Interview Questions and Tips for Human Resources Jobs

Preparing for a job interview with any human resources representative means lots of preparation and practice with interview questions. Remember, human resources staff deal with personnel all day long. They are typically savvy in the interview process and have probably seen lots of candidates for lots of positions so they have a discerning eye. Your task will be to win them over while still demonstrating that you have some of the same skills and savvy.

Preparing for the Interview

Interviewing for an HR job is very similar to interviewing with an HR representative for another job. You want to make sure that this "first impression" really counts because these interviewers will be your manager and/or your coworkers if you get the job. Put your best forward by:

  • dressing professionally-look like the other members of your interviewer's corporate culture. This may require a little research on your part to find out how conservative and/or traditional their business attire is.

  • arriving early-punctuality is critical in an HR environment so it's better to be early, rather than late. 

  • bring samples of your resume, references and any nonproprietary work examples that will highlight your skills.

  • researching the company-employers like to see that you've spent time getting to know their business even before you're hired.

  • practice selling yourself-ask a mentor or advisor you trust to do mock interview sessions with you so you can smooth out your presentation and concentrate on being enthusiastic.

Practice Questions for Before Your HR Interview

Many HR representatives are skilled in asking questions that are open-ended. They are looking for specific examples of the skills that you say you have. They are also looking for inconsistencies that demonstrate you aren't who you sell yourself to be. Practice some of the questions below to make sure you're prepared to answer tough questions with excellent examples.

  1. What parts of your education do you feel are most relevant to this position?

  2. Tell me about a time when you had to handle a disagreeable or disgruntled employee?

  3. Tell me about a time when you had to work toward a hard deadline?

  4. Why do you want to work for us?

  5. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

  6. Tell me about a time when you had to communicate important information accurately and quickly to a large number of people.

  7. How do you personally make sure that any employee information you have access to remains confidential?

Tips for Selling Yourself During the Interview

HR professionals are skilled at looking for more than technical skills. They will also be evaluating you for:

  • good verbal and written communications skills,
  • good organizational skills,
  • excellent problem-solving skills,
  • clear dedication to work
  • reliability
  • the ability to work well with others and
  • the desire to progress in your field.

You'll want to make sure you're energetic, enthusiastic and keep good eye contact throughout the interview. Use a career portfolio, if you have one, to sell your skills, education, experience and professional contacts. Bring thank you notes already addressed and stamped so you can complete them and mail them on your way home if possible. Collect business cards from anyone you interview with and make notes on the back, during your interview so you can refer back to them when composing your thank you notes.