HSBC London

How to Prepare for the HSBC Online Immersive Assessment? (Cognitive and Values)

Do you want to work at HSBC? Many others are also attracted to their student, intern and graduate positions. And why not?

HSBC is one of the largest banking and financial services institutions in the world.
And as a large global institution, it rigorously screens applicants for their open positions.

As part of the pre-employment process, HSBC will ask you to do an online assessment that is very different to other pre-employment tests.

It is different in that your cognitive abilities and your values are assessed in the same test and different in that HSBC doesn’t use a test developed for and used by other companies.

In a unique way, the company have had a test developed for their own specific needs. The test developed by the UK testing company Capfinnity is both new, different and challenging.

To advance further in the hiring process, scoring well on the test is essential.

The HSBC immersive assessment is part one of the screening process. Applicants who do well on this assessment are then invited to take the online Job Simulation Assessment, a 35-minute test taken at an assessment centre.

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What is the HSBC Online Immersive Assessment?

hsbc logo

Unlike a lot of other assessments, the HSBC assessment is untimed but expect to have to devote approximately 50 minutes to doing it.

What is the content of the test?

The test consists of five challenging sections. Expect to be placed in a virtual company where you control the activities of the company as they launch a new product. The test requires you to work from establishing a team to the launch of the product.

The five challenges will see you moving through the following stages on your way to product launch:

  1. Creating a new team
  2. Working with others
  3. Communicating globally
  4. Competing commitments
  5. Completing the project delivery

In each of the stages, you will have to carry out the tasks connected to the work involved in that section. For example, in Stage 1, you will have to work on selecting a team. In Stage 2, you will have to show your abilities to work with others.

So far, it seems like an interesting and exciting challenge. But it doesn’t stop there. In each of the stages, known as subtests, you can expect to be tested on either your cognitive, verbal and numerical skills or on your values, sometimes even on both.

For example, in Stages 3 and 4, you can expect mainly cognitive assessments. In Stages 1,2, and 5, you can expect Situational Judgement Tests (SJT), which are Values Assessments where your knowledge of the company’s core values is assessed. Stage 5 also focuses on personality profiling.

What format does the HSBC Assessment test take?

Working on an interactive homepage, you will see a pattern of tiles. Each tile opens to reveal a step. You have to complete the tasks on a tile before proceeding to the next one.

However, unlike other assessments, you can review and revise your work before you submit the full test. After submission, there is no going back. You have to ensure you are happy with your work before you submit it.

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How to pass the HSBC immersive assessment?

To score well on the assessments, you need to hone your cognitive skills as well as study up on the company’s core values. HSBC are interested in employing people who are not just competent in terms of workplace skills but who are also a good fit for the company.

To progress to the next recruitment stage, it is important to keep HSBC’s Core values at the forefront of your mind:

  • Succeeding together
  • Diversity
  • Responsibility
  • Getting it done

Can I prepare for the HSBC test?

student practising for sass test

As you have seen above, the test is challenging in the extreme. Becoming familiar with the format of the test as well as the style of questioning is essential if you are to get through this stage of the recruitment process.

For preparation, it is advisable to use the services of a job test preparation company. We recommend using Job Test Prep who is recognised as a leader in the field of preparing applicants for pre-employment testing.

Using its services, you will get accurate information about the HSBC Immersive Assessment as well as a test prep pack containing sample tests modelled on the real one. You will also get detailed explanations of questions and answers as well as a means of checking your scores after you do the tests.

Working with the sample tests you:

  • Will become familiar with the format and style of questioning used in the real test
  • Will hone your skills in taking the different challenges
  • Will be able to monitor your progress and identify areas you need to devote more time to

Example question

To get a feel for the types of questions you will find in your test prep pack, try the following exercise.


You have recently started your internship in a global law firm headquartered in London. You have just finished writing a long and tedious report that is going to be delivered to your office manager. Martin, a more experienced and well-respected intern from your office, tells you that he thinks it is possible to improve your report by making some alterations in a few sections.

What would you do in this situation?

Rank TWO of the following options, one as the BEST and one as the WORST.


