How Nationwide is re-defining
recruitment best practice

  • ‘When LinkedIn tells us that we’ve lost 53 people to one company but gained 56 from the same one, it tells me that it’s a good pool to fish in,’
    Lee Griffiths Resourcing Brand and Attraction Manager, Nationwide


Nationwide Building Society, headquartered in Swindon, is a British mutual financial institution and is the largest building society in the world.

Their goal

Be the first choice for finance

Nationwide wants to be the first choice for finance in the UK by 2019 and recruiting the right people is an essential part of that ambitious goal. Doing the same old thing and hoping for a different outcome won’t work.

Lee Griffiths identified this opportunity in Nationwide and made it his mission to change the recruiting strategy of one of the top financial institutions in the UK.

Their solution


Recruitment revolution

Nationwide implemented this in a few ways:

  • They reduced the number of agencies they used from 300 to 50, reinvesting the savings into a new, more measurable approach. Bringing more recruitment in-house using LinkedIn Recruiter tools saved the company more than £1.6m last year.
  • The building society launched a new careers website ( to proclaim its employer brand and to show potential recruits what it is like to work at such a go-ahead company.
  • Nationwide restructured its resourcing operations, bringing responsibility for things like data and branding in-house. They also created special resourcing teams to work closely as part of the company’s five core business areas.
  • Nationwide used LinkedIn Recruiter tools along with a new client tracking system and recruitment software to sharpen its recruitment tactics and cut down the 10,000 applications they received per month from various sources. 

These innovations give Nationwide direct control of their recruitment workflow and spending and allow each one of their teams to become experts in their area, making for more agile and intelligent recruitment.

Their success

Data-driven recruitment

  • Using these tools, Lee and his team get the data they need about every stage of the recruitment process. This lets the building society put the right ads in the right places. For example, ‘I know that the best vacancy for LinkedIn pays at least £42K,’ says Lee.
  • It also lets them identify approaches that are not cost-effective. Lee: ‘While a specialist website charging £1K for each posting might look great, if we didn’t interview any of the applicants, it’s not worth it.’
  • Similarly, Nationwide uses the data from LinkedIn to track talent flow and identify potential candidates in other organisations. ‘When LinkedIn tells us that we’ve lost 53 people to one company but gained 56 from the same one, it tells me that it’s a good pool to fish in,’ says Lee.

Harnessing the power of social

But best practice goes beyond hard data and rationalisation for Nationwide. Perceptions matter too.

Nationwide’s activity on LinkedIn has attracted more than 22,000 followers and continues to bring 500 people to its careers site every month. For Nationwide, social media like LinkedIn, is not just another job board; it’s about sharing engaging content and striking up conversations to attract the right sort of talent.

‘We want a higher calibre of candidate, so we need to be braver and be honest about who we are and what we do’ to bring people in who are going to be a good fit.

In addition to Nationwide’s new careers site, Lee and his team are using social media to shout about all the great things that make Nationwide a fantastic place to work, including its sense of fun. For Nationwide, recruitment is about being brave and asking not ‘why?’ but ‘why not?’

Nationwide’s best practice tips

  • 1.Collaborate effectively.

    1.Collaborate effectively.

    Recruitment can’t operate in isolation. ‘When you go after a new channel or a new way of doing things you have to build relationships with the right business areas and get them invested in the process,’ says Lee.

  • 2.Know your channels.

    2.Know your channels.

    Treating LinkedIn like job postings does not work. Nationwide trained their recruiting team to send more personal InMails giving them a 32% open rate versus the industry average of 20%.

  • 3.Follow your head and your heart.

    3.Follow your head and your heart.

    However useful the data is, you have to look with your head and your heart,’ says Lee. It’s about connecting with great candidates on a personal level. After all, the company ranked eleventh in the Sunday Times’ list of Top 25 Big Companies to Work For.