Application Advice

Giving our customers the best means hiring great people. Our application and selection process reflects that. We’ve designed it to make sure your skills and experiences are well matched to the role you’re applying for. It’s thorough, transparent, and fair to all.

Learning about RBS

We think it’s important that you have all the information and support you need to make a decision about starting a career with us. If you haven’t already, learn more about our people, businesses and culture in our blog. If you want to learn more about our strategy, visit RBS.com.

Finding a role

If you decide you want to join us, start by taking a look through our current opportunities. You can search by keyword, location or job type to help you find the right role. And if you don’t find what you’re looking for now, remember that you can register with our Talent Network.

If you’re not sure what kind of role you’re looking for, we’ve written some pieces on our blog that may be helpful. You might want some help in working out what your career drivers are, or you can read about steps you can take to help you find your dream job.

Applying for the role

Once you’ve found the right role, it’s time to think about how to put your best foot forward. We’ll talk you through the typical stages when you apply to join us, and we have plenty of advice on how to shine during the selection process.

Note that the selection stages themselves can be different depending on the type of role you apply for, which of our businesses it’s part of, and how senior it is. But you should expect your application to follow the same overall process.

Creating a great CV

We’ve written on our blog before about what to include in your CV, so take a look if you’re starting from a blank page and need some help to get started.

Once you’ve got the basics in hand, it’s time to think about the one thing your CV exists to do: securing you an interview.

There’s no secret formula, and competition is often fierce. For example, we might receive dozens or even hundreds of applications for a single role where we only plan to interview three people. So remember that sometimes the numbers just aren’t in your favour and you may be unlucky.

Here are couple of things to think about if you want to improve your chances.

Think about the reader – It can be easy to forget in the online world, but once you’ve submitted your CV it will be read by another person. They’ll make a decision whether to give you a chance to go to the next stage, or to say no. So it’s worth taking some time to think about that person, and about what they’re looking for.

Make it relevant – If you’re applying to lots of different roles, there’s no doubt it can be hard work to tailor your CV to each one. But we absolutely advise that you do. You’re far more likely to get a positive response if you take the time to understand what it is the recruiter wants, and to really show how you can provide it.

Start with the job posting. Get a really firm picture of what the recruiter is looking for, and the skills, experiences and personal qualities that make up their ideal applicant. Once you have that, do your best to show how you meet their criteria through your CV. And make sure you say it clearly; don’t leave it to implication and to chance.

Sell yourself – Try thinking of your CV as a sales brochure, and think about what makes a sales brochure work well. Sometimes beautiful presentation and images can help, but mostly when we look at a sales brochure we want to know what we’re getting, what it’s made of, and what the benefits to us are. We want to find that information quickly and easily rather than having to go searching for it, and we want it to be simple to understand.

Try to apply the same approach to your CV. Instead of using the first half a page to list your contact details and education – which for many of us won’t really be relevant to the job we’re applying for – consider using it to give the reader a succinct, clear understanding of who you are as an employee, what your skills are, and what you can do for them if you get the job. Start off well, and they’re much more likely to stay with you until the end.

A personal statement – normally a brief paragraph or series of bullet points setting out your background, what you’re good at, and what you’re looking for – can be a really effective way to do this. Keep it concise and impactful. It should be easy to read, so don’t let your sentences get too complicated.

You might also consider dedicating sections of your CV to talking about your main skills and strengths, or to highlighting the most important and impressive achievements from your career. Remember to put them into context though. A list of a person’s supposed strengths in isolation isn’t persuasive. Back them up with a one sentence outline of how you’ve demonstrated or developed them, and they become a lot more convincing.

A section for your achievements can be a great way to build a picture of how effective you are, and to give the most impressive things you’ve done proper weight. If you just list them under the relevant jobs in your career history, there’s a risk they won’t stand out and may get passed over. We suggest using verbs to create a sense of action, and show that you were the one who made things happen.

Another trick to help you guide your reader’s idea of you is to repeat key words. These might be the main skills you’re trying to sell, or they could be key verbs like ‘negotiated’, or ‘led’. Don’t overdo it or it will stand out in the wrong way and feel contrived, but 3-4 strategic uses of a word like ‘influenced’ spread across your CV can leave your reader with the clear impression that you’re great at using your knowledge and connections to cause things to happen.

