Out with the old, and in with the new! Helping our emerging talent escape from traditional assessment

Escape room 1

We’ve introduced a unique new assessment centre for our emerging talent applicants including, in a nod to The Crystal Maze and Krypton Factor, an innovative “escape room” challenge.

How does it work?

As part of the process, the escape room concept sees candidates allocated with 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 3-D puzzles.

As well as testing the problem solving and creative thinking abilities of candidates, the escape room assesses how they collaborate and work together There are several different elements, so candidates are given a good opportunity to showcase their skills in a range of settings.

Traditionally, our graduate recruitment focused on core competencies such as teamwork, agility and problem solving with applications restricted to those who had achieved a first-class or 2:1 degree. This year however, we decided to broaden our applicant pool by including ‘potential’ as part of our hiring criteria. As we’ve recognised the need to place more of a focus on capability, potential and desire. After all, research has shown that these aspects can better highlight future stars!

What are the benefits?

The escape room exercise is a more engaging and immersive activity for candidates, coupled with a ‘Dragons Den’ style activity, which sees a business plan pitched for a fictional company, the overall process is a welcome progression to the standard competency based approach. Our hiring managers have revealed that candidates feel more at ease and perform at a higher level. As a result, the pass rate from our new assessment centres is almost double our previous figures.

We’ve also received positive feedback from candidates, a successful inductee, told us:

“ I’m used to competency-based interviews, so this assessment centre was a refreshing change. I enjoyed the escape room challenge and the digital aspect of the tasks. It was the best assessment centre I’ve attended. The process allowed me to showcase my skills and it was a truly rewarding experience. ”

Harry Dhillon

Student challenges

The escape room assessment centre is part of wider changes we’ve made to our emerging talent process this year, which includes removing the UCAS points from the application process, opening our schemes up to more graduates. We’re very aware that some students have to juggle multiple jobs whilst doing their degree; others may be single parents or they may have been caring for relatives at home. These aspects can impact on their final degree result.

For us, it doesn’t matter what classification someone achieved in their degree; if they’re the right fit for us, we want to give them an opportunity to come and show us their potential.

If you'd like to learn more about our emerging talent schemes, get in touch at graduates@nationwide.co.uk