human resource executive interview questions and answers
HR Executive interview questions
This sample of HR Executive interview questions can help you create criteria to evaluate candidates for senior HR roles. Tailor these questions to meet specific job requirements for your company’s roles.
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- Operational and Situational questions
- Role-specific questions
- Behavioral questions
HR Executive Interview Questions
HR Executives are responsible for overseeing all basic operations of the Human Resources department: onboarding process, performance evaluations, compensation and benefits. They also play a strategic role in building the company’s hiring plans.
Successful HR Executives should have theoretical and practical knowledge of Human Resources procedures (preferably acquired through a BS degree in HR and work experience in a senior HR role like manager or business partner ) They should also be interested in trying new techniques to foster a more supportive workspace.
During your interview process, test candidates for their interpersonal and leadership skills by combining behavioral and situational questions. HR Executives should be able to support, motivate and mentor employees, so keep an eye out for organized executive candidates who can build healthy work relationships.
Operational and Situational questions
- What recruiting metrics would you request, if you had to make a quarterly forecast of our hiring needs?
- We want to offer flexible working hours for our employees. What policies would you recommend to achieve that goal?
- An employee submits a complaint. Describe the steps you’d take to process it.
- How would you handle an HR department mistake that resulted in regulatory fines?
- What are the pros and cons of implementing an employee referral bonus program?
- In your experience, what employer benefits increase employee satisfaction? Why?
- How would you structure an onboarding process to be a positive experience?
- What HR software have you used? Mention any tools you’re familiar working with, including ATS and payroll systems.
- Have you ever experienced conflicts within your team? How did you handle them?
- Describe a time you successfully resolved differences between an employee and upper-level management.
- How do you stay informed about updates to labor laws?
- Give me an example of a time you led a complex HR project from start to finish. How did you do it?
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So you’ve been in HR for a few years now, and you’re eager to move to the next level. It’s no wonder — with 61,000+ jobs available and a median salary of over $88,000 , HR Manager is a highly desirable position (enough to have cracked the top ten of 2016’s Best Jobs in America ).
But of course, before you can enjoy the perks that come with the position, you need to actually get the job. As an HR expert yourself, you already know that the best way to do that is to brush up on your interview skills. It’s always a good idea to prepare for the most common interview questions — but if you want to really wow the hiring team, you’ll need to go a step further and research interview questions that specifically speak to the role you’re applying for.
Check out these common interview questions for HR Managers that we’ve rounded up — as well as tips on how to answer them.
1. What is [your] management style?
Many people lean towards one management style in particular, and it’s perfectly fine to share that. But remember that as you move to a new company with a new culture and people to boot, what’s worked for you in the past won’t necessarily be the right choice. As one interview candidate notes, “one has to adjust to each individual, and also adjust to the team as [a whole].” Describing your own personal management style while also indicating an openness to flexibility is key here.
[Related: 5 Ways to Woo Hiring Managers During The Interview Process ]
2. As an HR Manager, how will [you] drive results?
Increasingly, HR isn’t just about administering benefits or settling employee disputes — it’s about driving business results through effective people management. To wow your interviewer(s), discuss the core initiatives you’d implement at the prospective company, how you would measure success and how the initiatives would impact the bottom line.
[Related: 4 Tips Every HR Person Should Know ]
3. What do you like least about the world of human resources?
Everyone has parts of their job they aren’t crazy about. However, it’s important to avoid coming across as overly negative or unwilling. If you don’t like recruiting for example, you shouldn’t say “I hate recruiting” and leave it at that. Instead, you might want to say something more along the lines of “Recruiting isn’t my passion, but I know what an important role it plays to a company’s success so I don’t mind taking it on as one of my responsibilities.”
4. Describe an ideal workplace for you.
This question is important on a couple of fronts: For one, it allows you to describe what you personally need in order to do your job successfully, which is important in determining whether or not the company you’re interviewing with is the right fit. In addition, though, it’s also a good starting point for you to talk about how you would shape the workplace and company culture if given the job.
[Related: How to Make Sure You Find the Right Cultural Fit ]
5. As an HR person, what is your view on job eliminations?
In the HR field, you often have to make tough calls. One of those, unfortunately, is job eliminations, whether through layoffs or firing . That probably shouldn’t be the first move you make (a performance improvement plan , for example, can be just what you need to bring an underperforming employee up to snuff). But when that doesn’t work out, or an employee does something particularly egregious, there comes a point when you need to let an employee go for the good of the company — and it’s important to communicate to your potential employer that you understand that.
6. Describe a difficult experience you had with an employer/manager/coworker and how you handled it.
This question is frequently asked in interviews regardless of the role, but as a soon-to-be HR Manager, it’s especially important to demonstrate effective conflict resolution . Nail this question by describing the specific action you took to overcome a difficult situation, how you showed level-headedness, and what the results were.
7. Tell me about a time when you didn’t follow policy or had to deviate from policy.
Establishing and enforcing policies and processes is a key component of HR, but that doesn’t mean they should be set in stone. In answering this question, you’ll want to talk about how and why deviating from the norm was the right decision, and how that impacted policies moving forward.
[Related: 10 Oddball Interview Questions ]
8. How do you deal with [an] unethical situation? Any examples?
It’s not always easy to stand up for the right thing, but if you’re in HR, it’s expected of you. You can’t answer this question simply by commenting on unethical practices that you’ve witnessed — you need to talk about a time when you saw something going wrong and took concrete action against it. If you don’t have a relevant, first-hand experience to share, make sure to brainstorm a hypothetical scenario beforehand and think of how you would remedy the situation.
9. What questions would you ask me if you were the interviewer?
This is another good opportunity for you to show off the ideas you have for the company you’re interviewing with. Ask questions that demonstrate an understanding of the type of candidates they need and their current pain points. If the company strives to become more data-driven, for example, you may want to ask what experience the candidate has with reporting and analytics. Still drawing blanks? Try asking one of these oddball questions for a response recruiters won’t soon forget — just make sure to justify why you think it’s valuable!
10. What trends will shape Human Resource departments over the next five years?
If you’ve been in HR long enough, you likely have your own thoughts on where the industry is heading. However, it never hurts to show that you keep up with the latest industry research and findings. Cite information from your favorite HR newsletters, trade magazines or conferences. A few trends that are supposed to be particularly important in 2017: competitive hiring, more tech roles at traditional companies and a bigger push for pay transparency, says Glassdoor Chief Economist Dr. Andrew Chamberlain .
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