When you are invited to the telephone interview, you should be told the competencies they will be assessing. There’s quite a few, and if you don’t understand what they are, you need to ask the person to explain what exactly it is they are trying to assess under that competency and make sure you give yourself enough time to prepare. In my telephone interview, there were a couple of motivational questions (why HSBC? why the role?) then 2 competencies were assessed - 2 questions each.
The face-to-face interview process takes 3 hours. It is not fully a competency based interview, except for a couple of competency based questions. It is a very probing interview, designed to assess what kind of person you are.
The role plays are just what they say. You are expected to absorb considerable information in 10 minutes then conduct telephone calls with someone who sits with their back to you. You have all the information in front of you. But obviously you cannot predict how the “customer” is going to be.
I was not successful at the final stage. The feed back I got was:
"Thank you for your request for feedback, and I am sorry you were not successful in this instance, I know you will be disappointed.
Our interview process and role plays are designed to assess the candidates motivation for the role of Premier Direct Relationship Officer, as well as the ability to manage their emotions and anticipate the emotions of others.
We look for evidence of pro-actively trying to build relationships with the customer, i.e. talking about personal interests, getting to know them better, we look for a strong professional impact, e.g. in control and assured, and we look for products to be presented in a way that relates to customer needs and appeals to the customer’s motivations, whilst also taking into account longer term aspects of the customer’s needs.
Unfortunately in this instance all our required criteria has not been evidenced."
Firstly I wasn’t disappointed at all, I was relieved. And it was fortunate, not unfortunate.
In my opinion, the interview is a two-way process. I’ve done a lot of interviews in my time, and I have to say, this interview - especially the role play section - was the second of 2 horrible interviews I’ve had. The first person who did the face-to-face 1.5 hour long interview (far too long if you ask me) was really nice and I was quite relaxed during it. Then someone else took over for the role plays. I think the fact that by comparison he was horrible is all part of the design. It was a bit like being plunged into a freezing pool of water after sunbathing. He bounded into the room and started barking instructions like a prison officer. Not a single courtesy was exchanged. Not a single smile. It was surreal. Obviously I can see why the good cop bad cop philosophy works in a Police Station. But I think in an interview for a job, where people are nervous, and don’t know the company’s products or processes, it is not likely to bring out the best in people. To make the role play thing worse, every single customer represented was horrid. It really was a totally unnatural, unlikely situation to be in.
Good luck to anybody going through the process. But if you notice, they are constantly advertising for staff. They say they have a very low rate of attrition, which I’d believe. Because they really are looking for some quite unique individuals for this role. If the interview process is anything to go by, I wonder how good would be the experience of actually working for them.