Interviews are crucial for human resource professionals. They provide the candidate an opportunity to showcase their communication and interpersonal skills. Researching potential interview questions can help you prepare answers for an upcoming interview. In this article, we list the top 20 questions to expect during your upcoming HR interview and how best to answer them.
What is an HR interview?
An HR interview is a screening process that recruiters schedule with an HR job candidate to ask questions and gauge their basic HR skills and interest in an HR role. An HR interview is essential since it gives you, as a candidate for the HR role, an opportunity to prove your HR skills to the recruiter.
During an HR interview, your interviewer may ask you several questions that relate to the HR role you're applying for or to assess your experience in a relevant position. Also, your interviewer may be keen to know how your previous experiences in an HR role can contribute to the job and company.
10 general interview questions
Here are some common questions you may encounter in an interview:
- What can you tell us about yourself?
- How did you hear about this role?
- What are your salary expectations?
- What do you like about our company's culture?
- What impresses you most about this job?
- What do you know about our company's mission?
- What are your hobbies outside of work?
- Do you have any achievements that you're proud of?
- What motivates you at work?
- Why are you leaving your current job?
10 HR interview questions and how to answer them
In addition to the general questions, here are the top interview questions you are likely to encounter during your HR interview:
1. How can you explain the working culture at your present company?
Organisational culture is crucial to every company. It is the job of HR to nurture and promote a healthy corporate culture. A vibrant organisation helps attract new staff and retains older employees.
Example: “The company I am currently working in has a positive environment. The employees treat each other with respect. Due to the size of my company, most employees hardly know each other. I plan to encourage them to interact more with each other to promote a positive working culture.”
2. What would you consider a successful HR department?
Part of the HR role includes running a successful HR department. This HR interview question helps the interviewer know whether you can successfully lead an HR department, especially if you're applying for a management position in HR.
Example: “An HR department should aim to hire the best talent and retain best performing employees. I have been aligning the goals of our HR department with the management to ensure we have the best workforce in the company.”
3. What HR experience do you have that's relevant to this role?
Recruiters ask this during the HR interview to assess whether candidates truly understand what it takes to perform the role of an HR executive. Recruiters also want to understand whether the candidate is able to take on the new role going by their past experience.
Example: “I have been proactive in enabling my current employer to implement an active HR strategy that all the employees follow. I have been overseeing and directing the training and hiring of employees. I also have experience in overseeing employee dismissal processes.”
4. What do you do when an employee comes to you complaining about their manager?
HR executives can demonstrate strong conflict resolution capabilities and empathy. HR professionals may manage conflicts between employees with their seniors and their fellow workmates.
Example: “An employee was complaining about his senior being repeatedly rude to him. I requested the employee and his senior to come to my office. Once I established that the senior staff was indeed acting out of line, I documented the disrespectful interaction and reported the case to the supervisor.”
5. Which is the most challenging aspect of your job?
A recruiter will ask you this question to gauge whether you know some of the challenges that HR professionals face. They want to assess your problem-solving skills by asking you this HR interview question.
Example: “Making tough decisions is the most challenging aspect of my career. At times, I have challenges deciding on whether to hire or dismiss an employee. However, I think objectively while making my decisions.”
6. What do you think are your biggest weaknesses as an HR professional?
The interviewer will ask you this question to learn about your professional weaknesses and whether they can impact your performance. The key to answering this question correctly is by identifying your challenges and then framing your answers positively.
Example: “My greatest weakness as an HR professional is that I tend to focus too much on the specific details of every project. Thus, I may end up spending too much time on a single project. However, I am working on improving this weakness so that I can complete my projects more quickly.”
7. What would your colleagues in your current HR department say about you?
This question touches on your personality. The recruiter wants to be sure you have certain character traits that relate to the HR role in hand. There are certain reasons why the recruiter chooses to ask you this question. Firstly, they want to get a glimpse into your self-perception. Secondly, they want to reach out to references that talk about you and their assessment of you as a candidate. Finally, the question offers a great way for the recruiter to examine your soft skills to assess whether you can fit into their work dynamic.
Example: “My colleagues describe me as an extremely organised professional. My colleagues also acknowledge that I have great time management skills. In one of the previous hiring projects, my colleagues praised me for coming up with a timeline for all parts of the hiring process. We finally ended up hiring the right personnel to work for our company.”
8. How do you handle pressure in your work?
HR executives face constant pressure in the line of duty. For instance, these executives may be required to make difficult decisions on the best candidate to hire when all candidates seem to have a similar level of qualifications. This question helps the interviewer to know about a candidate's ability to handle pressure at work.
Example: “I admit that pressure is inevitable in my role as a HR executive. I face pressure when deciding on the best candidate for a position, especially if all the interviewees are qualified for the role. However, I know when a candidate is adept at handling some unique projects for an organisation. This aspect prevents me from getting over-stressed in my job. There was a time we were seeking to hire the best IT experts for our company. I created an outline on how to hire the best professionals for the job. After explaining to my team about how to hire the right candidate among all qualified candidates, we managed to conduct targeted interviews that allowed us to hire the best candidate to join our company.”
9. Is there anything that you would consider as your biggest failure in your career?
The employer knows that no HR executive is perfect, just like any other professional. Hence, they want to ask this question to know whether you are aware of your shortcomings. Moreover, they want to learn whether you are a professional who is willing to learn from your past weakness.
Example: “I was running the HR department in a company that needed to hire a huge number of experienced professionals. However, I couldn't manage to steer the recruiting of the needed personnel. Problems started arising when I couldn't meet the expected deadlines. I used this experience to learn about managing a huge hiring project by meeting my organisation's hiring requirements. For the next hiring project, I made sure to put in strategies to help our department hire a large workforce that would deliver on the company's working mission.”
10. Can you list your major strengths?
This HR interview question helps the recruiter know whether you can highlight your specific strengths as a HR professional. Identify the strengths you have exhibited in your previous roles as a HR executive. Backup your strengths with personal stories to convince the recruiter you have major strengths that qualify you to work as an HR executive.
Example: “My biggest strength is my strong work ethics. I do whatever it takes to get the work done when I commit myself to accomplishing a deadline. For instance, our organisation had a proposal to start recruiting new IT staff in the IT department in the next two weeks. I took the challenge as a personal responsibility and strived to finalize the recruitment process.”