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Human Resources/HR interview questions


Hello Mam,
I am looking for the job in HR having 2 years experience in HR training and experience and after having around an year gap due to maternity what questions i can expect in interview.

waiting for reply


I generally tailor my interview to the position open. I would ask slightly different questions of a beginning, intermediate and senior HR candidate.

Some general questions would be:

Question #1:  How much do you know about our Company?

(This is almost always asked. I want to know if the candidate took the time to research our company on the internet and if they knew our company and whether or not they want to work there or if it is just a job they are applying for.)

Tip: Research the company and know something about it going into the interview. Find a reason why you want to work for the company.

Question 2: Tell me about your last job, your duties and why you left.

(Stick to the facts. Do not lie. Do not get too personal. We do not want to hear your life's story we just want to know what you have done in the past, what kind of company you have worked for and whether you quit, resigned, were layed off or fired.)

Tip: Do not say bad things about your last ocmpany even if it was a bad place to work. It might be better to say that the goals of the company were not compatable with your personal goals and you decided to look for a company that was.

Question 3: What specific skills do you possess that would qualify you to successfully complete this job?

(We do not want to hear I am a people person, please do not say this. We want to know that you can use the computer system, you know payroll or whatever software, you are proficient in Excel, you have experience in attendence tracking.

Tip: Be honest if you are good at something say so, if you have not had experience in something but would like to learn that is okay too. Stress your strong points. Do not discredit yourself.   

Question 4. How much HR Experience have you had and in which areas?

( What we are trying to find out is what part of HR are you proficient and in which part will you need more training or a mentor)

Tip: Be honest. If you did a lot of payroll at your last job but only occasionally did benefits you oculd say I am efficient in payroll, however, I only have basic knowledge of employee benefits but would love to learn more.

Question 5. Have you ever helped to initiate a change? What was the change? What was your role in making the change happen? Was it company wide change or a departmental change? How did you determine the change was necessary?

(Change is hard for everyone. HR has the duty of informing the employees of the change and making the change happen. We want to know your style in handling the employees and the change)

Tip:  Generally what we are wanting to hear is that you talked to the employees about the change and engaged them in the change so that they would buy into it.

Question 6. How do you typically react when change is introduced that you had no part in identifying the need for or planning? Would you describe yourself as a willing participant or an early adapter? Please provide an example.

(Okay now we are trying to find out how you adapt to management changes thrown at you with no notice)

Tip: Early adapters are willing participants in change. They adapt to new ideas and embrace change. Late adapters and those resistant to change want to wait and see how it works out for someone else first or see if they can tweek the old way to make it better so the change doesn't happen.  

Question 7. What programs or processes, that you developed or helped to develop to maintain and reinforce the work environment that you offered employees are you the most proud of contributing to or initiating?

(We want to know if you initiated any employee programs such as incentives, special benefits, employee parties, mentoring programs, etc.)

Tip: If you mention a program be prepared to explain the program in detail. If you mention it we will want to know all about it.

Question 8. What do you believe is the role of the HR Department in relation  to vison, mission and strategies of the business?

(We are now trying to find out where you think HR fits in the company.)

Tip: I really do not have tips on this question each HR professional thinks differently. It is my philosophy that I am there to serve the company in whatever manner the company wishes to use my services.

Question 9. How were you able to determine the success of the HR services and employee relations in your last job? What did you measure?

(we want to know how HR graded itself)

Tip: We do a lot of employee surveys and also feedback from management. Another measure is the amount of satisfaction or dissatisfaction with benefits or payroll processing.

Question 10.  How do you feel about working without supervision or with only minimal supervision?

(we want to know if you can work on your own if needed)

Tip: Just be honest if you feel you need supervision now is when we need to know.

Question 11: What type of supervision do you work best under? Explain your ideal supervisor.  Do you work best alone or in a group?

(We are trying to find out which work style and supervisory style you work best under. This helps us place you with a compatible supervisor and a compatible team.)

Tip: Let us know your work style so we will not be suprised later if it does not fit where you are assigned. If you are not compatible with supervisor and team my may not last long.

Question 12. How do you prioritize projects? Have you worked with project deadlines before? Explain the process.

(we are trying to find out how you work under pressure and whether or not you can prioritize projects)

Tip: generally it is best to do your projects in order of priortiy unless there is a special reason why one project gets pushed to the top (management asking)

Question 13. Image that you are diligently on a project to meet a deadline when you are interrupted.  How would you respond to the interruption.

(We are trying to find out how you communicate with others)

Tip:  it is best to say I am working on a priority project right now. Is this somehting that can wait until I am finished or does it need immediate attention?

Question 14. How do you feel about being part of a team or committee? Are you familiar with brainstorming sessions?  If you should be given a last minute assignment as a result of a team meeting or session how would you feel about that?

(Teamwork is very important and it is important to know if you are a team player or not.)

Tip: If you do not like working on teams it is best to let us know now or you and the team will be miserable later. You could say I prefer to work alone but I will work on a team if asked.

Question 15. If your supervisor or another team member told you that you had made an error or criticized an idea you have introduced describe how you would react and what you would say in your defense.

(obviously we are trying to find out how you handle criticism.)

Tip: a good answer is first I would ask what the mistake was. I would check it out and than if I had made a mistake would fix it. If it was an idea I would ask what is objectionable about the idea and why would it not work.

Question 16. Itís 4:30 on a Friday afternoon. Your supervisor gives you an assignment that needs to be finished by 8:00 A.M. on Monday morning.  You have already made plans to be away the entire weekend.  What would you do?

