Hello WikiJobs! Having recently been through the HSBC grad scheme application process, I thought some of you might find it helpful to read through a full experience. Anywhere, here goes.
Like with all applications, it began with the application form. Nothing out of the ordinary here – just your CV with all the usual details about work history, education and so on.
The good news is that HSBC use SHL-style tests, for which you can find hundreds and hundreds of practice materials for. The bad news is that that means there’s no excuse to be underprepared…
These tests include verbal reasoning, logical reasoning, personality, situational judgement and numerical. For some roles you won’t have to do all of these, or they might come at different parts of the process, so pay particular attention to which ones they say you’ll need to do so you practice the right ones!
A quick run-down on each test in case you’re unfamiliar:
• Numerical – presented with data in tables and graphs, answer some multiple choice questions on that data
• Verbal reasoning – given a few paragraphs of information, answer true/false/cannot say to statements concerning the information.
• Logical reasoning – abstract reasoning, such as pastern recognition.
• Personality test – rate how true a series of statements on personality are for you.
• Situational judgement – given scenarios of things that may happen in the role you’re applying for, answer how you would respond
For the first three, practice will go a long long way. For the last two tests, pay particular attention to HSBC’s core values of being dependable, open to different ideas and cultures, and being connected to customers, communities, regulators and each other.
If you score highly enough in the online tests, you’ll be invited to the next stage, an initial interview. For me this was a phone interview. It lasted about half an hour and was relatively superficial, mostly due to the time.
Be prepared to answer the usual questions of why HSBC and why this line of work, as well as questions relating to their values and your CV. Make sure you’ve got some examples to back up your traits – they go a long way.
Finally, the dreaded assessment centre.
The first thing to do was a retake of a couple of the online assessment tests, so don’t let your skills on those slack.
Afterwards was the solo exercise. You’re given a case study of a fictitious bank and have about half an hour to go through it and prepare a presentation to be delivered afterwards. The key thing is to analyse it well and thoroughly, and also to make recommendations based on that. How you communicate is just as important as the strength of your analysis, so if you’re not a confident public speaker then get some practice on this beforehand.
Then there’s a group exercise. For my group, this was similar to the first exercise in terms of the case study. The difference is that we had to analyse it as a group in around 15 minutes and come up with recommendations. After the time was up, an assessor roleplaying a client walked in and, as a group, we had to go through our findings and recommendations with him.
Finally, a one-to-one interview with a partner. This felt quite tense, but you do ease into it after a bit. It’s largely competency-based and lasted around an hour. Essentially, it’s a much more in-depth and challenging version of the phone interview. They’ll ask similar questions but will expect more depth in your answer as well as some good examples, so be prepared to talk like that about anything on your CV. They will also ask about current affairs and the industry. My best advice for that is to start reading The Economist and the Financial Times well in advance – that should give you a decent grasp of the relevant current affairs. As well as that, make sure you’ve done your research on HSBC as a company too – you’ll be asked about it.
And then, well, that’s it, it’s over! The agonising wait for the decision is all that’s left. I heard back after two weeks, but it could be longer so try to be patient.
Anyway, other stories and experiences would be really great, so do feel free to comment below!