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It is important that you select the most appropriate programme or placement that suits your career goals. Our thorough application process enables us to better understand your motivations, skill set and the best fit for you at HSBC.

Selection process


Our rigorous selection process ensures we recruit people who have the potential to develop and succeed at HSBC.

The process varies between countries and between programmes and placements, but it can include any of the following:

Apply online by uploading your personal information and CV

This will provide us information about you, your studies, and any skills and work experience you have. You will also need to complete a short series of questions to make sure you are eligible for the programme/placement you have selected.

Online questionnaire and numerical reasoning tests

You will be asked a series of questions, so we can assess your knowledge, skills and interests against the competencies we are looking for.

Telephone interview

A telephone call will be arranged at a date and time that is suitable for you. You will have the opportunity to tell us more about your experience and personal and professional attributes, as well as any specific situations that may help demonstrate your capabilities.

Assessment centre

This consists of a series of exercises to demonstrate how you work with others and resolve problems. The exercises could include motivational/business interviews and a business-related case study, which may take the form of a written exercise, presentation and/or group exercise. The assessment centre also provides you the opportunity to meet HSBC graduates and managers.

Application advice


Before you start your application

Please make sure that you've chosen the programme/placement that best fits your skills, qualifications, interests, circumstances and career aspirations. If you're unsure, you can gain further insight by talking to one of our current graduate employees. To find out when our next events are, take a look at our events section.

As part of the process, you might be asked to register at our online application centre, create a profile for yourself and complete a candidate questionnaire. Please follow the application instructions for your particular programme/placement.

Registering to use the online application centre

If you’re asked to go to the online application centre, your first task will be to register as a user.

This should be straightforward, but please make sure you remember which e-mail address you use. This will be the e-mail address we use to contact you regarding your application.

Creating your profile

Once you've selected your programme/placement, you will be prompted to create your profile. This is quick and easy to do and should not take more than 15 minutes.

Your profile will contain basic personal information, eg name, address, telephone number, qualifications, etc.

You'll also be asked to upload your CV. When you do, please make sure it includes:

  • All your work experience to date, including voluntary and part-time work, and internships, starting with your most recent experience
  • Positions of responsibility at school or in extra-curricular activities
  • Your academic details
  • Scholarships and any awards

Keep your CV concise and try not to exceed two pages.

As part of your application, you might be asked some questions about your qualifications and mobility.

Candidate questionnaire

If you are asked to complete the candidate questionnaire, it will take you approximately 40 minutes.

The questionnaire is based on competencies that are important for each programme/placement.

Please answer as honestly as possible. There are no right or wrong answers.

You can review a report on your evaluation at the end of the test.

What happens next?

We will let you know your result after you have completed the candidate questionnaire. If you have been successful in reaching the next stage, you may be invited to complete a series of online numerical tests.

Online tests


Depending on the country and programme/placement you apply to, you might be sent a link to a website where you will be able to complete the next stage in the selection process: the online numerical reasoning test.

This test is designed to help us understand whether you have some of the skills you will need to be successful on our programmes and placements. Once you have started the test, you will need to complete it within a set time. Please find a time and place that is convenient to you.

Before you start, you will have the opportunity to familiarise yourself with what is required by looking at and completing some sample questions. Like many organisations, we use a specialist testing provider for this part of our selection process. You can practise for the test at www.shldirect.com

Please note that we may re-test you at later stages in the selection process to ensure the validity of your online test results.

Depending on the country and programme/placement you apply to, you may also be asked to take an online verbal reasoning test and/or complete an occupational personality questionnaire.

Helpful tips

  • Complete the tests when you can focus with your undivided attention
  • If you're unable to complete the tests before the deadline, let us know as soon as possible and an extension may be granted.

What happens next?

You can view a feedback report on your performance at the end of the test. We aim to get back to you soon after the completion of your online tests to confirm if you have reached the next stage of the selection process.

Guidance for telephone interviews


Prepare yourself

  • Before the interview, re-read your CV and application
  • Make sure you’ve researched HSBC, and the programme/placement you’re applying for. Be prepared to explain why you want to join HSBC and the programme/placement you’ve identified
  • Be ready to talk about your skills and interests in a non-work context

Make sure we can reach you

  • We will call you on the primary telephone number you supplied on your application, so please ensure you have access to this phone number
  • Make sure you won't be disturbed – if you use a mobile, take the call in an area with good reception

During the interview

  • Our interviews are values-based. The questions in the interview have been designed to find out whether you are aligned to our values and help us assess whether you would be suitable to work at HSBC
  • Stick to answering the question you are asked
  • You won't be able to give or receive all the visual clues that you normally can during a face-to-face interview
  • Listen carefully and speak clearly. Keep your answers concise, but avoid one-word responses We won't expect you to have an instant answer for every question so don't be afraid of silences, or of asking for time to consider your response
  • Please feel free to ask us to repeat or rephrase a question if you did not understand it – you will not be penalised for doing so

What happens next?

We will let you know if you have been successful at the interview stage at the end of the call. If you are, then you may be invited to an assessment centre – the final stage of the selection process.

The assessment centre


If you are invited to an assessment centre, we will usually conduct a face-to-face interview, ask you to assess a business-related case study and complete a series of other exercises that give you the chance to display the business skills and motivational qualities we’re looking for. You may also be required to complete a paper-based numerical reasoning aptitude test.

You’ll have an opportunity to find out more about the kinds of roles available to you and hear from our people about what working for HSBC is like. The assessment centre event is as much about you deciding if your chosen programme/placement is right for you as it is about us deciding if you are right for us. Remember, for some programmes and placements it is not necessary to have any specific technical banking knowledge to be successful.

Hints and tips – before you leave home

  • Make sure you have the correct date and time for the centre and you know where you are travelling to
  • Make a note of our contact details (or ensure you can access the e-mail they’re on) so that if something does cause a delay, you can get in touch
  • Read the instructions again to make sure you understand everything – we will ask you to bring along some items and documents to the centre, it is important you do this
  • Look the part – dress professionally in business wear
  • All other materials required for the day will be supplied, including refreshments

Hints and tips – the assessment centre

  • Show your curiosity, interest and motivation
  • In a face-to-face interview, listen carefully so you fully understand the question and try to avoid jargon or irrelevant information when you reply
  • Don't look for hidden agendas. We'll give you a clear brief at the beginning of each exercise – we want you to have the best chance to show us what you can do
  • Be yourself. We take pride in our diversity and believe that employing a broad mix of people strengthens our business, so relax and let your personality come through
  • We do not have a set number of job offers at each centre so don't assume you're in competition with other candidates
  • Don't worry if an exercise hasn't gone well – you'll have at least one more opportunity to demonstrate your abilities
  • Get involved in all the exercises. We can only assess your contribution and record what you say, not what you may have been thinking
  • Keep to time limits
  • You may find the centre tiring, but remember that we are looking for consistency of performance during the entire event. Try to keep your energy level and enthusiasm high throughout

What happens next?

We will get back to you as soon as possible after your assessment centre to let you know whether you have been successful. We will provide full feedback on your performance, whether you are successful or not.

Please note that any job offers that we make at this stage will be subject to any background or reference checks. It will also be subject to you being legally entitled to work in your chosen location at all times during your employment with HSBC. We reserve the right to terminate your employment with immediate effect if for any reason you are no longer entitled to work in your location.

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