In this article, we'll cover:
From applying for a job to securing the position, you might have to go through several stages in the interview process. Most include one interview with HR, one with the hiring manager, and possibly technical tasks regarding the position. HR recruiters are those in charge of the first candidate screening, including reviewing your resumes to conducting the first call or interview with you, and are crucial in deciding if your qualifications fit the company and can be passed to the managers for further review.
HR takes care of all employees in a company, including any training, career consultation, workplace issues, and, of course, initial screening of the candidate, which is sometimes called an HR interview.
An HR interview might be a 30-minute call or an in-person meeting, with the purpose to evaluate your compatibility with the company and competency for the role.
The HR round of interviews help companies spot the traits that will excel in their office and filter the background required to perform well. And we’re here to help you stand out in one with tips for HR interviews, questions to expect, and questions you should be asking in an HR interview
Read the job description through and through. If you’ve secured an interview slot with the HR, you already passed their basic qualifications on paper, and now is your chance to make an impression in person.
HRs review hundreds of candidates in the process, so show up ready to cut right to the chase.
Pick out your outfit in advance, iron your suits or blouses, and clean those shoes. Do whatever you need to feel confident and comfortable. If you are not sure what the dress code is, feel free to ask via email prior to the HR interview.
And remember that dressing a bit too formal is always preferred over dressing down and looking too casual for an interview.
📚 Further reading: What to Wear to Job Interviews - Full Guide [+ examples]
Interviewing is essentially convincing the interviewer that your experiences and skills are what they need. Chances are you have already reflected on your past experiences and skills when you pull together your resume.
Before the HR interview, practice telling that in the form of a story with details that can showcase your skills.
Do your research! Success is where preparation and opportunity meet. What are the company's history and story? What industry is it in? What are their current projects? Who are their clients? Who are their competitors? Who are their C-suite and investors? Having this kind of knowledge in an interview demonstrates to HR that you are prepared to take on this role.
And research your interviewer panel — who will be sitting in on this HR round and what are their backgrounds.
Get a good night's rest. Before you start that well-prepared self-introduction, chances are your interviewer has already made up their first impression of you. Having great energy goes a long way: it’ll make conversations refreshing and keep your head sharp and clear.
Even if you are doing an HR interview over the phone, sit straight and smile. Your body language affects your tone.
📚 Further reading: 15 Tips on How to Answer Interview Questions Confidently
HR Interview Question - Tell me about yourself.
HR Interview Tips - This is often the first question you’ll come across in any interview. How you answer this question in an HR interview should help them understand you. It would also set the tone and direction of the interview.
A great formula is to walk through your present, past, and future: simply what you are doing right now, what you did in the past to get you here, and what you want to be doing in the future.
HR Interview Answer: Sure, I’m currently an account manager at Miles, where I take care of our APAC clients. Before that, I studied at university, majoring in International Business. During my senior year, I interned at Smith’s as a business development associate, where I helped write up their sales kit and pitched at various trade shows. I really enjoy the work of sales, which is why I’m so excited about the opportunity to work here at Atoms.
HR Interview Question - Why do you want to work at this company?
HR Interview Tips - Answer this question in two parts: what aspects of this job or company attract you, and what kind of career path you want to build here.
The first part shows your genuine interest in the role, and the second shares with your interviewer how you can contribute to the company.
HR Interview Answer: I deeply align with Metro’s beliefs and values. Giving back to the community and helping those in need is something that I personally resonate with. I also want to build a career as a volunteer engagement manager, and I believe I can contribute greatly with my past experiences as a volunteer and program coordinator.
HR Interview Question - Why did you leave your previous company?
HR Interview Tips - This is one of the most important questions in an HR interview. There is of course no right or wrong answer, but how you phrase the answer greatly impacts the impression you leave.
Remember not to bad mouth your previous employer; keep your answer honest and relatively objective.
HR Interview Answer: I feel that my previous job was not challenging me enough. I wanted to take on new responsibilities and had submitted some proposals to my manager, but the company could not offer me the opportunity. I want to work where I could use my abilities to the fullest and further progress my skills.
HR Interview Question - What are your greatest strengths?
HR Interview Tips - When this question is asked in an HR interview, they want to know if you know what your strengths are, and if your strengths will be relevant for this position.
You can list the qualities you think the employer is looking for and pick one or two that you are confident in. Support that with an example.