(This is to find out how dedicated you are to your job)

Tip: the best answer is I would take my laptop and finish it while traveling. You could also say I will stay and finish it and leave on my trip after it is done (if you are driving). Or even I will come in early on Monday and finish it before 8 Oclock. DO not say someone else can finsh it or I will ask someone else to do it.

Question 17. Tell me about a time you identified a problem, the old solution did not work and you had to come up with a new solution. What did you do and what were the results? Explain the process of solving the problem.

(now we want to know how you are at problem solving)

Tip: the best answer is I would go through the steps of what heppened between the last time it worked and now and see if I could find what changed. If I could not I would ask my team for help identifying the problem.

Question 18. If someone asked you for assistance with a matter that is outside the parameters of your job description, what would you do?

(we are simply checking to see if you will take on other duties or if you will baulk at being given something extra)

Tip: Do not say I would tell them it was not in my job description so I cannot do it. The best answer would be if it is something that I am able to help you with and I have time outside my assigned projects I will be glad to help. (I once had a lady ask a male employee to help her get a box off the top shelf and he told her sorry it is not in my job description) (not okay!)

Qustion 19. Think about your most significant accomplishment. Now tell me all about it.

(we just like to find out what the employee feels is their greatest tast)

Tip: this is not counted pro or con it is just a question we like to ask to find out if you have done something you are really proud of and give you a change to shine.

Question 20. We wish you to know that this is a permanent full time position not termporary or part time. Is this in agreement with you.

(we need to know if you can work full time and if you plan to stay a while)

Question 21. Do you have other part time jobs you would be continuing while working for our company? If so how many hours would be devoted to the 2nd job?

(we want to make sure you have enough time to devote to our job and enough rest to do a good job)

Question 22. The hours for this job are from 8 to 5 daily five days a week. Is there any problem with this schedule or would it need to be modified?

(we need to know if we would need to change the schedule for you)

Tip: It is not bad to say could we do 7 to 4 or 9-6 because I have to take my child to school or whatever. We would rather do it now that have to adjust later. Most companies are okay with an ajustment if it is done up front.

Question 23. Each new employee is requried to take a drug screening test would there be any problem with you taking the test?

Question 24. What are your salary requirements in order to accept the job?

Tip: You need to let us now at which level you cannot take the job. You could say at my last job I was making ______. I would need to make that amount in order to make it work, however, I was hoping for __________. This is permissible. We will say if we can accomodate or not.

Question 25. Do you have any questions for us?

Tip: this is your opening to ask questions.

Ask about benfits, ask when you are paid and how (hourly, salarried, weekly, monthly)

One good thing to ask is "What are you expecting from me as an employee if I accept this position? (after all you are also interviewing us to see if you want to work here)

Ask about vacation, sick time and holidays.

Ask about a retirement plan, 401K ,

Ask about incentives , bonus's, cost of living

Ask about overtime if you are hourly or expected hours of work if salaried

Find out in fact if you are exempt or non exempt (hourly or salaried0

Ask if there is an employee handbook or a list of the companie polices

Now is the time to ask any other questions you need to ask, (parking, travel, etc)

You might also be asked before you leave when you can start and how many weeks notice if applicable you need to give your current employer.

You might also be told that the top 3 or top 2 will be asked for a 2nd interview with management and you will be told by __________date whether or not you are selected for a 2nd interview.

It is a good idea after the interwiew to send a thank you note to the person that interview you. Ask for a business card before you leave.

Make sure you dress nicely for the interview and are prompt. If you can't make it on time call to cancel and reschedule the interview.


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Shirley McAllister, CPP, PHR


I can answer questions pertaining to Compensation, Health Benefits, Retirement Plans, Payroll,Payroll taxes, Employee selection, Employee Termination, Training, and Employee Incentives. I have offices in U.S., Canada, UK, South Africa,Australia and NZ. I am most confident in the U.S. and Canadian but have knowledge of the internationals. I do not have extensive knowledge of South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. I do have some Human Resource Knowledge in those areas. Please do not ask me homework questions, I do not have time to answer them.


I currently hold both the U.S. and Canadian Payroll Certifications. I currently hold the SHRM PHR certification. I have worked in the Human Resources area with high emphasis on compensation and benefits for 25 years at the same company. My company is an international company and I work with our International offices whenever there is a Human Resource area needing addressed. I volunteer on the American Payroll Association hotline and have for the last 10 years or so. I answer many questions each week for other payroll and HR professionals, mostly on taxes, benefits and compensation issues. I have been the trustee for our 401K plan for Retirement benefits and our 125 Cafeteria Plan for Health Insurance benefits.

SHRM, National APA, National DOLEA, State National Mentoring Network I.O.M.A. Advisory Board


Boise State University Human Resource Certificate Program PHR through SHRM CPP through American Payroll Association Payroll Administrator and Payroll Supervisor certification through Canadian Payroll Association Published writer of Payroll and Benefit articles in a payroll Publication 25 years experience in an International Company

Awards and Honors
Citation of Merit 8 years in a row for hotline service for A.P.A. Honor Award for child mentoring service through RSVP and National Mentoring A "Pat on the Back" award for outstanding leadership as a Youth Group Leader by "The Salvation Army." Runner up for Employee of the Year at my Company twice and Employee of the month 4 times.

Past/Present Clients
I used to answer questions on when they had a similar quesition and answer section. I volunteer for APA hotline I also belong to several HR forums when I often answer questions

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