You can be on Entrepreneur’s cover!

Fake Job Interviews: The Dark Side of Wells Fargo's 'Diversity' Efforts Former and current employees speak up on witnessing "fake" diversity efforts by the bank, giving interviews to diverse candidates for jobs that had already been filled.

By Madeline Garfinkle

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In a well-intentioned initiative gone wrong, current and former employees at Wells Fargo have come forward with details on how the bank carried out its diversity and inclusion efforts: fake interviews.

Joe Bruno, a former executive at Wells Fargo, is one of seven individuals who have spoken up about a troubling system wherein they were instructed by direct bosses or HR managers to hold interviews for "diverse" candidates — which the bank defined as women and people of color — for positions that had already been filled.

The individuals who have spoken out were either told to give the interviews, aware of the practice or helped arrange it. The practice seemed to be a vehicle to record diversity efforts on paper, rather than carrying them out in reality.

Bruno, who has since been fired from the bank, told The New York Times that he shared his concerns about the system with his superiors, stating that the practice was "inappropriate, morally wrong, ethically wrong."

Wells Fargo claims that Bruno's dismissal was due to him retaliating against a colleague, but the former executive begs to differ, certain that his discharge was a direct result of flagging the diversity initiative of granting fake interviews.

Raschelle Burton, a Wells Fargo spokesperson, said "To the extent that individual employees are engaging in the behavior as described by The New York Times, we do not tolerate it," in a statement.

Burton shared that although she was aware of the informal policy, it was implemented in an earlier era that current executives have nothing to do with.

Related: Read Elizabeth Warren's Epic Smackdown of Wells Fargo CEO

Back in 2020, Wells Fargo chief executive Charles W. Scharf pledged to expand inclusion efforts, but he added that the bank had trouble meeting diversity goals because there was not enough qualified minority talent. He later apologized for the statement that angered employees and outsiders alike — after it became public.

According to Burton, 77% of those hired at Wells Fargo in 2020 were not white men, and 81% of those hired in 2021 were not white men, but she failed to disclose how many of the roles pay more than $100,000 per year — reiterating previous claims by current and former employees that minority candidates were hired for low-paying roles and interviewed for positions that had already been filled.

The troubling system carried out by Wells Fargo highlights what can go wrong when well-intentioned initiatives lack transparency, thus creating pathways to get around the initiative, rather than carrying it out as intended.

Three current employees said they conducted fake job interviews or knew of them as recently as this year.

Related: Wells Fargo Drift Lower After Q2 Earnings

Madeline Garfinkle

News Writer

Madeline Garfinkle is a News Writer at Entrepreneur.com. She is a graduate from Syracuse University, and received an MFA from Columbia University. 

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Business News

Side Hustles Are Soaring as Entrepreneurs Start Businesses Working Part- or Full-Time Elsewhere, According to a New Report

The younger the entrepreneur, the more likely they were to start a business as a side hustle.

Side Hustle

This Insurance Agent Started a Side Hustle Inspired By Nostalgia for His Home State — Now It Earns Nearly $40,000 a Month

After moving to New York City, Danny Trejo started a business to stay in touch with his roots — literally.

Business Ideas

63 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.

Business News

Scrabble Makes First Change to Its Board in Over 75 Years

The new roll out is only available in Europe as of now.

Growing a Business

Want to Become an Industry Leader? Be a Guest on Podcasts — But Not the Ones You Think

If you are trying to promote your new product or service, there's a simple yet effective way to stand out from the rest.

Business News

CPI Report: Inflation Rose More Than Expected in March, Driven By Housing and Energy Costs

The average U.S. household is paying $227 more per month for goods compared to one year ago.