Barclays Application Process
Barclays is a financial services company that operates globally across several financial sectors including investment banking, corporate banking, personal banking and wealth management.
Barclays offer a number of opportunities for graduates. These include:
- Spring and summer internships. Designed predominantly for undergraduates, these last for a duration of one to two weeks (spring) or nine weeks (summer).
- Graduate scheme. These are long-term placements ranging from one to three years, and provide continual training and development opportunities. Full-time placements usually operate on a rotational basis, to give participants a well-rounded view of their chosen business area.
- Postgraduate opportunities. Start work at Barclays as an associate or quantitative associate.
- Apprenticeships. Barclays offers a number of different training programmes (foundation and higher) that will lead to a new qualification.
- Military reservists. A special training scheme for military reservists that takes into consideration the commitment made to the armed services. Barclays also offers a fast-track scheme for candidates who have passed army officer selection.
The Barclays graduate scheme offers a variety of opportunities across its many business arms. This article will walk you through all aspects of the Barclays graduate recruitment process, including an in-depth look at the application process and how to succeed.
The Barclays Graduate Scheme
The Barclays graduate scheme is designed to provide successful applicants with an experiential learning environment that offers real-world experience.
For all levels, placements are available across nine career avenues:
- Business banking
- Corporate banking
- Investment banking
- Customer banking solutions
- Barclaycard International
- Group functions
More details on each individual business sector can be found in the Barclays graduate brochure.
While Barclays’ headquarters is based in London, some placements can also be undertaken in Manchester, Birmingham, Northampton, Cheshire and Glasgow.
Investment banking opportunities are also available throughout Europe and across the Middle East.
Individual placement locations and durations are detailed on the Barclays graduate opportunities page.
What Qualifications Do I Need?
The Barclays graduate recruitment process works on a series of contextualised assessments, with each candidate evaluated on individual merit.
As such, there are no specific grade requirements. However, there are minimum prerequisites for each role.
Beyond this, there are some openings that will require you to meet specific criteria:
- Associates are required to have appropriate and significant work experience.
- Quantitative Associates are required to hold a PhD or comparable qualification.
- Analysts are required to hold a bachelor’s degree or comparable qualification.
Qualification requirements can be found listed under the relevant vacancy on the graduate opportunities page.
Any additional requirements (e.g. language skills) will be made clear to applicants once they have selected their role choice on the application form.
The Barclays screening process also takes into account mitigating circumstances. For applicants wishing to highlight any circumstances that may have affected their achievements, there will be an opportunity to do so during the initial application stage.
When Should I Apply?
Recruitment for the Barclays graduate scheme is carried out on a rolling basis; each opening is filled as soon as a suitable applicant is found.
With this first-come-first-served approach in mind, it’s crucial that you are proactive in your search and application.
Barclays do run on-campus recruitment events at certain universities. If that includes your university, your careers advice service should be able to offer information on all available opportunities and their respective deadlines.
Alternatively, you can visit the Barclays graduate opportunities page for full details on all current vacancies.
Key Skills That Barclays Looks For
Throughout the Barclays screening process, you will be assessed on a number of key abilities and personality traits.
Each assessment stage (detailed in the following section) is designed to provide you with the chance to demonstrate the characteristics that Barclays looks for in all employees.
Be sure to familiarise yourself with them, and take every opportunity to show them in action.
There are six key traits that Barclays looks for in particular:
- Teamwork. Throughout the application process, demonstrate your collaborative skills by presenting yourself as a team player. Show that you can listen, contribute and lead where necessary, to make the most of the collective knowledge and talent within the group.
- Responsive learning. Show that you are keen to learn by continually building your knowledge throughout each assessment. Adapt your thought process to each new situation, based on a sound understanding of Barclays’ working practices.
- Resilience. Rise to every challenge that is presented to you and demonstrate your ability to thrive under pressure. Show determination and respond accordingly, if and when what is being asked of you becomes unclear.
- Relationship building. Show that you understand the importance of building strong, mutually beneficial working relationships – not just within your immediate team, but across departments and geographical locations. Be open to asking for and offering help where needed.
- Critical analysis. Demonstrate your enthusiasm for problem solving; use every opportunity to think outside the box to find appropriate solutions. Don’t jump to an obvious conclusion but explore multiple avenues to identify the best possible resolution.
- Numeracy skills. Show that you are able to interpret numerical data in such a way as to uncover the meaning behind it. Use your numerical skills to solve any issues you are presented with, based on a full understanding of the facts and figures at hand.
You should have ample opportunity to display these key traits during each stage of the application process.
The final stage will include a face-to-face interview, so it’s important to have examples to hand that demonstrate when you have used each of the six key traits – be it through work experience, education or any extra-curricular activities.
Barclays Graduate Scheme Application Process
The application process for the Barclays graduate scheme takes an interactive approach. It's designed to give both parties the opportunity to learn more about the other, through a series of contextualised assessments.
The process is the same for all undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate opportunities, and includes the following four stages:
- Registration of Interest
- Business Insight – Stage 1
- Business Insight – Stage 2
- Barclays Business Meeting
It is also designed to be time-efficient for the applicant and, in the initial stages, does not require a large time commitment.
As you progress, each task will take a little longer but, as a whole, the process should take between four and seven hours – dependant on your individual working speed, plus any time spent on preparation.
1. Registration of Interest
The Barclays screening process no longer requires that applicants submit a formal CV and cover letter.
Instead, the first step is to select the relevant opening for your career ambitions and skill set, and submit a form to register your interest in the role.
This initial application form will ask for your educational and career history, and standard personal details. It will also ask you to state why you wish to partake in the Barclays graduate scheme.
