The recruitment for public sector banks’ probationary officers and clerks might now be patterned on the civil services examination. After a common entrance test, the finance ministry is considering centralised interviews and common eligibility criteria for selection of candidates in all state-run banks.
Selection boards, comprising officers from various banks and outside experts, could be set up in different parts of the country to conduct interviews, whereas in the current system interviews are held at the banks concerned. A common fee and cut-off marks is also prescribed for all banks.
“We want to rationalise the process so that there is no multiple level screening. The same sets of people are appearing for all the interviews and the moment they get through their preferred bank, they quit the other. In this system there will be minimum attrition,” a finance ministry official told Business Standard.
The shortlisted candidates will be asked to apply for the banks in the order of their preference, as in the case of Union Public Service Commission examination. Allocation of the banks will be made on the basis of merit. The higher the rank, the brighter the chances of a candidate getting an ‘A’ category bank.
To make the process of selection fair and transparent, the finance ministry is also planning to reduce the weightage given to the interview to 20 per cent from 50 per cent usually given in the existing structure. In the proposed system, the written examination will carry 80 percentage weightage.
The issue will be taken up in the next meeting of the Institute of Banking Personnel Selection (IBPS) in August. The autonomous body is engaged in recruitment of personnel and internal promotion in banks and financial institutions. The common entrance test for banks is also conducted by the IBPS.
The official added if the written examination was to be given a higher weightage to reduce chances of nepotism in the interview process, the IBPS could raise the standard of the test to ensure that only deserving candidates made it to the last round. Only graduates between 21 and 30 years of age and 55 per cent marks with computer knowledge could be allowed for the written test.
In September 2010, the ministry had asked banks to move to a common entrance test to address the issues involved in hiring and retaining talent. This new approach, however, did not address the problem fully as banks continued to have different eligibility criteria, fees and interviews for the jobs seekers. This resulted in duplication of efforts with the candidates being screened at two levels.
More than 1.6 million people appear in bank probationary officer and clerk exams last year. Currently a degree in any discipline is the only requirement for the entrance test conducted by IBPS, but many banks ask for minimum marks or computer knowledge.
Besides, due to a substantial difference in the cut off prescribed by the IBPS and the banks, many candidates never get an interview call. A common test as well as interview is expected to bring down the recruitment cost as well as time for banks.