Nationwide chooses cut-e to improve its graduate selection

January 31, 2018 Aon's Assessment Solutions


‘Escape room’ challenge engages candidates and delivers rigorous assessment.

Assessment specialist cut-e has helped Nationwide, the world’s biggest building society, to enhance its graduate selection process with new online screening tests and a redesigned assessment centre which includes an ‘escape room’ challenge that assesses relevant competencies and behaviours.

cut-e helped Nationwide to create an engaging and scientifically-robust assessment process that enables it to recruit 65 successful graduates each year, from 3,000 applicants.

“Our aim is to recruit positive and productive graduates who can hit the ground running, work effectively in teams and become our future leaders,” said Hannah Crawley, Occupational Psychologist and Assessment Manager at Nationwide. “Our challenge was to evolve our selection process so that we could assess not only the competencies but also the potential of candidates in a meaningful way. We also wanted to improve the candidate experience and position Nationwide as a modern, forward-thinking organisation.”

After researching the assessment market, Nationwide partnered with cut-e and introduced a verbal reasoning test, a problem-solving ability test, a values assessment and a personality questionnaire to initially screen the graduate applicants.

“cut-e’s online assessments are underpinned by robust science and they’re shorter and fresher than anything we’ve used before,” said Hannah Crawley. “They help us to identify candidates who share our values and they provide insights on each individual’s aspirations, drive, emotional intelligence and intellectual capacity.”

Nationwide worked with cut-e to redesign its assessment centre to incorporate a new suite of exercises including an ‘escape room’. This is a 25-minute challenge in which candidates solve a series of clues that help them to uncover the padlock combinations to five boxes, the last of which holds the key to escape from the room.

“The escape room is an innovative way to assess the problem solving and creative thinking abilities of candidates, as well as how they collaborate and work together,” said Hannah Crawley. “The escape room is part of a suite of exercises designed by cut-e, to create an assessment centre that’s fun and engaging throughout. It provides a good opportunity for candidates to showcase their skills in a range of settings.”

To date, Nationwide has run ten assessment centres, in Swindon and Northampton, with five candidates attending each centre. More are planned. Feedback from Nationwide’s hiring managers reveals that cut-e’s initial screening assessments are delivering a stronger pipeline of candidates.

“cut-e’s tests have resulted in a much higher conversion rate in our assessment centres,” said Hannah Crawley. “The quality of candidates coming through the process is significantly higher than previously, reflected in an assessment centre pass rate that is almost double our previous figures.”
The Society has also received encouraging feedback from candidates. “Many candidates have told us that ours is the most exciting and interesting assessment centre they’ve attended,” added Hannah Crawley. “This is the Holy Grail for recruiters - to hear that candidates are enjoying the process while knowing that we are collecting and analysing data that will help us make the best hiring decisions.”

For further information about candidate screening tests and assessment centres, please visit or read the full case study here.

Background notes: Founded in 2002, cut-e (pronounced ‘cute’) is part of Aon Assessment Solutions, a group within Aon plc (NYSE: AON), a leading global professional services firm providing a broad range of risk, retirement and health solutions. cut-e provides online tests, questionnaires and gamified assessments for attraction, selection, talent management and development. Aon Assessment Solutions undertakes 30 million assessments each year in 90 countries and 40 languages. For further information, please call Amanda Dawson (PR contact) on +44(0)20-8953-8863 or e-mail her at


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Aon creates smart measurement solutions with valid and innovative online assessment products. Aon is globally the preferred partner for organisations who demand the best.

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