2. Business Insight – Stage 1
If your registration of interest is successful, you will be invited to participate in the first stage of the Business Insight assessment.
This stage consists of an interactive video that presents applicants with a number of hypothetical scenarios. A series of strengths-based questions will be asked throughout.
It is designed to fulfil two purposes:
- To evaluate your cognitive abilities, work ethic and skill set;
- To offer a realistic impression of what a graduate role with Barclays will entail.
There are four question types that you will be asked during this assessment phase:
- Situational strengths-based questions. Designed to assess workplace behaviour based on criteria held valuable by the employer. They usually consist of a particular scenario and four or five possible responses, which you will be asked to rank in order of preference.
- Numerical reasoning questions. These will test your ability to interpret numerical data and deal with figures in an accurate and timely manner. They may test your knowledge on things such as percentages, ratios, number sequences, currency conversions or financial analysis. Both the time taken to respond, and the accuracy of your answers, will factor in your score for this stage of the assessment.
- Verbal reasoning questions. These will test your ability to interpret verbal information and respond appropriately in various scenarios, as well as your general command of English. You may be presented with a variety of question styles here; the most common is to provide the applicant with a passage of text and a set of related statements. The applicant will then be asked to decide if the statements are true, false or if they are unable to state either way, based on the information provided. Again, how long you take to respond will factor into your overall score.
- Critical reasoning questions. Created to assess your problem-solving skills, your objectivity and your ability to make rational decisions based on information analysis. Questions will take the form of passages of text, from which you will be expected to draw conclusions without assumption or pre-existing bias.
Before participating in the first stage of the Business Insight assessment, be sure to familiarise yourself with the types of questions that you may be asked.
Take a practice assessment to get to grips with how these various question types are presented, and the ways in which you may be asked to respond to each.
Though response times will be taken into account for certain question types, the overall assessment itself is not timed and should take between 35 and 40 minutes.
3. Business Insight – Stage 2
As with the previous assessment, the second stage of the Business Insight test will take place through an interactive video.
This time, however, there will be a greater emphasis on the particular business area for which you are applying.
You will be presented with a relevant project and asked to complete a number of related tasks, as well as answering a series of questions throughout.
Questions will be presented with multiple-choice options, and you will also be able to record video responses.
Your tasks may include things like responding to difficult emails, completing calculations, or providing a video response to a hypothetical problem.
Example project and related tasks:
You have been presented with an issue related to your particular business area and are asked to produce a report containing recommendations for improvement.
Task 1 – summarise this report to your manager via the video response tool.
Task 2 – respond via email to a colleague that has raised criticism of the suggestions in your report.
Task 3 – reply via the video response tool to an email sent by your manager, in which they highlight mistakes made by you and your colleagues in the report.
As each project will be designed around the particular business area for which you are applying, it is important that you are fully up to speed with all relevant activities and the wider current climate surrounding your chosen business arm.
This is a timed assessment and should take on average around 45 minutes.
4. Barclays Business Meeting
The Barclays Business Meeting is the last assessment in the application process. This will be a face-to-face scenario held in a location relevant to the role you have applied for.
This final stage will present you with a challenge that reflects what it is like working in your chosen area. It will be designed to further test your skills and abilities, as well as preparing you to hit the ground running should your application be successful.
There will also be a face-to-face interview held at this stage.
As this is a strengths-based assessment, this is your opportunity to showcase in person the skills and knowledge you have gained through both education and your work/life experience. In particular, the six key traits that Barclays looks for in successful applicants.
It is also a chance for you to demonstrate that you have developed a solid understanding of Barclays’ working culture, through your participation in the previous assessment stages.
The Barclays Business Meeting should take anywhere between 3.5 to 5 hours. It will give you the chance to fully immerse yourself in a real scenario relevant to your potential future role.
Tips for Success
- Do your research. Ensure you have a solid understanding of all services covered by Barclays and how they interlink, as well as a sound knowledge of the current financial landscape as a whole. Showing commercial awareness of the financial world will help you stand out from the crowd.
- Be prepared for a variety of questions. While the Barclays graduate recruitment process focuses on strengths-based activities, you will still be asked a range of questions in the interview segment of your Barclays Business Meeting. You should make sure that you have considered and prepared for a range of question types including competency, situational and behavioural questions.
- Know your goals and motivations. One of the key factors outlined in Barclays’ graduate recruitment advice is that the company is looking for candidates who can clearly demonstrate what drives them. Even if you cannot provide clear examples, be sure to show enthusiasm for the things you enjoy and why they make you a good fit for the role. Understand your motivations behind applying for the Barclays graduate scheme and make sure you are able to articulate them clearly.
- Pay attention to what is being asked of you. From your first Business Insight through to your Barclays Business Meeting, pay close attention to the details of the briefs provided. These exercises have not been designed to trip you up – so as long as you take the time to fully understand them, you should do well.
- Listen to feedback. At the end of each assessment phase, you will receive constructive feedback. If you are successful in progressing to the next stage, be sure to take this feedback on board and demonstrate that you are adaptable and open to advice. If you are unsuccessful, use this feedback as a basis for your application to any future graduate opportunities.
- Use the right device. As the Business Insight stages are designed to be highly interactive, Barclays recommends that these are completed on a desktop and not a mobile device.
Receiving an Offer or Feedback
If you are successful in your Barclays graduate recruitment assessments, you will be made an offer. At this stage, you will be sent further details on the onboarding process, to help you get ready to start your career.
If you reach the Barclays Business Meeting stage but are unsuccessful, you will be provided with a personalised feedback report and offered the opportunity to partake in a feedback coaching call.
These should provide you with constructive advice on how to improve performance and achieve success in your future applications for graduate placements.