I thought it might be helpful to some if I shared my experience of applying to RBS recently! I’ll go through what happened at each stage and any tips I have.
So it starts with the online application form, as per. Just your contact details, education and employment history and then a couple of longer form questions like why you’ve chosen RBS and so on. Nothing to be too worried about.
After you submit your application, you’re automatically invited to take their Situational Judgement Test (SJT).
They say there are ‘no right or wrong answers’, but they are looking to see if you embody their core values of serving customers, working together, doing the right thing, and thinking long term.
The test gives you 15 scenarios to answer in 30 minutes. If you keep their values in mind then a good answer to each situation should be quite easy to identify.
You then wait to hear if you’ve advanced to the next stage – this usually only takes a day or two. The next bit consists of more tests: logical and numerical. I’m not sure exactly what kind of tests they’re using, but practicing with any SHL-style test or similar will definitely give you all the skills you need.
For the numerical test, you have to answer 12 questions. You get a minute and a half for the first question on a new set of data, and 75 seconds for each question after. If that makes sense. Like with other numerical tests, you’re analysing graphs and tables of data to answer questions – a straightforward format, but requires a decent amount of practice to be able to tackle it quickly.
The logical reasoning test gives you 75 seconds per question, each being abstract and logic based, such as pattern recognition. You’ll definitely want plenty of practice here to make sure you’re familiar with the format.
After these tests, I was invited to take their game-based assessment called Cosmic Cadet. Quite an interesting way of psychometric testing! Don’t be put off by the word ‘game’ – it doesn’t require any gaming skills or experience, and is essentially just another test in a more engaging format.
Stage 1 is all about risk – you have 12 boxes, one of which contains a black hole. If you click on the black hole, you’re moved onto the next stage. The goal is to open as many as possible without clicking on the black hole, and ideally moving onto the next stage without tapping on it.
Stage 2 is also all about risk. You’re collecting stars from rocks, and can choose between guaranteed 1 star, or uncertain 0 to 3 stars. Your aim is to gather as many stars as you can.
Stage 3 is about timing, tapping at the right time to launch a rocket to a planet. With each successful go, the next one becomes harder.
Stage 4 is a pattern memorisation game. And the final stage is about reaction speed, clicking at the right parts of the screen at the right time to collect stars.
Within a couple of days, you’ll hear back about whether you’ve passed!
Afterwards, there’s a phone interview. For me, this was split into three sections. The first is about RBS – they test your knowledge on what RBS does, why it’s different, and so on. Secondly, there are a few competency-based questions relating to the particular stream you’re applying for. And finally, a more general conversation. They’ll ask things like what you’re most proud of, your motivations, your experiences and stuff like that, so have some good concrete examples ready.
If they liked your phone interview, you’ll be invited to the assessment centre. As well as the tests and exercises you’ll be doing, remember that this is also a great chance to just talk to some RBS staff and trainees to learn more about the company and make a good impression.
First of all, we were asked to resit a numerical test. I believe this is to verify the results, so keep up your practice.
Next up, their ABLE test. This involves 21 questions to answer in 45 minutes. You’re presented with two tables, the first has financial data while the second has ratios that relate to the first. The questions revolve around you calculating investment risk based on the data and ratios, and the questions get harder as you go.
Then there were two case study exercises. The first was a solo one, where you’re given a fictional case study and have about half an hour to analyse it and come up with your findings and recommendations, which you then have to give a 10 minute presentation on with a Q&A after. The second case study was a group exercise – essentially the same as the first exercise, but this time in a role-played team meeting, so you’ll be analysing and discussing recommendations with your peers. This can be tricky depending on your group, but the important thing is to not let yourself be drowned out, but to also make sure you’re not drowning out others – you need to demonstrate that you’re a good team player as well as someone who can take the lead.
The day ended with a couple of interviews. One was competency based, so similar to the phone one and similar to many other interviews you’ll have had. You’ll be asked questions relating to the job you’re applying for, your CV will be scrutinised and so on.
The other was a situational interview designed to assess your personality much more. There were questions about the first things you’d do if shipwrecked, what you’d take out of a burning house and so on. Try to show some lateral thinking here, as well as good practical sense and a demonstration of their core values.
And that’s it! You should hear back within a couple of weeks with either an offer or a rejection and some feedback depending on how far through the process you got. Good luck, and please share your own experiences below!