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Welcome to ‘How To Interview Human Resources (HR) Candidates,’ the ultimate guide crafted to empower you, the recruiter, as you navigate the crucial process of selecting the right HR professionals for your organisation. In this intricate world of people management, we appreciate that interviewing candidates for HR roles involves a unique blend of evaluating technical acumen, understanding of organisational dynamics, and assessing the depth of soft skills.

This guide will serve as your trusted companion, packed with actionable insights, industry-specific interview questions, and proven techniques to identify the ideal candidates who will not only fit seamlessly into your company culture but also be instrumental in driving its vision forward. From preparation and execution to the all-important post-interview follow-up, we’ve got you covered. Let’s embark on this journey together to unlock the future of your organisation’s own Human Resources department.

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How to Prepare for a Human Resources (HR) Job Interview

Before you can prepare to interview Human Resources (HR) candidates, you need to attract candidates to your position. You can use a free job description template and job advert template to craft job descriptions ready for job posting job board advertising. The job description is an invaluable document, and can later be used as a basis for your job interview.

You’re on the frontlines of your company’s future, welcoming potential candidates for Human Resources (HR) positions, and your preparation as an interviewer is absolutely key. As a foundation, a deep understanding of your organisation’s culture, goals, and the specific roles and responsibilities of the HR positions you’re interviewing for is essential. In preparation, get intimate with the candidates’ CVs. Understand their experiences, skills, and career trajectory so you can probe the depths of their competency. It’s a dual-sided equation: you’re evaluating a candidate’s fit for your company, but they’re also assessing your organisation’s fit for their own career path and ambitions. Your preparedness, professionalism, and the depth of your questions are their first glimpse into your organisation’s ethos.

One integral element of conducting HR interviews is managing the expectations of the candidate. Since HR roles often involve complex responsibilities and require an excellent understanding of organisational dynamics, it’s essential to clarify these expectations right from the start. Ask detailed, role-specific questions to help assess their knowledge and gauge their reactions. Additionally, don’t forget the importance of soft skills in HR roles. Interpersonal skills, conflict resolution, strategic thinking, and an inherent passion for nurturing talent are key attributes to look out for. Finally, consider including real-world scenarios or case studies in the HR interview to see how candidates apply their knowledge under pressure.

Always remember, the hiring process and interview process is a two-way street. It’s not just about assessing candidates, but also showcasing your company as an appealing place to work. Therefore, provide an accurate picture of what the job entails and the company’s work culture. This approach will help to attract the right people who will flourish in your company’s environment.

To assist you in interviewing the best candidates, you should take the time to understand what does an Human Resources (HR) professional do? The best route to completing this task is to review Human Resources (HR) job descriptions. Example Human Resources (HR) job descriptions, sample Human Resources (HR) job descriptions, or a Human Resources (HR) job advert provide a wealth of information on the job role of an Human Resources (HR) professional. This job ad begins with an Human Resources (HR) job summary, followed by Human Resources (HR) key job responsibilities, Human Resources (HR) duties, and Human Resources (HR) tasks. The job description is finished with an Human Resources (HR) job spec, comprising Human Resources (HR) skills and Human Resources (HR) job qualifications.

Human Resources (HR) Job Interview Tips

When it comes to HR interviewing tips, the value of being personable cannot be overstated. This is particularly true for HR roles where interaction, empathy, and understanding are the bread and butter of everyday HR functions. Ensure you put candidates at ease from the start, setting the stage for an open and honest dialogue. Additionally, maintain an objective viewpoint. It can be easy to let personal biases interfere with our judgement, but it’s crucial to remain impartial and fair to all candidates.

  • Keep questions open-ended to encourage detailed responses
  • Listen actively to understand a candidate’s motivations and potential
  • Look for real-life examples that demonstrate their HR skills
  • Remember to assess both hard and soft skills
  • Keep personal biases out of the decision-making process
  • Give candidates an opportunity to ask their own questions

Human Resources (HR) Interview Techniques

HR interview techniques are a critical part of a recruiter’s toolkit. By using Human Resources interview questions and harnessing the power of strategic questioning, you can unearth a treasure trove of insights about potential candidates and build a successful team. For instance, behavioural interview techniques, which delve into a candidate’s past work experiences, can provide a window into their potential future performance. By asking candidates to share stories about how they handled specific situations, you can assess their problem-solving skills, teamwork, leadership, and more.

Competency-based interview techniques are another effective tool. These questions are designed to understand how a candidate’s skills and experience align with the job requirements. For example, you might ask a candidate to explain a time they had to deal with a difficult team member or how they implemented a new HR policy. By focusing on specific examples, you gain a deeper understanding of their capabilities and how they operate in a real-world context.

The STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) method is another popular HR interview technique. This strategy helps candidates structure their responses to behavioural and competency-based questions. As the interviewer, you can prompt them to describe the Situation, outline the Task they were responsible for, explain the Action they took, and detail the Result. This approach offers a well-rounded view of a candidate’s capabilities and can reveal much about their problem-solving skills and overall work ethic. It can also provide valuable insights into their decision-making processes and how they handle the consequences of their actions.

Finally, never underestimate the importance of creating a comfortable and open interview atmosphere. This not only helps the candidate give their best during the interview but also builds a positive impression of your own company’s culture. Remember, in every interview, you’re not just evaluating potential employees; you’re also representing your company’s brand and culture. Showcasing an inclusive, respectful, and engaging environment can be a deciding factor for top talent considering your organisation as their next career step.

Human Resources (HR) Interview Questions to Ask

When interviewing candidates for a HR role, the questions you pose are integral to unearthing the depth of their experience, their professional ethos and their potential fit within your organisation. These questions should delve into both the technical aspects of the role and the softer skills necessary for effective people management and employee relations.

  1. Can you give an example of a complex HR issue you’ve handled and how you resolved it?
  2. How do you handle confidentiality in HR?
  3. How have you developed HR policies in the past?
  4. Can you describe a time when you successfully handled a conflict between two employees?
  5. How do you approach performance management?
  6. Can you give an example of a time you had to implement a new HR policy?
  7. How do you stay up-to-date with the latest HR trends and legislations?
  8. What experience do you have with HR analytics and metrics?
  9. How would you handle an underperforming employee?
  10. Can you share an example of a time when you had to deal with a difficult manager?
  11. What do you believe is the biggest challenge facing HR today?
  12. How have you dealt with an instance of employee discrimination or harassment in your current job?
  13. Can you share an example of a creative incentive programme you’ve designed?
  14. How would you handle a situation where senior management made a decision you disagreed with?
  15. What HR software platforms are you familiar with?
  16. Can you provide an example of how you have supported an employee’s career development?
  17. What is your approach to conducting employee reviews?
  18. How have you managed change within an organisation?
  19. Can you describe your process for onboarding new employees?
  20. How have you dealt with ethical issues in the workplace?

Human Resources (HR) STAR Interview Questions

When using the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) method in HR interviews, it’s critical to ask questions that require detailed, real-life examples from candidates sample answer them. This method allows you to gauge their behavioural competencies and problem-solving abilities.

  • Can you describe a Situation where you had to manage a difficult employee conflict, what was your Task, what Actions did you take, and what was the Result?
  • Tell me about a Situation where you had to implement a challenging HR policy, the Tasks involved, the Actions you took, and the eventual Results.
  • Could you share a Situation where you had to deal with change management, your Task, the Actions you undertook, and the final Result?
  • Can you recall a Situation where your strategic HR initiatives directly impacted the company’s performance? What were your Tasks, Actions, and what were the Results?
  • Please recount a Situation where you had to handle a sensitive ethical issue, your Task, your Actions, and the eventual Result.

How to Address Salary in Human Resources (HR) Interviews

Addressing salary expectations with a job seeker in HR interviews can be a delicate task but handled correctly, it can set the stage for a fruitful relationship with your potential recruit. As a starting point, ensure you’ve done your homework; understand the average market salary for the position and the candidate’s experience level. Knowing where your company stands in comparison to industry standards is essential. You don’t want to lose a great candidate due to a salary mismatch, but neither do you want to overcommit to Human Resources Professionals.

When the topic of salary arises, be prepared to offer a salary range rather than a fixed number. This gives both parties some flexibility and indicates that you’re open to negotiation. Be clear that the final offer will depend on various factors including the candidate’s skills, experience, and the complexity of the role. It’s important to show that your company values fairness and transparency when it comes to remuneration.

Finally, remember that salary is just one component of the total compensation package. Be ready to discuss other elements that could make your offer more appealing, such as flexible working hours, professional development opportunities, health benefits and pension schemes. It’s important to emphasise that your company takes a holistic approach to compensation, understanding that a well-rounded benefits package can sometimes be as attractive as the salary itself. Keep the dialogue open and be receptive to the candidate’s needs and expectations. This approach demonstrates your commitment to employee satisfaction, underpinning your organisation’s reputation as a supportive and desirable place to work.

Questions Human Resources (HR) Candidates Might Ask Employers

Engaging candidates often ask thoughtful questions during an interview, providing them with insights into your organisation’s culture, values, and processes. From the recruiter’s perspective, these questions offer a unique chance to demonstrate transparency and build a foundation of trust with potential HR managers and hires. Prepare sample answers for the following potential interview questions:

  1. What is the company culture like here?
  2. How is performance measured and reviewed within the HR team?
  3. Could you describe the team I would be working with?
  4. What professional development opportunities are available to HR employees?
  5. Can you tell me more about the company’s values and how they are embodied in everyday work?
  6. What is the company’s approach to diversity and inclusion?
  7. How would you describe the management style in this company?
  8. What is the biggest challenge facing the HR team right now?
  9. Can you describe the onboarding process for new HR employees?
  10. How has the company adapted its HR policies in response to the Covid-19 pandemic?
  11. What role does the HR team play in strategic decision-making?
  12. How does the company handle employee engagement and motivation?
  13. Can you tell me about any major changes or initiatives the HR department is currently undertaking?
  14. What are the opportunities for growth and advancement within the HR department?
  15. What HR software platforms does the company use?
  16. How is feedback from employees taken into account when shaping HR policies?
  17. Can you describe the company’s approach to work-life balance?
  18. How does the HR team handle conflict resolution?
  19. What is the company’s stance on remote work?
  20. Can you share some recent examples of how the company supports its employees’ well-being?

