HSBC is a global banking and financial services organisation. It is one of the world's largest, with businesses operating in over 64 countries to serve more than 40 million customers. It operates across three main areas: wealth and personal banking, commercial banking and global banking & markets. Through these, it provides services to individual savers and investors, businesses, governments and large international companies.
HSBC offers a wide range of products including mortgages, savings accounts, wealth management products and business loans and trade financing. Its services and roles include financial consulting, debt issuing and acquisitions. It has 266,000 employees worldwide and 40,000 within the UK - with a quarter of these based at the global headquarters in Canary Wharf, London.
HSBC Recruitment Process
The recruitment process at HSBC is multi-stage and competitive, regardless of career level. HSBC offers apprenticeships, work placements, graduate roles and opportunities for experienced and senior professionals.
Roles fall under HSBC's major business areas of retail, commercial, private and investment banking, as well as its support services such as risk management, audit, legal, compliance, finance, technology and human resources. Key hiring areas include insurance, technology and Asia wealth management.
During the recruitment process, HSBC looks for the presence of its four core values/principles:
Valuing difference – An open and curious mind that seeks and listens to new and differing perspectives and respects diversity within the workplace.
Succeeding together – The ability to work well as a team and collaborate across sectors and boundaries, to produce the best possible results.
Taking responsibility – Being accountable for your actions and displaying the ability to adapt and change course if necessary, in order to deliver results long-term.
Making things happen – Enthusiasm, dedication and an innovative spirit. Work at HSBC moves at pace, so the ability to work quickly through tasks and stay self-motivated is valued.
The exact nature of the HSBC recruitment process may vary slightly according to job role and location, but the procedure for student, graduate and professional roles typically comprises the steps explained below - an application form, immersive online assessment, job simulation and assessment centre.
Due to the fierce competition around each role, candidates must consistently excel throughout the recruitment process in order to secure a position. Being fully aware of what each stage of the process involves will help you to prepare and impress the HSBC recruitment team.
To complete the HSBC application form, you will need to log your personal details, answer several questions to display you meet the eligibility criteria and complete a section for equal opportunities monitoring.
Your CV will be submitted as part of the online application process. Take time to review your CV to ensure it is fit for purpose and adequately reflects your experience and abilities.
It is recommended to tailor your CV specifically for the role you are applying for within HSBC, displaying how each of your previous job roles or experiences have equipped you with the relevant skills for the post.
If you meet HSBC's eligibility requirements, you will be invited to the next stage of the process – the immersive online assessment.
HSBC Immersive Online Assessment
HSBC's Immersive Online Assessment is comprised of three psychometric tests and aims to assess your cognitive ability, behavioural traits and subsequent suitability for the job role. All three tests are provided by Cappfinity.
Situational strengths assessment
The first of the tests is a situational judgement (or situational strengths) assessment, which will require you to indicate how you would respond to a range of hypothetical workplace scenarios. The questions will be multiple choice and you should select the option that best reflects the course of action you would take. Each scenario will have 4 – 5 options to consider.
Verbal reasoning assessment
The next test is a verbal reasoning assessment. This test assesses your ability to understand, interpret and make deductions from written material. You will be presented with a series of short texts and asked questions around tone, spelling, grammar and punctuation, as well as interpretation questions asking you to rank statements or indicate whether a given statement is true, false or if you cannot say.
The test has no official time limit, but both your accuracy and the time taken to complete the test contribute to your overall score. This means that candidates who can work at a rapid pace, without compromising accuracy, will score best.
Numerical reasoning assessment
The third test is a numerical reasoning assessment, which will test your ability to manipulate numbers and interpret data. The questions will involve mental arithmetic, fractions, percentages, ratios, algebra and currency conversion.
Data will be presented in the form of charts, graphs and tables. You will need to display a comfort with dealing with, and drawing conclusions from, financial data.
The questions will come in three forms: multiple choice, rank order and free form (with a box to insert your answer). Use of a calculator is permitted.
The test has no time limit, so contains questions of a higher complexity level than other timed numerical reasoning tests.
Once you receive the link to complete the assessment, you will have a set number of days to submit it. The assessment should be completed in one sitting, in a comfortable environment free from distraction, to give you the best chance of success.
HSBC Job Simulation
The second of HSBC's online assessments, the Job Simulation seeks to provide insight into the business area you have chosen. It is a situational video assessment hosted by HireVue.
You will be presented with material from a fictional project or client – consisting of excerpts of data and communications (emails, memos and reports). It is likely that a significant portion of the task will relate to financial analysis, but the assignment will vary according to your prospective department and role.
You will be asked to answer a series of questions relating to the documents provided, which will require both written and video answers. You may need to craft an email response, explain a concept to a colleague or describe how you would tackle a particular challenge (and why).
Before you begin the assessment, there is an opportunity to get used to the platform by recording a practice video answer.
As above, once you have received the link to the job simulation, you will have a set number of days to submit your effort. The test is expected to take around 50 minutes to complete.
HSBC Assessment Centre / Super Day
The HSBC Assessment Centre, or "Super Day", is a half-day experience involving interview(s) and assessment exercises. There will be both individual and group exercises.
The individual task will involve a case study, providing you with information on a specific bank, project or client. You will be required to read and interpret the information and set out your recommendations.
These recommendations will be presented to members of the recruitment team in a five-minute presentation.
For the group exercise, you will be split into groups of 4 – 6 people and presented with a workplace scenario. As you discuss how to best approach the task with your peers, you will be assessed on the worth of your contributions, how well you work within the team and your ability to listen and absorb the opinions and ideas of others.
The interview(s) will be strengths-based and give you an opportunity to convey your capabilities and potential to excel in the role at HSBC. You will need to be ready to explain why you want to work for HSBC and what appeals to you about the job role in question, so make sure you have thoroughly researched the department, industry environment and prospective responsibilities.
To illustrate your enthusiasm and suitability for the role, have some carefully selected examples to display why you would be a great fit. Keep the HSBC core values in mind and ensure you back up your examples. Using the STAR (situation, task, action, result) method can be helpful to keep your responses focused.
Top Tips for Success in the HSBC Recruitment Process
1) Familiarise yourself with Cappfinity tests – The format and content of psychometric tests varies according to publisher and test type. By practicing the assessments to become accustomed to the wording, presentation and ask of the questions in the verbal reasoning, situational judgement and numerical reasoning assessments, you will stand a better chance of achieving a high score in the official tests.
2) Keep the HSBC core values in mind – To align yourself with the company and job role, you should try to display possession of the HSBC core values throughout – from online application to assessment centre interview. Aim to display your curious mind, ability to listen and incorporate new perspectives and ways of working, capability to work collaboratively, sense of responsibility and drive to deliver quality results.
3) Get your contribution to group exercises right – This doesn't mean ensuring everything you say is correct - in fact, offering up an idea that is rebutted, reconsidering and then coming back with an adapted approach displays ingenuity and resilience. It is important to ensure you get the balance right between displaying your own skills and listening to others. HSBC will be looking for individuals who are able to work well within a team, encouraging and bringing out the best in their colleagues. Remember that these individuals are rarely the loudest voices.
4) See the interview as two-way exchange – View your interview not as an interrogation, but as the conversation it is intended to be. This mindset will help you to relax and sell yourself and your skills naturally and instinctively. Remember, the recruitment process is a chance to fully determine whether HSBC is the right company for you – so if there are any questions you would like to ask about process, work focus or opportunities, don't be afraid to ask the senior manager or partner conducting your interview.