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We’ll come to you.

When I get a warm and fuzzy feeling about a bank it's usually because I'm watching a tearjerker TV commercial. Some bank has rebuilt a blighted neighborhood or loaned an underprivileged mom the dough to build a bakery.

Until recently, I never saw a commercial that made me want to work for a bank. Between the mortgage crisis, the falling dollar, bank consolidations, and layoffs, the financial services field seems just as appealing to me as military service.

Upon learning that Bank of America had acquired Countrywide Financial, the nation's largest mortgage lender, for the bargain basement price of $4 billion most people would have called their stock broker or sussed out the situation on Yahoo! Finance. Not me, I checked out B-of-A's careers site.

So why is this banking giant tugging at our heartstrings? Here's something you might not have considered in view of its layoffs: the giant bank is talent constrained.

You can tell Bank of America has invested a few bucks to create one of the better career sites in the financial services field. I recently interviewed the SVP in charge of the operation. You would think I was probing him about the New England Patriots' playbook for all the answers he gave me.

"It is meant to connect the candidates to the culture," reveals the possibly gregarious Thomas Becker, SVP of Talent Sourcing.

Becker wouldn't tell me what adding video to their site had done, except to say it had done good things. He was non-responsive about any of the following post-video changes:

  • Site traffic (percentage increase)?
  • Resumes (percentage increase)?
  • Better candidates?

Despite Becker's reluctance to discuss specifics of his careers site, here's what I like about it:

  • You're greeted by a video-based avatar of an actual bank employee who introduces you to the site. Despite the otherworldliness of an avatar, it has a warm feel to it.
  • The site has tools designed to push candidates who don't know the bank very well to target specific lines of businesses and locations.
  • The site features interview tips, including a recommended note back to the interviewer. This approach makes sense, particularly for Gen Y candidates who are unfamiliar with the process of applying for corporate jobs.
  • There's a separate part of the site for college students - where the bank harvests many of its entry-level workers.
  • The site includes global jobs not just those in Charlotte or San Francisco but also in Antwerp, Dublin, Madrid, and Milan.

Of course, the careers site is just one part of the bank's initiatives to tap the global talent pool. "It is the preferred method," allows Becker. To the bank's credit they have managed to apply both scale and a bit of 'culture' to the job applicant's experience. Other career sites will surely follow.

Rusty Weston, My Global Career • San Francisco, Ca • •