Interviewing

Seven Common HR Interview Questions and Answers

Jun 30, 2021

Before attending an interview for a human resources position, it's important to plan your answers to common HR interview questions. Preparation is key to succeeding at a job interview and learning more about the scope of the role. Understanding the common questions for an HR position can help you leave a lasting impression on the interviewer. In this article, we cover what HR interview questions are, list the common interview questions for an HR position with sample answers for each and share tips on preparing for an HR interview.

Related: Job Interview Tips: How to Make a Great Impression

What are HR interview questions?

HR interview questions are specific questions recruiters ask job candidates to determine their expertise and fit for a company. This interview style is unique because it seeks to examine the

Common interview questions for an HR position

When recruiting for an HR position, most interviewers ask a combination of general interview questions and scenario-based questions. This helps them test your knowledge about the role, the skills you can employ and your interest in the position and company. These questions also depend on the seniority of the position and the stage of the hiring process. The following lists seven common interview questions specific for an HR position with sample answers of each:

1. Tell me about yourself.

This is a common question that recruiters use to open an interview and establish a rapport with a job candidate. To answer this question successfully, you need to summarise your past experience and your future career ambitions. Sometimes sharing something unexpected about yourself, such as a childhood story that relates to your current position, can spark the interviewer's interest and create a positive first impression. Here's a sample answer to give you an idea of how to approach this common interview question:

*Example: "My name is Mary Lam and I have over six years of experience at award-winning recruitment firms. I started my career in the events industry, where I got the chance to speak to diverse groups of professionals about their learning and development needs. I realised I could use my skills as an innovative events planner to create interactive hiring events and training workshops. Since then, I have hired and trained over 500 employees with a retention rate of 88%."*

Related: Interview Question: ‘Tell Me About Yourself'

2. Why did you decide to apply for this role?

This question seeks to test your genuine interest in the vacancy. Thus, you need to share your knowledge about their values and future initiatives to exemplify your enthusiasm. The more research you do in advance, the more attractive your candidacy seems. In your answer, remember to align yourself with their organisational goals to demonstrate that you're a good fit for them. You can review the following example as a guide on what to say:

*Example: "As an HR professional, I want to help people find a role that matches their passions and skill set. I know your company is expanding into the Asia-Pacific region quickly. Thus, I believe my background and cultural knowledge would be key to this transition. As a resourceful individual, I am confident that I can handle the fast-paced nature of your organisation."*

3. What experience would you bring to this role?

This interview question aims to test whether your skills and experience are compatible with the recruiter's requirements. When answering this question, you need to convince the interviewer of your confidence in your own ability. Share with them your achievements with quantifiable statistics and examples. This can help you stand out among other candidates. Remember to elaborate on what you've already mentioned in your CV or share new information so that they remain intrigued with your application. Here's an example:

*Example: "I am a very results-oriented person. In my previous role as an HR manager, I worked closely with my team members to hire and train over 150 employees for the launch of a new hotel. Within four months, we met this challenge with enthusiasm and a solid team effort. Thus, in this role, I believe I can lead with a positive mindset and inspire my colleagues to do their best work."*

4. Where do you see yourself in five years?

During the job-seeking process, your goal isn't just to secure a position, but it's also to find one that aligns with your goals and interests. Thus, having a five-year plan in mind helps you make more strategic decisions. Sharing your vision with a recruiter during an interview allows them to determine whether they can support your career ambitions. It's always beneficial to appear ambitious in front of a recruiter, because it demonstrates your passion and determination to do good work. The following is an example answer to this common interview question:

*Example: "In five years, I hope to become an HR director. Currently, I am studying for a part-time master's degree in business management to refine my leadership skills and decision-making capability. I believe this senior management role will give me enough exposure to the strategic thinking styles of various business stakeholders to take on a similar role in the future."*

5. What's your view on company culture?

As an HR professional, you're responsible for upholding notions of respect and integrity within an organisation. Not only are you a role model of these core values, but you also set policies and initiatives that maintain company culture. When relationship problems arise, usually other employees will seek your emotional support and professional advice. Thus, to approach the question successfully, it's important to highlight your values and give examples of your previous work. Here's an example:

*Example: "I firmly believe that equal opportunities and excellent role models are essential to thriving company culture. In my previous roles, I have trained leaders to improve their communication styles. I noticed that gratitude and open communication made a significant impact on employee satisfaction. In this role, I hope to continue these leadership training initiatives to create a supportive and caring work environment."*

6. Why are you leaving your current job?

When interviewers ask this question, they want to test your ability to maintain your professional network, a key skill that HR professionals need to employ in their daily lives. Even if you left your previous job due to some conflict, recruiters want to see your professionalism. Thus, remember to speak of your previous employer with respect, appreciate the opportunity given to you and share your learnings. Here's an example:

*Example: "I feel that I have reached my growth potential at my current role and would like to pursue a leadership position with greater responsibility. However, I am truly grateful for the opportunity as it gave me hands-on practice with new hiring and training methods in the industry."*

Related: How to Explain Your Reason for Resignation (With Examples)

7. What are your salary expectations?

Recruiters ask this question to check whether your salary expectations align with their budget for the role. Do some research on the average salary for your HR position to come up with a realistic figure. Anything too low or too high might come across as a red flag. When answering this question, give them a salary range that they can work within. Employers might increase their budget to accommodate a top talent, but this highly depends on your skills, qualifications and experience. The following is a sample answer that you can use as a reference:

*Example: "After doing some research on the average salary for HR executives in this industry, I believe $25,000 to $30,000 per month including paid medical benefits would be ideal. I am happy to negotiate further once I further understand the demands of the job and your budget requirements."*

Related: How to Provide Your Expected Salary (With Tips and Examples)

Tips on preparing for an HR interview

As an HR professional, your goal is to convey your knowledge about industry trends and your concern for employee job satisfaction during an interview. Thus, there are certain behaviours and characteristics you can display to communicate your genuine interest in the role. Here are a few tips on what you can do to prepare for an HR interview:

  • Gather information on the company. Browse through the company's website, social media profiles and the latest news in the press to understand their values and objectives. This way, you can structure your interview answers to seem more relevant, so that you look like a good fit for the role.
  • Rehearse your answers in front of a mirror. Practice can help you appear more confident, however, it's still important to appear natural. As you rehearse, monitor your facial expressions and body language and adjust your approach to seem more relaxed.
  • Pick out your outfit in advance. Adhering to a business formal dress code for a job interview shows your professionalism and respect for business conventions. It's especially important for HR professionals to follow good interview etiquette as they set the culture and norms of an organisation.
  • Arrive early at the interview location. Check your public transit schedule the day before the interview to ensure you arrive on time. It's a polite courtesy that shows your respect for others' effort and time.

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