10 Jan 2018

Nationwide asks prospective candidates to escape before they've even been offered a job

  • Nationwide introduces unique new assessment for graduates and apprentices
  • Escape room format mirrors popular games like Crystal Maze and Krypton Factor
  • Latest element will complement more traditional ways of assessing new talent

A revolutionary new way of recruiting has been adopted by Nationwide – the world’s biggest building society – as it puts prospective candidates through a series of logical and problem solving exercises to assess relevant behaviours in an escape room challenge.
In a nod to The Crystal Maze and The Krypton Factor, the escape room format is designed to identify core behaviours such as the ability to collaborate with others and display creative thinking.
Working with Nationwide’s own occupational psychologists and those of our assessment partner cut-e, the escape room has been introduced for the Society’s emerging talent applicants, including graduates and apprentices.
Candidates are allocated 25 minutes to solve a series of clues which help them uncover the padlock combinations to five boxes, the last of which holds the key to escape from the room. The clues require candidates to solve a series of logical challenges, including code breaking, crosswords and spatial puzzles.
Katrina Hutchinson-O’Neill, Nationwide’s Director of Resourcing, said: “Just as we value the fresh insight, enthusiasm and drive our graduates and apprentices bring to the Society, it’s important that we reciprocate this approach. The refresh of cult classic game show, The Crystal Maze, is a great example of the resurgence in popularity of group problem solving tasks. Our escape room concept is very much the resourcing equivalent.”
Hannah Crawley, Nationwide’s Resourcing Assessment Manager, adds: “Key is that we don’t want to compromise the quality and robustness of the assessment but we do want to offer something new, current and exciting that will engage this demographic of candidates, and help us identify future talent for Nationwide.”
The application process includes screening candidates through a series of online assessments to highlight both ability and potential for success. Candidates who are successful are then invited to a digital assessment centre where they complete the escape room experience as well as a strength-based interview and a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style individual exercise, where candidates have to pitch their business plan for a fictional company to an investor for sponsorship.
Harry Dhillon, Nationwide Graduate Scheme inductee, commented: “The overall experience took me by surprise. Being used to competency based interviews, this assessment centre was a refreshing change. In particular, the escape room challenge and the digital aspect of the tasks. Overall, the process allowed me to showcase my skills and passion across each of the elements. The Nationwide assessment centre was the best I’ve attended; a truly rewarding experience.”

About Nationwide
Nationwide is the world's largest building society as well as one of the largest savings providers and a top-three provider of mortgages in the UK. It is also a major provider of current accounts, credit cards, ISAs and personal loans. Nationwide has around 15 million customers.
Customers can manage their finances in a branch, via the mobile app, on the telephone, internet and post. The Society has around 18,000 employees. Nationwide's head office is in Swindon with administration centres based in Northampton, Bournemouth and Dunfermline. The Society also has a number of call centres across the UK.