HR Interview Answer: I can think on my feet and that makes me perform well under pressure. Working in a start-up environment required a lot of fast problem-solving. During our peak sales season last year, I was processing 10-15 big orders a day, organizing shipments and arranging the communication with both our sales and their clients. I immediately built a system to rate the urgency, prioritize orders, and streamline the updates. I believe this trait would allow me to do well as a logistics coordinator here.
HR Interview Question - What are your biggest weaknesses?
HR Interview Tips - Don’t say ‘I don’t have a weakness”, because that’s not true. Yes, you do, everyone does.
With this common HR interview question, the employer wants to learn how well you know yourself, how that will affect your performance, and most importantly — how you will work on improving yourself.
HR Interview Answer: One of my biggest weaknesses is focusing too much on the details of a project. When I first started working as a product manager, I’d spend a lot of time analyzing each and every detail. I’ve been working on that by setting personal timelines for each task. With each due date, I do a final check on the task and rethink the bigger picture. This allows me to ensure quality without sacrificing efficiency.
HR Interview Question - Describe a time when you had a conflict with a coworker. How did you resolve it?
HR Interview Tips - When behavioral questions are asked in an HR interview, it allows the employer an insight into your soft skills like teamwork or problem-solving.
Remember to use the STAR method to highlight your characteristics and capabilities.
HR Interview Answer: I had a coworker that had missed deadlines three times in a row, leading to pushbacks in our whole product schedule. I initiated a conversation to understand why that happened and how we could change that. It turned out that those projects included pricing analysis that was new to his role. We further discussed this with our manager to ask for more assistance on this and enhance our workflow. I’ve found that in the face of conflict, it’s a lot more efficient to try to understand the issue than to point fingers and start blaming others.
HR Interview Question - What is your expected remuneration package?
HR Interview Tips - Salary can feel like a difficult and sensitive topic. However, you should always be ready to discuss it in the interview process. HRs want to know that your salary range aligns with what the company would be able to offer.
Depending on your situation, you might want to delay this conversation and learn more about their budgeted salary or compensation structure.
HR Interview Answer: I’d like to learn more about the job and the whole compensation package or salary structure to further discuss this. However, just based on the research I’ve done and my previous experiences, I am looking for 60-70K. Is this the range you have in mind?
HR Interview Question - How did you know about this position?
HR Interview Tips - This question is often asked for HRs to reflect on their recruiting process. Just be honest! If a friend from inside the company introduced you, check with them beforehand if they would like to refer you.
Many companies have a referral system that awards their own employees and they’d be more than happy to do so. If not, bringing up names would be an unprofessional thing to do.
HR Interview Answer: I learned about this job through browsing LinkedIn. I was searching through the keyword “business development” and found this position. I really enjoy working in a start-up environment and your company's values and the job description caught my eye right away. After reading more about the role, I knew this is where I want to progress my career and skills as a salesperson. I’m really excited about the opportunity and responsibilities this role offers.
HR Interview Question - Where do you see yourself in 3/5/10 years?
HR Interview Tips - HRs want to see how you align your career or life plans with this position. Share your visions of what you think you will accomplish within 3/5/10 years if you start working in this position today.
HR Interview Answer: In 3 years, I see myself building on my technical skills as a consultant — honing my skills in business analysis and sharpening my business acumen. In 5 years, I hope to become a team leader and take on responsibilities of bringing in new clients for Noah & Liam.
HR Interview Question - Tell me about a time you faced an obstacle and overcame it.
HR Interview Tips - With behavioral interview questions, use the STAR method to your advantage! STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) framework shares how you react in certain scenarios with a past experience to support.
This HR interview question analyzes your problem-solving skills and how well you deal with stress.
HR Interview Answer: In university, my interest in economics propelled me to take on a second major outside of statistics. Balancing two majors can be overwhelming, because I’m often juggling a few papers and exams at once. I have worked out a system by breaking down my days into three chunks and my projects into smaller tasks. It allows me to efficiently finish tasks and confidently stay focused on the task on hand.
Nine out of ten times, the interviewer will ask if there are any questions you have for them.
Keep in mind that while an HR interview helps them select suitable candidates, it should also help you evaluate the company and position.
An important tip for HR interviews is to always ask questions! It shows that you are genuinely interested in the position.
💭 Below are some questions to ask the company's human resources professionals:
Congratulations on getting a ticket to the HR interview! You now know what to expect from this initial screening. Follow along with our tips and we’re sure it’ll lead to a successful interview and help you get through the HR round! Good luck!
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--- Originally written by Yohan Ke ---