It may not rank as a major e-commerce initiative, but Bank One Corp. has found a new application for its automated teller machines - as a way to find new employees.
Not content to limit itself to classified ads or employee referrals, the Chicago-based banking company has been printing toll-free fax numbers on its ATM slips to encourage customers and noncustomers to send in their resumes.
Through the first two weeks of February, Bank One received 253 resumes from around the country, a spokesman said. It was too soon to report whether any of the applicants has been hired, he added.
The hiring drive coincides with cost-cutting at Bank One's credit card and retail banking units. Pink slips have been going out since January to employees at First USA Inc., the Wilmington, Del.-based credit card unit whose weak revenues have dragged down Bank One's performance the last several months.
In a broad restructuring, Bank One is also laying off employees in its auto lending, home equity, and other consumer finance units as it closes or consolidates offices. The exact number of jobs to be eliminated will not be disclosed until this spring.
Still, Bank One is looking to fill hundreds of positions, from teller to mortgage banker all the way up to chief executive officer. Asked about the practice of using ATM receipts to help fill these posts, Lee Pomeroy, an executive recruiter at Egon Zehnder International in New York, said, "Well, it's one way to avoid a search fee."
But it could indicate the economy is overheating, Mr. Pomeroy added. "When people start putting signs in windows or notes on ATM slips," he said, "that's a clear sign of an upcoming recession."
Bank One spokesman Thomas Kelly said tight labor pools in the company's core markets have forced it to be resourceful in getting prospective employees' attention. Advertising and branding consultants described the ATM-slip experiment as a low-cost approach.
The notices appear in space otherwise reserved for promoting Bank One products. Many other banks use the white space in a similar manner.
The ATM promotion, originally scheduled to run only in February, will be repeated this year, Mr. Kelly said.