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Application hints and tips

Candidates for roles at HSBC will usually be taken through a number of steps, from submitting their CV and completing online assessments to telephone and face-to-face interviews. Applicants for our graduate programmes may be asked to take part in a full or half-day assessment.

We aim for an inclusive work environment where everyone can reach their full potential. If you require any adjustments to our recruitment process please let us know so that we can discuss them further with you. Examples of such adjustments might include the supply of materials in large print or Braille.

Preparing your CV

Your CV is an important part of your application to HSBC and is your first opportunity to demonstrate your qualities and achievements. It also enables us to consider you if another suitable role comes up in the future.

Begin your CV with a brief summary of your skills, accomplishments and career goals. Follow this with your employment history and work experience, starting with your most recent role. Include full details of your employers, dates, job titles and responsibilities. Make sure you give examples of your skills and achievements, relating these to the role for which you are applying where possible.

Next, give details of the university, college or school you attended, your qualifications and grades and any work-related courses taken. Start with the most recent and work backwards, using bullet points or a table. Finally, mention any hobbies or interests that have a particular relevance to the role or graduate programme for which you are applying.

You should:

  • Ensure your contact details are up to date and that the CV is no more than two pages long

  • Use the "save as draft" tool if you are applying online and do not have enough time to complete the application in one go

  • Ensure your answers are relevant to the role you are seeking (avoid copying details from previous online application forms)

  • Ensure you are familiar with the information submitted on your application and keep a copy of your CV to read before your interview

Online assessment

Once you have successfully completed your application, we may send you a link to a website containing some online assessments. These are designed to identify whether you have the skills required for the role and to assess your suitability for working at HSBC. The number and type of assessments will depend on the role you are seeking.

You can take the assessments at any time within a fixed number of days, as specified in the email. Once you start, you will need to complete each assessment within a set time limit.

You should:

  • Complete some of the practice questions supplied before you begin

  • Only start the assessments when you are sure you can give them your undivided attention

  • Use the contact details supplied to let us know if you experience any technical problems

  • We will contact you following completion of the assessments to let you know whether you have made it through to the next stage of the recruitment process.

Telephone interviews

It is essential that everyone who works for HSBC identifies with the bank’s values of being dependable, open and connected.

We often conduct a short telephone interview to assess candidates’ compatibility with these values, as well as their general skills and motivation for applying. This will last approximately 45-60 minutes and is conducted by an accredited interviewer. You should put in the same amount of preparation as you would for a face-to-face interview.

We will ask you to tell us about specific occasions when you have demonstrated a particular skill. These examples don't have to be drawn from work.

You should:

  • If using your mobile phone, ensure it has enough battery life remaining

  • For each example, explain: the situation you faced; the specific task required of you; the action that you took; and the result of this action

  • Give direct and honest answers

  • Listen carefully and speak clearly, politely and confidently. Remember that you will not be able to make eye contact or use body language

  • Pause for a moment if you need time to think through your answers

Face-to-face interviews

Make sure you arrive early and are fully prepared. This includes dressing appropriately and bringing your CV and any other required documents. Confirm the interview time and location in advance so there can be no confusion.

Know your strengths and be prepared to give examples of when you have demonstrated relevant skills. Focus on your role in these situations and the outcomes, without exaggerating. Make sure the interviewer knows that you are enthusiastic about the opportunity to work at HSBC.

You should:

  • Take a moment to think before answering each question

  • If you don't understand a question, ask the interviewer to repeat it

  • Ask when you can expect feedback

If you are successful at face-to-face interview, we will contact you and let you know what happens next.

Assessment centres

Applicants for our student and graduate programmes may be invited to take part in a half-day or full-day assessment. This depends on the programme or internship that you have applied for. It will involve a number of tasks and interviews, during which assessors will rate your performance against defined criteria.

Do not worry if you think you have not performed at your best in any particular part of the assessment - you will have other opportunities to demonstrate your skills. We want you to have the best chance to show us what you can do.

You should:

  • Research HSBC, the wider industry and the role you are applying for

  • Arrive early and fully prepared. Dress appropriately and bring your CV and any other documents that we have requested

  • Be yourself: do not assume that you are in competition with other candidates

  • Ensure you participate fully - we can only assess what you contribute

  • Stick to time limits

  • Try to keep your energy levels and enthusiasm high throughout the day

If you are successful at the assessment centre, we will contact you and let you know what happens next.

Read more about opportunities for students and graduates.

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