  1. Thank Martin politely for his suggestions but leave the report as it is since you trust your own judgement.
  2. Discuss the suggested changes with Martin and try to understand the reasoning behind each of them.
  3. Make some of the changes Martin has suggested but retain the core elements that you think work best.
  4. Make all the changes Martin offered, trusting his greater experience.

What is your response? Now check back on your answer. What does it tell you about your skills when it comes to working with others? Are you open to receiving criticism? Does your answer fit in with the core values of HSBC?

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What types of questions do I get in the HSBC assessment?

Stage 1

Creating a New Team, you are being assessed on your ability to set working standards, manage employees and make solid decisions.

Your assessment in this section is an SJT. You will be presented with a work-related scenario and will have five related responses to the scenario. You will be asked to put these in order from 1 to 5.

Stage 2

Working with others tests your abilities to communicate with others, resolve workplace conflicts and balance requests from members of your team.

Here you are being tested on your abilities to work with others. An SJT again presents you with a work-related scenario and five responses to place in order.

Stage 3

Communicating Globally. This test sees you working with a remote team and assesses your abilities at working with numerical and verbal data. Expect your cognitive abilities to be tested here as well as having to complete a few SJTs.

Cognitive questions come in multiple-choice format. Your ability to work with people from diverse cultures is also being assessed in the SJT exercises.

Stage 4

Competing Commitments will see you completing cognitive and SJT tests. In this section, you will be juggling several small projects as well as your main one. Your ability to integrate and deal with numerical and verbal data are the focus of this test.

Stage 5

Completing the Project Delivery is designed to assess your time management and organisational skills, as well as your ability to prioritise tasks. Your attitude to responsibility and your willingness to take control of delivering your project also come under scrutiny here.

Your test here is an SJT combined with a personality test.

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The Cognitive Questions

Here you meet another assessment which is different to the more regular pre-employment tests. Generally, in these assessments, you are supplied with one source of information, a piece of text, a graph or a table, where you find the answers to the questions that follow.

In the HSBC cognitive assessments, you are given a number of data sources, generally 5 or 6, all of which have to be analysed to come up with the correct answer.

Getting used to dealing with a volume of information requires a lot of practice on similar tests. But with practice, you can hone your skills in extracting the relevant information.

Test your skills with the following example of the type of question you can expect to get.

Note that you have to work across all the tables to come up with your answer.


Which of the following NGOs had the second-highest percentage increase in subscribers to updates from Month 2 to Month 3?


A. Green Zoo
B. Elephants Project
C. Repairing Ocean
D. Bats World
E. Horses House

Values Assessment Questions

Situational Judgement Tests are used to get a sense of your personality and values. Many people find the concept of personality profiling intimidating, but it is important to bear in mind that your personality is judged by the behaviour you exhibit.

In an SJT, your answers indicate your likely behaviour in a given situation. By tweaking your answers, you are modifying your behaviour and, consequently, the personality you present.

To get a feel for the Values Assessment questions, try your skills at the following question. Bear the company’s four core values in mind while doing it.


You are currently working on an app project. The app features are being progressively enhanced during the development phase. You’veYou’ve discovered a new attribute that you think should be added, and you’re giving a presentation to the rest of your team. While you’re doing this, some of the team’s more experienced members continue to interrupt you with questions and queries, while others opt out of the conversation during the meeting.
What do you do?


Please RANK the responses from one to five by, with one being what you would most likely do and five being what you would least likely do:

Note: On the actual test, the questions will be in a drag-and-drop format.

If you have done the above test, you might find it helpful to play around with the responses you gave. Try doing the test a number of times, giving different answers.

Reading through your answers, look carefully at the type of personality/values you are presenting. Do any of your answers reflect HSBC’s core values?

If not, try tweaking your answer until you match the company’s values.

By doing several SJTs in a similar fashion, you will learn how to present a personality that echoes those essential values.

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Preparing for the assessment

When preparing, try the following tips:

  • Work to a timetable
  • Work in short 50-minute sessions followed by a 10-minute break.
  • Use your test prep pack in every preparation period to ensure you are focused on the task at hand.

If you have been asked to do the HSBC online immersive assessment, you will find preparation materials to ace the process here.

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