Barclays Interview Questions

Preparing for the Selection Procedure at Barclays

The application, interview and assessment process for Barclays is as follows:

  • Online application
  • SHL Numerical testing
  • SHL Verbal Reasoning Testing
  • Telephone Interview
  • Assessment Centre

Telephone Interview

Your first round telephone interview will be conducted with a senior representative from your business area and will last under 30 minutes. It will be a competency based interview, and will require you to elaborate on your CV, speak about past experiences, and explain why you are applying for and well suited to your potential role at Barclays.

The following are examples of the types of questions you may be asked:

  • Why Barclays?
  • Why this division?
  • What do you know about this division?
  • What could you bring to the role?
  • What issues are currently affecting the banking industry as a whole?
  • Tell me about a time you managed to persuade someone to take your point of view.
  • Tell me about a time you had to change your approach in order to be understood by someone else.
  • Tell me about a time you have dealt with a problem in a team.
  • What type of research did you undertake for this role?
  • How does your business area fit within Barclays?
  • What issues do you think are currently affecting Barclays clients?
  • What would your response be if you were asked to manage a group, and what would your approach to management be?
  • Tell me about a goal you have achieved in the last 3 months.
  • How have you changed a process that is already in place and successful?
  • How have you developed relationships within a team?
  • What challenges face your specific division?
  • Tell me about a time when your ethical stance and values were challenged.
  • Tell me about a time when you were able to notice an anomaly quickly when analysing data.
  • Tell me about a time when you contributed to the success of a team.
  • Tell me about the biggest challenge you faced in university.
  • Have you applied anywhere else?


  • Do some research into your business area: the tasks your job would entail, the qualities they value in their employees, and the recent projects they have been involved in.
  • Have examples from you personal experience prepared to speak about, but do not read from a script, as this comes off as forced and unnatural, and may cause you to give answers that are not entirely relevant to the question being asked.
  • Be prepared with a few intelligent questions to ask of your interviewer
  • Don't be afraid to ask for clarification if you do not understand a question, or admit when you do not know an answer
  • Keep up-to-date with the financial markets in the days and weeks preceding your interview

Want an advantage over other candidates in your interview for investment banking? Check out the most comprehensive interview guide available and help yourself to get a great job in investment banking. Or check out JobTestPrep, which has practice tests and tips on how to approach presentations, role-play and group exercises.

Assessment Centre

The assessment centre varies slightly for each of Barclays graduate programmes. Your assessment centre will consist of some of the following:


Interviews at assessment centres are usually competency based, although technical interviews may be used for some of the more numerical graduate schemes. Interviews usually last about half an hour to an hour, and you will be evaluated against specific key competencies which will be made known to you.

Tip: Prepare personal examples of times when you have shown evidence of skills/leadership/ingenuity and other competencies, so that you are able to intelligently answer your competency questions. Your answers are expected to be fairly long, so talk at length about your experiences, and your reasoning for your actions in various situations. It is perfectly acceptable to repeat examples from your initial application or phone interview.

Group Exercise

The exact task and purpose of each group exercise will vary between divisions and roles applied for, however the main thing to keep in mind is that they are not looking for those that can dominate the group - they are looking for those who can work well in a team. The way you interact with others matters just as much as the points you make. Try to make your case and keep the group focused, but without being overbearing. Encourage the participation of others.

Your group may be presented with an information package or a video containing background information to the discussion, which will require the group to come to a decision of some sort, such as a company to invest in, a product to choose to promote, or simply the ways Barclays could improve its services. If there is supporting material given, be sure to read it quickly yet carefully, and to keep these details in mind during the discussion. There will be a brief question period from the judging panel based on your group's conclusions, so be sure to pipe up and answer at least one if you can.


Presentation style and formats vary per assessment centre. In some assessment centres you are asked to prepare a presentation on the day, after being given relevant supporting documentation to do this. However, for most of the graduate scheme assessment centres, a specific topic and other information will be sent out in advance of the assessment centre, for you to pre-prepare a ten minute presentation on.

If you are asked to prepare a presentation on the day, you will be given 40 minutes to an hour to prepare. Often the use of a flip chart is available to you. Be sure that you use it as a visual aid only, and are not simply reading from it.

You will be assessed on content of the presentation as well as the delivery, so you'll need to appear confident and engaging when speaking.

Written Exercise

This may simply involve reading an article and answering questions about it, or it may take the form of more of a logical exercise, where certain information will be provided and you will have to fill in the missing information. This may also be your case study, where you will have to read the background information and write a response about your potential solutions to the problem.

If a written exercise is a part of your assessment centre, it is because they want to be sure that you have the language and communication skills to succeed in your job, as well as the organizational and time management skills to deal with a large workload. Do not spend too long reading over the information before you begin writing, and leave yourself time at the end to read over your response to check for spelling and grammatical errors, as these exercises are usually completed by hand and not on a computer.

E-tray exercises may also be used. This will involved prioritizing and responding to a number of emails that you will receive. You may also be asked to explain your reasoning or suggest courses of action. This will be timed, so work quickly, but be sure not to overlook important details. Click etray to practise these tests.

In some cases, you may also be asked to sit the same type of numerical and verbal SHL tests that you completed online.