What You Wish to Know Before Applying for Banking Jobs


Ready to embark on the job application journey? First thing first, fill out an application form!


To stand out from the crowd, some folks might pepper in a little extra magic on their qualifications and experiences. But here is the catch! Those who go overboard might find themselves in a sticky situation later.


The reality is, passing the interview and even getting an offer is not final victory.


A job offer can be revoked if the candidate failed the aptitude test or the background check. Some background check won’t start until the new recruit is onboarded. Starting a new job is typically filled with excitement and anticipation. Having to give up a newly commenced job is a plot twist you don’t want to see in your career story.


Understanding the aptitude test

Aptitude test is a standardized assessment to measure the candidate’s inherent talents and capabilities in acquiring certain skills or performing certain tasks. It includes a range of questions covering numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning, situational judgement, and personality. It is most common among major banks.


The assessment is done online with around 70 or more multiple-choice questions. You will be asked to choose two options out of three. There is usually no time restriction for online assessment. If it is done face-to-face, you will usually be allowed 30-40 minutes.


Major banks like HSBC or HASE will reject any job applicants that had failed their aptitude test within the last six months. Any job offers given will also be revoked.


Understanding background check

A background check is a thorough examination into a person’s history, which includes:


  • criminal records
  • employment history
  • credit reports
  • other relevant information


It also verifies the accuracy of the information provided in the applicant’s CV.


Major banks in Hong Kong outsourced background checks to a company called First Advantage. The process might be slightly less stringent for other banks.


How to prepare for your background check?


A ‘waterproof’ application:

During the background check, you will need to provide proof for your qualifications and experiences as written on your CV, which includes your employer’s name, job titles, salary, qualifications, professional licences, and so on. In your application, therefore, only write down work experiences that you can provide proofs, as accurate as possible. Employer’s name, job titles, and salary must correspond to what is shown on the employment contracts.


If the company that hired you was a subsidiary of a larger group, stick to the subsidiary’s name that showed up on the employment contract, or be prepared to provide proof to show the subsidiary relationship.


Don’t tempt to meddle with employment period to mask any gap period in between jobs. If the gap period is longer than 6 months, try to provide an explanation. It would be even better if the explanation could be substantiated.


Salary could be evidenced by employment contracts, 3 months’ pay slips, bank statement for salary autopay record, and employer’s return of remuneration. Candidates who earned a commission income can provide tax assessment record or employer’s return of remuneration as a proof.


You must put down all professional licences you have obtained such as Hong Kong Securities and Investment Institute (HKSI)’s Licensing Examination and Insurance Intermediaries Qualifying Examination (IIQE), as well as the companies that they are registered under (i.e. the appointing principal). Check your CPD records to see if you have met the CPD requirements.  Prepare to show them for background check.



You must disclose if you hold directorship of other companies. Be prepared to give up the directorship before your first day. You will also need to disclose any ties with the company particularly if you have family members working for the same company.


An acceptable credit record:

You must obtain Grade E in your Transunion (TU) credit report and a clean bankruptcy record.


Outstanding loan must not exceed 10 times your monthly salary. Some banks will also take into account your credit card limit as a potential borrowing. Be prepared to lower your credit card limit to pass the credit check.


Prepare a mainland credit report if you had worked in the Mainland China in the past.



Applying for a banking job is a daunting process filled with twists and turns. Success requires not only the right credentials but also a thoughtful and integrity-driven approach to your application. In this intricate journey, the devil is in the details, but you can land on your dream job with care and meticulous preparation! Good luck on your banking career journey!

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