HSBC Assessment Centre and Interview Preparation

HSBC Assessment Centre

The HSBC assessment day is a half or a whole day, depending on the role you have applied for. There is a range of different activities that you can face, so read your invitation to the assessment centre carefully.

During the day, there will be significant periods of time when you won’t have anything assigned, but there will be plenty of HSBC employees around that are there for you. Make sure you pick their brains about the interviewers and try to get some inside information that can help you during the interview.

Assessment Centre Tips

Some points to bear in mind before and during the day:

  • Get a good night’s sleep before and eat a good breakfast on the morning of the assessment centre. The day is exhausting and a well-prepared body provides you with a well-prepared mind.
  • Interact with the other candidates as much as you can. Try to be as friendly as possible even though they are your competition.
  • Remember that you are being assessed the whole time. For this reason, try to be as courteous as possible even outside the confines of an activity.

Below we will go through the activities you may experience at the assessment centre.

Psychometric Tests

HSBC may ask you to retake one of the psychometric tests you completed online at a previous stage of the process. This is to ensure the validity of the test's results. This test is usually a second version of the numerical test, but it may be harder than the original test. You need to achieve a certain score, and if you don’t manage to do well enough on this test, you will be asked to leave. It is imperative to review the tests again ahead of your assessment day.

Case Study

You are given approximately 15 pages of information relating to a fictitious bank. There is a lot of numerical information in the form of tables and different figures relating to the bank. You have 30 minutes to go through all this information and prepare notes for a presentation that will come either straight after or later on in the day. There are problems presented to you and you have to use the information in the pack to answer them and make recommendations for the way forward. Each case study is geared specifically to the graduate programme or internship you have applied for. You can prepare for your case study with the exercises and guide found in our HSBC Assessment Centre preparation PackPlease note that the included case study is generic and not HSBC-specific.


In this exercise, your notes may be taken away from you if you are not doing the HSBC presentation straight after your case study research. If so, you will get them back five minutes before you are due to give your presentation to two assessors. You have to give a 10-minute presentation that includes a short background demonstrating your understanding of the subject at hand. You will then present your recommendations to the panel. You are normally given a flip board so you can prepare notes that will be presented to the panel, and you should utilise this by showing figures and numerical data to back up your recommendations.

Role-play Exercise

For some of HSBC’s graduate schemes and internships, you will have a role-play exercise. You will be given 10 minutes to read a brief relating to a client who is going to walk into the office in 10 minutes. This is related to a real-life situation. When the 10 minutes are up, the door will open and it will walk this “client” who is actually one of the assessors. You will have to deal with him for 15 minutes by first building a relationship with him, putting him at ease, and expressing interest in his well-being. Next, you will have to deal with his queries and convince him that you know what you are talking about and that this is the correct course of action. You will then have a five-minute meeting with the “manager” — played by another assessor — to discuss what went on, how you dealt with the problem, and how you think the meeting went. You can find sample role-play exercises with complete analysis and tips in our HSBC Assessment Centre preparation pack.

If you were invited to an HSBC assessment centre, expect to go through a number of different interviews. Each one of these interviews lasts 30 minutes, and they are often spread out throughout the day. Below we will discuss the different types of interviews you may face at the assessment centre.

If instead, you were scheduled a final face to face interview, chances are likely it will be a competency-based interview. This type of interview assesses your skills against the HSBC values and the requirements of the job for which you are applying. Ahead of the interview, prepare by thinking up as many examples as you can for each required skill. Read up on HSBC and the area to which you are applying. Draft answers to common questions, and then rehearse answering them.

Business Interview

The content of this interview varies from scheme to scheme. To successfully pass this interview, you should be familiar with the current situation of the market in relation to your chosen subject. During the interview, you will be asked numerous questions on the market. You may get asked some brainteaser questions as well.

Some example HSBC business interview questions are:

  • What do you think about this latest development in the industry?
  • How would you respond if you were in a position of authority regarding this new directive?
  • What do you know about the qualification you will receive from the HSBC graduate scheme you have applied to?
  • Do you read the Financial Times? What is the headline of today’s paper?
  • How much does the QE2 weigh?
  • What is the total amount of numbers between 1 and 99?
  • What will the world be like in 2050, and what impact will this have on HSBC?
  • Tell me about HSBC’s initiatives.

Motivational Interview

This interview is solely based on you as a person. In other words, whereas the first interview assessed your business acumen, this interview is used to assess your motivation and skills for working with HSBC.

Some example HSBC motivational interview questions are:

  • What demotivates you?
  • What are you doing to improve yourself as a person?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to deal with disappointment.
  • When have you helped someone else achieve a goal?
  • Do you like helping other people?

For this interview, it is very important to ensure that you have a story to back up your answers. This is best done using the STAR method: first talk about the situation, then the problem, and finally how you dealt with it.

Prepare for Your Assessment Centre and Interview

In order to successfully pass the assessment centre and interview at HSBC, and get the job you want, you will have to put in a lot of hard work and preparation. To help you do so, JobTestPrep’s experts have created a unique preparation pack.

Our HSBC Assessment Centre & Interview preparation pack offers detailed online guides for the different exercises you may need to participate in during the assessment day. These include case studies, presentations, role-plays, group exercises, and interviews. The pack also includes practice materials and tutorials for the numerical test. 


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