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August 25, 2023

Tips for Students and Graduates: How best to navigate the Northern Trust hiring process

We focus on helping our students and graduates learn then lead, and that applies to our application and interview process as well.  We asked our early careers teams to share some of their top tips to help you put your best foot forward throughout the process.

We also take a look at frequently asked questions that we have received in previous years when it comes to our application system and our graduate and student programs.

Our top tips 


1) Before submitting your application, review your resume for grammatical and formatting errors, have someone you trust review your resume for a second point-of-view.


2) For the main points you raise on your resume, think of examples to back up each point you reference. These will be helpful during the interviews to follow.  Try to include some of the results from your examples on your resume as well.


3) Research  and our culture prior to your interview. Read the articles published on our Life at Northern Trust page. Check out all of our social media channels (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube) and see what we are talking about and showcasing. Review all the relevant graduate and student pages on our website here.


4) We recommend using the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) method for your responses to interview questions. 


5) Research your interviewers in advance by reviewing their profiles on LinkedIn so you understand their roles and backgrounds. Come to the interview with questions prepared to ask the interviewer(s).


Examples include:

- What would my day-to-day routine look like at Northern Trust?

- What’s your favorite part about working at Northern Trust?

- What is the work culture like at Northern Trust?


6) For remote interviews, ensure you are set up for success by being in a clean, quiet space with a blurred or clear background. We would also recommend that you log in 10 minutes before the start of your interview.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’S)

·           What does the application process look like?

·           What skills do I need to apply for roles at Northern Trust?

·           Do I need to have experience working in the financial sector in order to join Northern Trust?

·           How do I apply to join Northern Trust?

·           What is Northern Trust stance on Diversity?

·           How long should my CV be?

·           What would be the best advice you can give me?






1.       What does the application process look like?

·       Before you Apply

Let’s start with the basics. Within the application we’ll ask for your personal information and academic history and check your eligibility for the given role.

·       Interview

We’ll invite you for a formal (virtual) interview, during which we’ll get to know you, your competency and your goals – and importantly, vice versa. Please note - if you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the process, please email us at


2.       What skills do I need to apply for roles at Northern Trust?

It depends on the position you’re interested in.

From an entry level perspective, aside from intermediate to advanced Excel & ability to manipulate large data we often look for;

·       Attention to Detail and Analytical Skills – both written and verbal

·       Problem Solvers – using your own initiative to think through solutions 

·       Proactive Communicators – ability to listen &/or address relevant parties, know when to escalate

·       Emotional Intelligence – respectful of those around them and their roles

·       Collaborative – positive team players


3.       Do I need to have experience working in the financial sector in order to join Northern Trust?

Many of our roles require you to have spent time in a similar job and environment, while others require less specific experience.

Most of our roles are based on general business skill sets such as Business Analysis, Reporting Analysts, Business Management Associates, Project Co-ordinators and thus do not require experience of the financial sector.

We see a slight shift every year away from pure financial services experience and that is due to the nature of our products becoming more digitalised and new roles being created that simply don’t exist in financial services.


4.       How do I apply to join Northern Trust?

Should you wish to apply to us you can do so via our Careers site here.


5.       What is Northern Trust’s stance on diversity and inclusion?

Northern Trust is committed to capitalizing on the strengths and individual differences across our diverse workforce. What differentiates us is the unwavering belief that diversity, equity and inclusion are inextricably linked: true diversity can exist only in an inclusive work environment where any individual or group feels welcomed, respected, supported and valued to fully participate and contribute to our success.

We look to cultivate, learn and improve various aspects of our workplace through extensive learning & development training, employee led business resource councils – BBRC, WIL, Disabilities, Advancing Professionals, LGBTQ+ who help to advocate awareness weeks, share information, support policy changes and create events to inspire and address topics important to their communities.  Read more about our approach here.


6.       How long should my CV/resume be?

For graduate, student and entry level roles your CV/resume should be 1-2 pages.


7.       What would be the best advice you can give me?

·       Work Experience! Internships! It all matters and one usually leads to the other but super important when looking to differentiate your CV

·       Ask Questions! Network with people in person and online. Use LinkedIn to connect with mentors and reach out to them for advice. Build your community.

·       Spend time practicing how you would answer competency-based questions; practice out loud – time yourself.  Did it take you more than 3 mins to answer that question or did you provide enough in your answer; did you answer the question?

·       Try to relax and enjoy the process as best you can. Let your true self come out during the recruitment process and let your personality shine bright!

Careers at Northern Trust

Learn more about how we enable students & graduates to learn then lead here.