Common Interview Questions for HR (With Sample Answers)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Published 25 June 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
An interview is your chance to make a good first impression, explain the value of your skills and experience and find out more about the company. For human resources jobs, interviews are especially important because you must showcase your interpersonal and communication skills. Knowing some questions you can expect during a human resource (HR) interview can help you prepare. In this article, we list common interview questions for HR roles and provide example answers to help you craft your own.
What are interview questions for HR?
Interview questions for HR are ways employers can learn more about your relevant experiences and skills for their human resources role. An HR professional needs to be someone who is organized, empathetic and discreet. During an interview for this kind of role, an employer is likely to ask you interview questions that assess these and other abilities they want in a candidate. By preparing thoughtful responses to common interview questions for HR, you can show employers you are the right choice for their team.
Common interview questions for HR
Here are several interview questions for HR with sample answers you can use as guidance:
Why do you want this position?
This question gives employers insight into why you want to work as an HR professional. When filling this position, employers want to find someone who is going to help them create a professional and productive work environment. When answering this question, show that you like to help others. Explain a few things that stood out to you when looking at the job description and researching the company.
Example: 'I want this position because I have been working in human resources for three years, and I am ready for the next step in my career. Based on the job description, I see that I can further develop my leadership skills in this role. I was eager to apply because I have always wanted to work for a medium-sized company like yours. I can see that you value your employees, and I would enjoy being a part of such a positive work environment.'
What skills make you a qualified HR professional?
This question helps employers learn more about your skills. Before your interview, look through the job posting to see what skills this position requires. Think about which of these skills you have and how you can discuss them in greater detail. Some relevant HR skills you might mention include communication, conflict resolution, organisation, attentiveness and time management.
Example: 'All my life, I have been a peacemaker. I got into human resources because I am someone who can diffuse tense situations and help others find a compromise. I find that my ability to understand other's perspectives helps me with this important task. My ability to communicate well makes me a qualified HR professional. I can clearly communicate my ideas and thoughts, ensuring employees understand what I am telling them. Likewise, I am an effective listener, making me an excellent advocate for employees who need help navigating challenging situations.'
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Employers may ask questions like this to learn more about your personality. Your answer can help them determine if you would be a good addition to their team. When answering this interview question, consider which of your personal qualities would translate into the role you want. Show that you can work well with others and keep up with your work.
Example: 'First, I would say that I am an empathetic person. I am good at relating to other people and trying to understand what they are experiencing. Instead of making quick conclusions, I like to learn all the details about a situation, trying to gain everyone's perspectives.
Next, I am organised. I am always keeping track of my work and managing my tasks. I am someone you can trust to keep employees' paperwork and documents in order and ensure I am turning everything in on time.
Finally, I am discreet. I am not someone who is going to discuss employee business with others. I am skilled at keeping confidential information private, only discussing these matters with authorised personnel.'
Discuss a time when an employee came to you with a complaint about their manager. How did you respond to them, and what did you do to fix the problem?
Employers might ask this HR interview question so you can show a time in which you demonstrated strong conflict resolution skills. As an HR professional, you might have to deal with complaints from employees about other employees. When you answer this question, start by explaining the conflict, what you did about it and what the result was. You can form your response by using the STAR technique, which stands for situation, task, action and result.
Example: 'An employee came to me to complain that his manager was being consistently rude to him and judging his work unfairly. I asked him a series of questions about what his manager had said and asked to see emails between the two of them. I enquired about the unfair judgment of his work, and I brought my notes to my supervisor. From there, we brought the manager in to speak to him about his behaviour, explaining what constitutes appropriate and inappropriate treatment of employees.'
How would you describe the culture at your current company, and what would you do to change it?
Organisational culture is important, and it's partially the job of HR to promote and shape it. A vibrant, positive company culture can attract new employees and help to retain older ones. Be prepared to explain what the culture at your current company is like and if there's anything you would do to improve it.
Example: 'My current company has an overall positive environment. People are generally nice to one another, and there is little conflict. My main critique is that people haven't gotten to know each other, and they leave immediately after work without stopping to chat with coworkers. To encourage everyone to interact more, I'd like to hold small social events throughout the year. For example, I would suggest that people have enough time to go out during lunch and after work, and I would encourage small teams to take someone out to lunch for their birthday and celebrate successes.'
What about our company's culture attracts you?
This question is an opportunity to show what you know about the company and your enthusiasm for the job. Find out about some of the company's policies and aspects of its culture, as well as its history.
Example: 'I love that at this company, all executives have an open-door policy. I think that this leads to more ideas being shared between employees of all levels and less conflict between managers and employees. I believe that transparency and accessibility are two things that can make a company great.
I also like that management gives employees ample praise and recognition. When looking at your social media pages, I saw that you have an employee spotlight, showcasing the hard work of each team member. It's nice to see that employees of all levels feel that the company values what they do.'
How do you assess the success of an HR department or initiative?
Part of your role as an HR professional may include instituting initiatives. It's also just as important to assess whether those initiatives have worked well. You may have a formalised process that your current company uses, or it may be something you do informally on your own. You can give examples of what you've done or what you would do to assess the success of an HR department initiative.
Example: 'At my current company, the HR department vouched for work from home Fridays. After a month, we asked employees how they liked this arrangement. We also asked managers how this arrangement affected their jobs, and if productivity had decreased. Some employees and managers said that they weren't able to work as effectively because they forgot their laptop chargers, and they could only use their laptops for a few hours. From then on, we sent out reminder emails to everyone to bring their laptop chargers home with them on Thursdays if they planned to work from home that Friday.'
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