This unpaid placement lasts for one week during July where I'll get:
- An insight into HSBC's strategy, its history and its values
- Experience of actual jobs that I'd be doing if I came to work for HSBC full time
- An opportunity to work on an actual project and share my ideas with management
- Tips on interview technique and presentation skills
- Feedback and ideas on how I can develop myself
- An opportunity to network with other employees in the amazing world of work
I'll also gain:
- An invaluable insight into what it's like to work in financial services
- An opportunity to come back for more work experience
- An opportunity to keep in contact with HSBC
Vacancies opened during January and I applied the day it opened. Candidates had the choice to choose what branch of HSBC they wanted to work in so when applying you applied to the specific branch instead of doing a general application. I chose the Stratford, East London branch simply because it's not too far from home for me. The application was very straight-forward where I had to upload my CV, a cover letter and complete a couple of questions as well as mentioning previous work experience. Once I sent off my application 3 days later I got invited to complete an online assessment. I usually dislike online assessments as I haven't had a good experience completing online numerical and verbal tests but luckily this test was an online dependability test where they asked questions about how you would react in certain situations and what decisions you would make. When completing a dependability test my advice is always to be truthful. Don't try and choose an answer that you think they expect to be chosen. Dependability tests are there to tell what your personality is like and if you're suitable for the role.
Over a month later I received an email telling me that I have been successful in the previous stage of the recruitment process and that I am invited to take part in a telephone interview which will be conducted by one of their graduates.
Now it's time for my telephone interview tips and how I prepared for it.
I was told that I will be asked about how I related to HSBC's values which are:
- Leading with courageous integrity
- Standing for what is right
- Being dependable and doing the right thing
- Being open to different ideas and cultures
- Building connection with people
With this knowledge I decided to research competency questions that are likely to be asked and based on skills such as communication, team work, resilience, integrity, responsibility and more. It's best that you plan ahead and identify what skills you have gained from work experience, college/uni and any extra- curricular activities. The interviewer is more interested in what you did which displays the competency rather than what the situation is.
It's really important that you look at examples of competency questions so you have an idea of what an interviewer can ask as it's much easier when you're prepared with an answer. Telephone interviews are different to face to face interviews because the interviewer can't see you so you can't judge their reactions during the interview. You must make sure you're prepared and ready to answer the questions.
- Make sure your phone is fully charged
- Make sure you're in a quiet place and be sure that you will not be interrupted at any time
- If it helps, keep some notes with you. Make sure everything you need is ready and in front of you to avoid movement during the interview
- Try and sound enthusiastic whilst speaking
- Ask questions at the end of the interview as you would in a face to face interview
- Don't talk to fast. The interviewer will be writing notes so talk at a decent pace. This should also help to calm you down.
- Most importantly, BE YOURSELF :)
When I had the phone interview I was quite nervous because I knew it was really important to make a good impression. I had my notes in front of me, a piece of paper and a pen just in case I had to write down any notes. I had examples ready for the question I thought I would be asked. I was asked two questions but the questions asked were not what I expected. It came to a shock to me because I had to think quickly on the spot. Thankfully, I tried not to panic too much and I managed to think of an answer. If this ever happens to you don't panic. Just make sure you tell the interviewer that you need a moment to think and they will be ok with it. The interview was very short but I knew I tried my best.
The HSBC work experience placement is run in the UK and offers young people aged 14-19 to gain an insight into financial services. I will do a post about my week at HSBC in July and I hope this motivates some of you out there to apply next year. The opportunities are out there. Make sure you seize the opportunity :)
I'm really grateful for this placement and I know this is the beginning of a great career in banking. I know that
my interests lie within investment banking but it's important to gain work experience even if it's not completely related because the skills you obtain is what makes you stand out when applying for a job in the future.