CV blind companies demoralise students

Policies which hide attendance to well respected institutions reduce the importance of trying hard to secure a place at them

A leading British law firm has recently shaken up its application process by implementing a new recruiting process, in an effort to rid any bias towards Oxbridge, Russell Group graduates and those educated at the country’s leading independent schools.

With a graduate starting salary of £39 000 Clifford Chance, one of five law firms who make up the ‘Magic Circle’, has quietly introduced a ‘CV blind’ policy in which staff are unable to see which university or school applicants have come from. Under the new Intelligent Aid scheme candidates wishing to bag a place on the firm’s coveted vacation scheme can submit a 500 word essay on a topic important to the firm with the CV blind policy in force. With an intake of 100 applicants representing 57 different universities, a sharp 30 per cent rise from the previous year, I ask myself is a CV blind policy a good thing?

Clifford Chance recruits from the UK’s leading universities securing the smartest and most able candidates to step into the demanding world of corporate law. Many eminent Law firms, Investment Banks and companies do the same to make sure only the best are selected to fill sought-after graduate schemes. However, if those companies were to all introduce CV blind policies into their recruiting process it really be wouldn’t be fair. Well at least for those at Britain’s top universities. Everyone here at the University of York has worked hard to secure a place at a respected institution to further their future careers, but with a procedure like the CV blind applications in place there are even more hurdles in a world where obtaining a good career is becoming ever more challenging. Students will be left questioning their reasons to gain places at prestigious universities when the same career can be achieved by attending a polytechnic or a mediocre university. The audacity of Clifford Chance masking the hard work students have put in by achieving degrees from top universities is unfair, almost putting them into disrepute.

What many won’t fathom is the stark difference in degrees between certain universities. A law, economics or geography degree at a bottom 50 university is not nearly as challenging or rigorous to that at Oxford or York, even though they may meet the minimum 340 UCAS point requirement. After years studying for a degree students want their achievements to be noted and recognised not cast away that they should be almost penalised for attending a top university but proud to show-off a great achievement from world class institutions.

The reason why Law firms and Investment banks are filled with Oxbridge graduates and those from a small selection of universities is nothing more than these graduates being the most talented and intelligent. Employers target certain universities, with many having campus ambassadors to represent them, due to the institutions forging excellent reputations for teaching and exceptional students who have gained places at the UK’s most selective schools. This isn’t about social mobility, but about those who have worked hard being rewarded. The more I think about it the more I ask myself, ‘Is elitism good?’ …undoubtedly.

22 comments

  1. You’ve completely missed the point of what Clifford Chance’s CV blind policy is. The application form hasn’t changed at all, so you can talk about your university as much as you like.

    The key difference is that in the partner interview, they won’t have seen your CV. This stops them building up an image of a person by having a look at which Oxbridge college they attended and then chatting about which professors they then shared. It doesn’t prevent people who have worked hard from drawing on their academic achievements. What it does do, is help CC find candidates with potential, rather than those who have just achieved well so far. For instance, those that attended independent schools are far more likely to have gone to Oxbridge etc.

    For the record, York isn’t a target university for Clifford Chance, so this policy will certainly be helping students of the university!

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  2. The Clifford Chance initiative is but a small step forward on the long road to ensuring that graduates are judged on what they have achieved and not on which school or university that they attended or on A-level grades achieved 3 year or more years previously. The whole point of education and higher education is to enhance understanding and improve educational outcomes. Why should less value be placed on those who have travelled the further distance in terms of attainment rather than those who progressed as might be expected ? Graduates deserve a level playing field and employers are likely to benefit in terms of business outcomes as a result of the greater diversity in the workforce which this level playing field is likely to promote.
    Pam Tatlow
    million+
    http://www.millionplus.ac.uk

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  3. hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

    it almost seems like you are playing Nouse comment bingo

    pointlessly contentious argument against a popular policy? check
    swollen sense of own superiority? check
    a bottom line which LITERALLY reinforces the idea of elitism as a good thing? check

    i just. i can’t even. *slow clap*

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  4. I’m finding it hard to see the big deal here. If you’ve gone to a prestigious university because you’re the best student, you should still come out as the best student – and so the most employable. You shouldn’t have any trouble with competition from graduates of a less reputable university. I mean there’s no way there could be an applicant able to demonstrate they’ve gained a better education than you, or that has sort out and gained more valuable abilities and experiences over their time studying. The achievements of an institution and it’s past attendees directly impacts on how well educated and intelligent an individual graduate is, and how well they will preform in a job environment. There’s nothing to worry about!

