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HR Interview Questions

You’ve completed your chosen Human Resources courses and acquired all the necessary certifications - now it’s time to put your best foot forward and prepare for your HR job interview. Here we will provide valuable insights and tips on some of the most commonly asked HR interview questions and answers that will impress your interviewer and help you to get into a range of HR professions.

With the job market becoming increasingly competitive, it's important to be well-prepared for interviews, and understanding the types of questions that may be asked can give you a significant advantage. Take a look at some of the most common HR interview questions and how to answer them below.

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“What is your understanding of a HR department’s role in the workplace?”

This question is most commonly asked during interviews for entry-level HR positions, so that your interviewer can assess how well you understand the responsibilities and objectives of a Human Resources department within an organisation. If you are asked this as one of your HR interview questions for a more senior position, it’s likely that your interviewer is looking to evaluate the approach that you generally take towards HR.

Try not to answer this question in a way that is too matter of fact – your interviewer isn’t asking for the exact definition of a Human Resources department. Instead, give your outlook on what you believe are the main responsibilities of the HR department – employee selection, conflict resolution, managing disciplinary processes, etc. – and why you believe having a functional HR department is central to successful workplace management.

Why do you want to work in Human Resources?”

If you are interviewing for an entry level HR role, your interviewer might ask you this question to assess your commitment to Human Resources and to get a little more insight into your character. Try to give an answer that highlights what you feel you can do for others through a role in HR, such as helping to build a thriving team in the workplace or maintaining a harmonious workplace culture. Working in Human Resources is a particularly rewarding profession for those who enjoy helping others.

“What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?”

This isn’t just one of the most common HR interview questions but one of the most popular questions for interviews in a wide range of industries. The reason for this is that it allows prospective employers to see how you approach your weaknesses and attempt to improve them, as well as getting to know what skills you can bring to the HR role.

When referencing your strengths in HR interviews, choose traits which are especially relevant to your chosen profession. A good HR representative should be a ‘people person’ with strong communication skills, an affinity for good time management, organisational skills and an ability to be both flexible and adaptable. Be honest about your weaknesses but follow them up with the steps you are taking to address them.

“Can you give an example of a time when you helped to manage or resolve a problem/conflict?”

This is one of the most common HR interview questions asked to those applying for more senior level roles, who likely have prior experience of conflict resolution. If you’ve worked in HR for some time, you’ve probably got an example in mind.

However, if you are asked this question when interviewing for an entry-level role, it’s important that you still answer, as conflict management and problem solving is a key element of any HR position. Try to draw on experiences from other areas of your life – perhaps you contributed to the resolution of a problem while working in a previous job or helped to resolve conflict during a team project while you were still in education. Whatever example you give, confidently explain the context, the problem which arose, what you personally did to reach a resolution and what the final outcome was.

“How would you ensure that equality and diversity policies are followed in the workplace?”

If this is one of the HR interview questions put to you, your interviewer is likely looking to assess your knowledge of the laws and regulations regarding equal opportunities, such as those outlined in the Equality Act 2010. Your answer will also highlight the approach that you take to implementing important policies within the workplace.

In your answer, reference the importance of monitoring equal opportunities policies during the hiring process in the workplace, as well as how you would work to ensure that all employees are treated equally on a day-to-day basis.

“What do you think is the greatest challenge faced by a HR department today?”

This question is asked so that the interviewer can assess your overall knowledge of Human Resources and how it has changed in recent years. Your interviewer will be looking for you to demonstrate up-to-date knowledge on HR and an ability to talk about HR confidently. Some of the challenges that HR departments have faced in recent years that you may wish to mention include re-engaging the workforce following the COVID-19 pandemic, implementing better mental health care services in the workplace and retraining teams to keep up with developing technologies.

“In your opinion, what makes a successful team?”

This is one of a selection of HR interview questions for HR position where there is no wrong answer – it’s more about how eloquently and confidently you are able to explain your response. When giving your answer, consider the importance of effective collaboration, respect between teams and management, consistent communication, focus on morale and more. A particularly effective response might also include an example from your own experience wherein these qualities have allowed a team to work together successfully, whether this is from a previous job role or from your time in education.

Why do you want to work for our company?”

To give an effective answer to this question, you should prepare for your interview by doing some research about the company and their core values and mission, incorporating these into your answer. This is a great opportunity to show your interviewer that you aren’t just looking for any job, you’re passionate about this specific vacancy and believe you could bring something unique to the role. Reference specific company values that align with your own – for example, your prospective employers may pay special focus to sustainability, equality, employee wellness or other issues that are of importance to you. Avoid giving answers which are not in any way unique to the specific company that you are interviewing for, such as ‘This role is well paid’ or ‘I was just ready for a change of job role’.

Further advice

The Human Resources interview questions and answers provided above are designed to serve as examples – it’s important that you tailor all of your responses to your prospective job role and the specific company you are interviewing with. Prior to the interview, you should research the company and the specifics of the job so that you can appear prepared and well-informed. Expect a range of HR interview questions that aren’t on this list, as the questions you’ll be asked will vary depending on the specific role that you are looking to land.

During the interview, it’s essential that you answer questions confidently, clearly and eloquently. Additionally, you should aim to appear friendly and approachable, avoiding any nervous or stand-offish behaviour. Remember that your interviewer is not only evaluating what you can bring to the HR department but how well you fit into the rest of the team, too.

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