf wrote. “The pause is a chance for us to review our guidelines and processes and to make improvements — it does not mean that anyone at Wells Fargo should stop hiring or stop actively recruiting diverse candidates. Upon completion of our review, we will make adjustments to our various slate program where appropriate and relaunch it during the month of July.”

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The New York Times reported last month that Joe Bruno, a former executive in the wealth management division at Wells Fargo, claimed the company would interview minority candidates for positions to adhere to an informal policy promoting diversity but noticed that the candidates were often interviewing for positions that had already been filled.

Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo bank entrance, Midtown, Manhattan. (Photo by: Lindsey Nicholson/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images/Getty Images)

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Bruno said he was fired last summer after telling his superiors that the sham interviews were “inappropriate” and “ethically and morally wrong.” According to the Times, Bruno was one of seven current and former Wells Fargo employees who say they were instructed to interview “diverse” candidates even if the decision had already been made to hire a different candidate for the job.

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In a statement to Fox News Digital at the time, Wells Fargo said that it could not verify Bruno’s claim.

Wells Fargo

A Wells Fargo location in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke/AP Newsroom)

“We researched all specific claims the reporter shared with us in advance of the story’s publication and could not corroborate the claims as factual,” a spokesperson for the company said.

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The spokesperson added that Wells Fargo “will continue our internal review and if we find evidence of inappropriate behavior or shortcomings in our guidelines or their implementation, we will take decisive action.”

Reuters contributed to this report.

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