Our application process has been designed to find out about who you are, and what makes you tick. It explores your motivation, and your talent in certain key areas we believe will help you succeed on one of our programmes.

There are some small differences depending on the programme you apply for, but for our intern and graduate programmes everyone will complete a short online form, our online tests and a telephone interview. For Summer Internships and Graduate Programmes specifically, the next step is to attend one of our assessment centres.

For general advice and help through the process, check out our impartial advice site Career Kickstart and click on ‘next steps’.

During the process, we’ll invite you to play a 30 minute game called Cosmic Cadet. You’ll be placed onboard the Star-ship Comet, where you’ll tackle a host of interstellar challenges across 6 levels. We think you’ll enjoy the game, but there’s a serious side to it as well. The challenges you overcome will help to measure some complex personality traits and deeper cognitive processes, like your resilience and persistence. Your score won’t be used as part of your assessment. We can adjust the game to make it fair for everyone, such as taking account of a disability. Please use your application form to let us know if you need us to consider making an adjustment for you. You might also want to read through some of our Frequently Asked Questions.

Application form

The online application from is your chance to tell us about your motivations for applying. It also captures your key information, such as contact details and educational history.

Top Tips
  • Tailor your application to RBS. Why are you interested in the bank, and why is the business area you've applied to right for you? If you covered up the name of the bank on your application, would it be clear you were talking about RBS? Find out as much as possible about our culture and values. You can also read about Our Standards.
  • Read through this website. If you can, come to careers events and talk to our people. Make sure you check out our Facebook pages, Twitter feed and LinkedIn employer profiles.
  • Use the research stage to find out details about the programme: what it involves, projects you might be involved in, development opportunities, teams you might work with … anything that helps your understanding, and shows you’ve gone that little bit further.
Online testing
Situational judgement test

Once you’ve submitted your application, we’ll automatically invite you to complete a test which presents you with real life work situations. There are no right or wrong answers here; we want to see if you share our values. The test has 15 scenarios, and should take you around 30 minutes.

Top Tips
  • Don't spend too much time thinking about the ‘right’ answer. If you don’t answer honestly, you could find yourself working in an environment that doesn’t suit you.
  • Try to find a quiet place where you can complete the test in one go, with no interruptions.

Logical and numerical reasoning tests

If you impress with your application form and score well on the situational judgement test, we’ll invite you to complete an online logical and numerical reasoning test. The logic side is designed to assess your ability to think conceptually and analytically. The numerical test measures your reasoning skills when using figures, data and statistics.

Top Tips
  • Get a feel for the type of questions before you take the tests. There are several websites offering practice tests, so take advantage of them. Your careers service should also be able to help you find them.
  • You’re likely to be presented with numerical data to analyse. If you don’t use them in your work or study, think about refreshing your memory on basic calculations like percentages and ratios.
  • Work through the test steadily and carefully.
  • Make sure you have everything you need before starting, including some rough paper, a calculator and a stable internet connection.
  • Be aware of the amount of time you have left to complete each question – there’s a timer to help you.
  • Don’t feel disheartened if you think you’ve done badly on a particular question – move on to the next one.
Telephone interviews

If you perform well in the reasoning tests, most business areas will invite you to take part in a telephone interview. It should last around 45 minutes.

We want to explore your career aspirations and find out why you see RBS as the place to achieve your potential. We take a strengths based approach to the interview so we can find out what you do well, and what you enjoy doing.

Using or talking about strengths makes people feel energised and enthusiastic, and it gives us a chance to focus on what makes you unique – to understand your passion.

Top Tips
  • Re-read your online application answers. Prepare the same way you would for a face-to-face interview.
  • Make sure you’re in a quiet place, without any distractions or disturbances.
  • If you’re using your mobile phone, make sure the battery is charged.
  • Smile and be passionate. We can’t see your body language or facial expressions, but they can make a real difference to your tone of voice.
Assessment centres

Impress in the telephone interview, and we’ll invite you to come to an assessment centre in one of our offices. Internships assessment centres last for half a day, while graduate programmes are a full day. For most business areas, the assessment centre will consist of a number of different types of exercise:


We use competency based interviews to find out how you’ve dealt with certain types of situations in the past. In our graduate assessment centres, situational interviews let us assess how you would approach hypothetical situations. You can prepare by thinking about times when you’ve shown the kind of skills we’re looking for.

A group exercise

Nobody can succeed on their own, and we don’t intend to try. Working together with your team and wider colleagues is an everyday part of life at RBS. In this exercise we’ll observe you during a group exercise similar to the type of scenarios you might experience on the job. We’ll be looking for your ability to build relationships quickly, show logical thinking and contribute to the team objectives.

Individual tasks

We’ll give you the type of task you’re likely to carry out when you start on a graduate programme with us. It could be writing a report, holding a one-to-one meeting, or preparing a presentation. You don’t need to do anything beforehand; you’ll be given all the information you need on the day. There’s a good chance your individual task will be linked to the group exercise.

Top Tips
  • Be yourself, not the person you think we want you to be.
  • Think about the sort of skills we’re looking for, and about the things you’ve done which demonstrate them. Equally, show your passion for the programme and the business – that will help us see your potential.
  • Think about the experiences you’ve had, including outside of your education. How do they make you the right person?
  • Read newspapers and business magazines to practice taking in written information.
  • Don’t just prepare for the exercises. Make sure you know the location and timings. Allow for any possible delays in getting there. Be punctual, and if you’re running late, let us know as soon as you can.
  • The better you prepare, the more natural you’ll be able to act, and show us your best side.
  • Make the most of the day. It’s a chance for you to learn as much as you can about us, and equally, us to learn about you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions before or during the day.
We have designed our application processs so that we can get to know you!

Featured programme