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Why I named Bank of America the inaugural Talent Magnet benchmark winner

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In my work with executive and strategic HR teams, I try my best to reinforce a simple truth: Top talent always has a choice.

The days of overflowing candidate pools are in the distant past. The best candidates today are sophisticated job shoppers who do as much homework as they can before they make the effort to kick off the application process. What this means for employers is that if you can’t attract ideal candidates, you won’t earn the opportunity to interview them.

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I recently shared my research and advice for employers who want to ensure their earliest candidate experience is meeting the expectations and interests of these modern job shoppers. 

To build on that foundation, I decided to conduct a side-by-side comparison of first impressions and employer brands in the banking industry. I converted my research findings into a four-point rubric for five distinct criteria:

  • Organization transparency
  • Work transparency
  • Employee advocacy 
  • Social engagement and visibility 
  • Application experience. 

This yielded a 100-point scale that can be objectively applied to any given set of comparable employers. (I’ve included a more detailed methodology at the end of this post.)

Owing to employers’ interest in attracting top talent, I refer to the results as a “Talent Magnet” benchmark.

Results and commentary

Here are the overall Talent Magnet benchmark results for the 10 largest banks in the U.S.


1Bank of America81
2Capital One79
3U.S. Bank75
4Goldman Sachs74
6Wells Fargo71
7PNC Bank70
9JPMorgan Chase66
10TD Bank62

As this is a first-of-its-kind benchmark, I’ll begin by sharing a few high-level observations:

Bank of America nabbed the top spot, scoring 81 total points out of an available 100 points. Capital One and U.S. Bank rounded out the Top 3, with 79 and 75 total points, respectively. I consider a 70 to be a passing score, meaning that three banks—Citibank, JPMorgan Chase, and TD Bank—failed to make the grade.

It’s important to note that even the best-performing banks were found to be strong in some areas, while having room for improvement in others. In fact, summing the highest observed score on each criterion across the segment produced an eye-popping 97 points. The average score of the cohort, however, topped out at just under 72 points. This means that while these banks are capable of A+ work, they’re currently offering a C- experience, on average, to would-be applicants.

Best practices in banking

One of the key reasons I wanted to create and publish this type of benchmark is to educate all employers about best practices when it comes to attracting top talent. It’s helpful to see positive examples so we can emulate them in our own recruitment and employer branding efforts.

Here are a few exemplary results along with screenshots.

  1. Organizational values. Goldman Sachs earned high marks with its transparency, brevity, and specificity in this area. Job shoppers can quickly and easily determine what the company stands for and whether these values resonate with their own.

Source: Goldman Sachs

  1. Employee testimonials. JPMorgan Chase offers candidates several examples of employees working across the bank. Candidates want to see real stories from real people, and this treatment accomplishes that convincingly.

Source: JPMorgan Chase

  1. Candidate-specific chat. Candidates want quick answers to their questions, and they want to be able to find helpful resources when they need them. While some banks may only offer a generic email option, the U.S. Bank careers page provides a chat option designed specifically for job shoppers.

Source: U.S. Bank

Detailed breakdown of methodology

The Talent Magnet Benchmark also includes subcategory-level scores. I’m sharing those below for comprehensiveness.

Organization Transparency

1Bank of America17
2Capital One17
5Wells Fargo15
6PNC Bank14
7U.S. Bank14
8Goldman Sachs13
9JPMorgan Chase13
10TD Bank11

Work Transparency

1Bank of America15
2Capital One15
3U.S. Bank15
4Goldman Sachs14
5PNC Bank12
6TD Bank12
7Wells Fargo11
8JPMorgan Chase10

Employee Advocacy

1Capital One18
2Bank of America17
4U.S. Bank17
5Goldman Sachs16
7PNC Bank15
8JPMorgan Chase14
9Wells Fargo14
10TD Bank13

Social Engagement & Visibility

1Bank of America18
2Goldman Sachs18
3Capital One17
5U.S. Bank17
6Wells Fargo17
8JPMorgan Chase16
9PNC Bank16
10TD Bank16

Pre-Application Experience

1Bank of America14
2Wells Fargo14
3Goldman Sachs13
4JPMorgan Chase13
5PNC Bank13
6Capital One12
9U.S. Bank12
10TD Bank10

Congratulations to Bank of America, Capital One, Goldman Sachs, U.S. Bank, and Wells Fargo for achieving one or more best-in-class subcategory scores.

An eye to the future

In an effort to demystify the early candidate experience, this was an extremely informative benchmarking exercise. So what comes next?

Job shoppers are actively evaluating companies and roles across a wide variety of industries. Based on what I’ve seen in this inaugural banking benchmark, I’m now interested in what I’ll discover in other industries ranging from airlines to auto manufacturers, health care and hotels, to restaurants to retailers.

Who will win the next Talent Magnet benchmark? Stay tuned!

Benchmark methodology
The 10 largest banks in the United States were chosen based on a listing published by Bankrate.com. The respective publicly-accessible websites, Glassdoor profile, LinkedIn page, and Instagram and TikTok profiles of each bank were visited during the period of September 25, 2023 to September 30, 2023. Each criterion was evaluated on a scale of 1-4 using a standardized rubric. Subcategory scores were calculated and then summed to determine the overall scores. Banks are ranked by score (highest to lowest) and alphabetically in the case of a tie for the overall benchmark as well as for each subcategory.


Matt Poepsel, PhD is the author of Expand the Circle: Enlightened Leadership for Our New World of Work and host of the Lead the People podcast. He serves as Vice President & Godfather of Talent Optimization at The Predictive Index. He holds a PhD in Psychology, an MBA, and a Harvard Business School Certificate of Management Excellence. Matt has more than 25 years of leadership experience as a software executive and consultant. He’s also a US Marine, an Ironman triathlon finisher, and a student of Buddhist philosophy.

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