Get ahead: find out the basics of Santander's application process

Some schemes begin filling as soon as applications open, so get yours in early.

This section covers the application process for the online elements of Santander’s graduate and intern applications.

Early reports indicate that around 100 graduate jobs were available in the previous recruitment cycle, for candidates wanting to start work in the summer of 2012. The bank expanded its intake to around 230 graduates in 2010, with the aim of almost doubling this number in 2012.

Santander has an online web chat function during application season, so that applicants can communicate directly with Santander’s graduate recruitment department.

Part 1: Santander’s online application form

Candidates are required to create a candidate homepage – this enables the application to be saved and returned to at a later date, before completing the five sections of the application form:

  • Personal details – all the usuals that you would expect.
  • Attachments – upload your CV and any other relevant information.
  • Main application – this consists of filling in details such as whether you require a visa or not, mostly completed by selecting drop-down menus, followed by three open-ended questions in a ‘career motivation’ sub-section.
    1. Vacancy details – do you meet academic requirements and have you fully researched the firm?
    2. Eligibility – do candidates have the right to work in the UK or criminal convictions?
    3. Pre-employment checks – candidates need to be able to provide relevant documentation, should they be offered a position.
    4. Other application details – including whether applicants have worked for any of Santander’s UK businesses and the notice period successful applicants would have to fulfill.
    5. Qualifications – institution name, type of qualification and subject. This applies to higher education, A levels, AS levels and GCSEs.
    6. Languages – candidates should list the level of fluency reading, writing and speaking any language they are capable of.
    7. Career motivation – candidates must answer three questions about their motivation to work at Santander. These questions must be answered with between 50 and 600 characters. The questions are as follows:
      1. What do you find personally appealing about working for Santander?
      2. What is your understanding of the role you have applied for? (min 50 and max 600 characters)
    8. Positions of responsibility – this is where applicants are asked to highlight positions of responsibility that they have proactively taken. This includes the presidency of a society or sports captaincy. Santander emphasises that this does not include positions held through work experience or in university projects and involves taking on a role in an organisation in a voluntary capacity.
    9. Candidates must then give brief details, in bullet points, of the positions they have held, including dates and key responsibilities.
  • Questionnaire one: Equal opportunities questionnaire
  • Questionnaire two: Situational judgement test – this involves answering questions on real experiences and situations that candidates are likely to face in a graduate role. Candidates are provided with a brief description of the situation and four possible solutions, and must select what they think is the best and worst way to handle the situation.

Example question from the situational judgement test:

During your first week as a graduate, your team has been tasked with verifying 80 documents to ensure they comply with regulations. The work has been equally allocated and there is a strict deadline. However, one member of the team is working at a slower pace than everyone else and as a result there is a risk the team won’t finish the project on time. How would you handle this?

  1. Approach the individual to try and understand what the issues are; ask if you or another team member can help.
  2. Discreetly mention your concerns to your Line Manager and ask them to help your colleague complete their tasks on time.
  3. Make sure your own tasks are complete on time, allowing other members of the team to tackle their tasks in their own way.
  4. Work harder to complete your tasks in a shorter period to help your colleague and the team meets its targets.

Part 2: Santander’s online testing

Successful applicants will be invited to Santander’s online testing stage – consisting of online verbal and numerical reasoning tests. Anecdotal evidence suggests that these are PSL tests and Santander state they should take between 20–30 minutes to complete.

How long will the Santander application process take?

For the 2009 intake, this process was supposedly so fast that it could take as little as three weeks from the initial submission of the online form to a verbal job offer. However, the graduate intake was around 67 at the time and has since increased, so the pace may slow a little given the increased numbers of applicants.

As for applicants to Santander's internships, the expectation is for you to be available for an assessment centre sometime between mid-May and mid-June – right in the middle of university exam season.

Recruiter view

‘CVs should focus not just on what candidates have done, but on what they have delivered.’

Richard Freeborn, former graduate recruitment manager at Santander, speaking to The Guardian in 2010

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