Human Resources (HR) Weakness Interview Questions

Identifying weaknesses in HR candidates is an integral part of the interview process, allowing you to assess how they might handle challenges, learn from their mistakes, and grow within their role. These questions aim to probe areas of potential concern without alienating the candidate.

  • Can you describe a time in a previous role when your work was criticised and how you handled it?
  • Tell me about a time when you made a mistake in your HR role. How did you rectify it?
  • Can you give an example of a situation where you failed to meet a deadline?
  • How do you handle stress and pressure, especially in challenging HR scenarios?
  • Could you tell me about a time when you had to deal with a conflict in the work environment?
  • In your experience, what aspects of HR work do you find most challenging and why?
  • Can you share an example of when you had to admit you were wrong to a colleague or superior?
  • How would you handle a situation where you disagreed with a company policy?
  • Can you give an example of a time when you struggled to build a relationship with someone important at work?
  • What steps do you take to improve upon your professional weaknesses?

How to Follow Up With Human Resources (HR) Candidates After Interviews

The post-interview follow-up with HR candidates is a crucial phase in the recruitment process. It’s not just about courtesy; it’s about keeping channels of communication open and setting the tone for future employee interactions. As a recruiter, you must ensure you’re timely and transparent in your follow-ups.

Start by sending an acknowledgement email to every candidate you interviewed. This can be a simple note thanking them for their time, acknowledging their efforts, and assuring them that their application is under consideration. If the process is likely to take longer than anticipated, communicate this to the candidates to manage their expectations.

Next, provide feedback to candidates, especially to those who will not be moving forward in the hiring process further. Constructive feedback is not just a professional courtesy; it demonstrates respect and care for the candidate’s professional growth. If done right, you may turn an unsuccessful candidate into an advocate for your company.

Finally, when you are ready to offer the position to a candidate, make the initial offer via a phone call, before following up with a formal offer letter. The personal touch of a phone call can foster a positive outcome to the professional relationship and allow for any immediate questions or clarifications. In the offer letter, detail the terms of employment, including the job role, salary, benefits, and start date.

Remember, this document sets the tone for the candidate’s transition into an employee, so make it warm, welcoming, and comprehensive. Keep in mind, even after the offer has been made, maintain open communication to support them through the process of acceptance, any negotiation, and onboarding. Your diligence in these steps not only secures the right candidate for the job but also reinforces your organisation’s reputation as an employer of choice.

Human Resources (HR) Interview FAQs

Now we delve into the frequently asked questions of Hiring Managers, employers, and candidates on HR Professional and HR Manager interview questions and answers:


Structuring an HR job interview involves several key steps to ensure it is both efficient and effective. Start by carefully reviewing the candidate’s CV and application beforehand, highlighting key areas to discuss or clarify. The HR interview itself should be broken down into three primary sections: introduction, core discussion and HR interview questions, and conclusion. In the introduction, greet the candidate warmly, introduce yourself and explain the interview’s structure. The core discussion should involve a mix of questions focusing on the candidate’s experience, skills, and understanding of HR departments’ policies and practices. Conclude the interview by summarising key points, offering the candidate a chance to ask questions, and explaining the next steps in the process.


When it comes to HR Manager interview questions, it’s important to delve a few questions further into their professional expertise, leadership skills, and knowledge of HR strategy. Here are a few examples of HR Manager interview questions:

  • Can you describe a complex HR issue you have had to resolve and your approach to doing so?
  • How have you previously handled conflict in the workplace?
  • What strategies have you used to promote employee engagement and satisfaction?
  • How do you stay up-to-date with changes in employment law and regulations?
  • Can you describe a time when you had to implement a significant policy change? How did you manage this?


To best prepare for an HR job interview, start by thoroughly researching the company. Understand its values, culture, and the specific requirements of the role you’re applying for. Review common HR principles and legislation, and be ready to discuss these in detail, often through practical examples from your previous experience. Practice answering common HR interview questions, focusing on how you’ve used your skills to positively impact your past employers. Remember, many HR career roles are about people management, so showcasing your communication, conflict resolution, and leadership skills will be key. Finally, prepare some thoughtful questions to ask the interviewer to demonstrate your interest in the role and the company.

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