Submitting your application

When you’ve found the role you want, click the ‘Apply’ button to open the application form. We’ll ask you to upload your CV, and to enter your personal information including your email address. You’ll be able to use your email address later in the 'My Applications' log-in area to track your application. Please complete all the required fields in the form before you submit it, and make sure you give us as much information as possible to show why you’re right for the job.

Video assessment

For some of our roles you will be required to complete a video assessment after you have submitted your application. Video assessments are conducted for branch-based and telephony roles in RBS, Royal Bank of Scotland, Ulster Bank Coutts and NatWest. If you are required to complete a video assessment you will be told about this in the first stages of your online application. More information and advice on completing a video assessment can be found here.

The selection stage

Once we’ve reviewed your application and agreed your skills and experiences are a good fit, we’ll let you know we’re moving your application to the next stage. Feel free to ask any questions about the role, about us, or about the selection process at this stage.

Depending on the role, the selection stage might involve multiple interviews, including technical, HR or competency questions. Or we might ask you to complete an online work-style assessment as part of your application. Our recruitment team will explain exactly what the interview and assessment process will be.

Nailing the face-to-face interview

When it comes to interviews, preparation is key. Your interview is your chance to show how suitable you are to the role; not just in terms of technical skills and knowledge, but also your fit in the team. Research the role, the company, and the business area before your interview. We recommend looking over a company’s social media presence at least as carefully as their corporate website, as it tends to show a different side of their ‘personality’ and be much quicker-moving.

Start to think about the key skills your interviewers might be looking for and the sort of questions they may ask you. Think about your key experiences as well, and about the skills you’ve demonstrated.

This is also the perfect time to think about a personal pitch, and to practice and perfect a quick summary about you, and what you offer. If you’ve followed our advice on CV writing, you should have a useful platform already.

In the room

Use positive communication – both through your words and your body language – to begin to build rapport with your interviewer and put both of you at ease. Make sure you greet them with a handshake and smile. Sit forward in your chair rather than slouch, show that you’re listening and that you understand, and use eye contact – but not too much – to engage.

Almost everyone feels at least a little nervous in an interview, and more than a few of us get serious nerves. Using positive body language and behaviour can be a great shortcut to help you feel more comfortable; you’ll appear more confident, and nine times out of ten you’ll notice your interviewers start to mirror your positive gestures and expressions. That feedback should then start to help you feel more relaxed.

Answering the questions

Be honest. Focus on what you’ve done, and let your experience speak for itself – the company chose to speak to you, so remember that you have something they’re looking for.

Take your time to answer the questions, and let your interviewer know if you need to take a moment to think through your answer. If you feel yourself talking too quickly, make a conscious effort to take a depth breath to try and slow your speech down. If your hands are shaking, try pressing them against each other.

No two interviews are the same, and there are a number of different styles and approaches in common use by companies to explore if you have the right skills and character to join them. At RBS we often use competency based interview questions. That is, questions where we ask you to tell us about a real time when you were in a specific kind of situation, and what you did to resolve it.

When you’re facing this type of question, make sure you build your answer around one particular occasion that you experienced, and focus on what it was that you did personally. Try to remember to use the STAR technique to structure your answers:

  • Situation: Briefly set the scene so that your interviewer understands the context
  • Task: What did you need to achieve?
  • Action: What did you actually do? This should make up the meat of your answer
  • Result: What was the outcome? Make sure it’s appropriate to the question

Receiving a conditional offer

If you’re successful in the selection process, we’ll make you an offer and give you a provisional start date. At this stage it’s fair to say that we want you on the team, but we want it to be the right move for you as well as for us. We always recommend thinking one more time about whether the role is the right one before you commit.

At this stage your recruiter will keep in touch with you and will answer any questions you have. They’ll also support you with any steps involved to confirm your offer.

Pre-Employment Screening

We carry out a number of checks on all our new starters. Most checks are on the personal information you’ve given us, such as address history. Depending on the role we might also include additional checks, such as educational. Your offer of employment is conditional on clearing this process.

On-boarding

Welcome aboard! Once you’ve joined us we’ll give you a full induction to your role and how we work. We’ll also assign you an on-boarding partner to help you settle in.

Talent Network