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  5. 21 Jan ’14 at 7:57 pm

    Jade Richardson

    Wow, one article I agree with on here that isn’t written by a stuck up socialist. What was the point of us working hard in college to get into a good university when we could have been fucking about and going to a mediocre university such as St Johns, only to get the same opportunities.

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  6. Personally, I agree with the Clifford Tower policy. Why should we agree with egalitarianism, a process in which a small group of society is better off than others

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  7. I don’t see how anyone here at York could be in favour of a CV blind policy…darn socialists

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  8. What the other commenter said about York not being a target uni. This kind of scheme is beneficial to York grads – interviewing partners aren’t going to be favouring you because you went to York

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  9. You go to a good university to acquire skills and get the best teaching possible, not to say that you went there and get immediate respect from companies. If you have worked sufficiently on your communication and argumentative skills whilst studying here, you should be able to outclass York St. John’s students. Otherwise, it appears to me that you’re paranoid that your university isn’t really teaching you that well and you want to benefit by just saying you went there. It’s not “socialist” to see university as more of something to provide intrinsic benefits.

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  10. I would fucking rather eat dog shit than go to York St John university. A lot of people including myself and sideshow bob (who works at the library) go to university solely for the reputation and nothing else. Fuck the education.
    Its not rocket science that the employer would no doubt pick the Oxbridge student over the polytechnic (poor excuse for university) student.

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  11. Tyrone you fucking stuck up cunt. How dare you talk down on york st john. I’ll have you know I graduated there with a 1st class honours last year and am now working at a reputable company earning a decent wage.
    I’m about to have my 7th child and with all this money coming in, it’s safe to say that I can retire soon and finally rest my feet at willow.

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  12. Elitism..at York..surprise!

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  13. Why should students from shitty universities have a chance when it matters. If they worked hard from the beginning they would have gone to a great uni which should have lead to a great career in a reputable company. Fuck all the firms that’ll implement this, they’ll be the ones who will have to deal with dumb fuckers.

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  14. Amazing absolutely amazing!! great article!

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  15. 24 Jan ’14 at 3:31 pm

    Olivia Halliwell

    I agree in most aspects – essentially we are paying £9000 a year so we can write ‘York University Degree’ on our CVs. We’ve worked hard for this, to take it away from us would also take away some of the motivation to get into a reputable university.

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  16. @Olivia: Sadly, elitism may ensure that those who instead write ‘University of York’ on their CVs will stand a better chance.

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  17. Touché Tyrone

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  18. Why is everyone so hung up on the university’s name? Whether or not that is on the form, being well educated by a good university like York will show through on other parts of the form.

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  19. To the comment above me. You clearly have no idea what you’re on about. Go back to York St John.

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  20. Some degrees from the top 20 universities are much harder to gain a 1st than universities which are ranked 50 and below.

    This reminds me of how men generally do harder degrees than women such as physics and engineering and get 2.2 while mostly women do the soft degrees and get 2.1 and get more interviews and job offers.

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  21. There are numerous reasons why someone might not have got into a top 20 university or target uni for a company such as Clifford Chance. They might have gone to a terrible secondary school, had a rubbish home life or other mitigating factors preventing them from getting good grades at school. For many university may be the first opportunity to study without these hindrances. There is a lot more to it than simply ‘talent & intelligence.’

    Secondly, the university which an individual attended & their grades reflect only a small amount of the capabilities of a candidate. Having gone to York & got a First is all very well but in no way entitles you to a job. Someone from a lesser university & even with lesser grades may be more commercially aware & better able to work with clients. Widening the pool of candidates who have the opportunity to attend interview is in my view a good way in which a company may get to find the most well-rounded individuals.

    This system clearly just widens the net for people getting to interview – not necessarily getting a job. If Oxbridge/York candidates truly have got to their universities purely on the basis of hard work, talent & intelligence then there is clearly nothing to worry about as this will show at interview.

    In any case, I believe that in addition to the Intelligent Aid scheme Clifford Chance have maintained their traditional vacation scheme and training contract application system.

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  22. I think they should show our University on applications. I have worked for my right to be here, and I’m proud of that. Great article!

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