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HR Consultant Interview
Questions

30 Questions and Answers by Rachelle Enns

Updated January 11th, 2019 | Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
Question 1 of 30
Have you ever led performance reviews or employee coaching sessions?
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How to Answer
If you are newer to your HR career, you may not have a lot of exposure in employee coaching and performance meetings. Regardless of your level of exposure to these tasks, the interviewer is looking for further knowledge of your leadership experience. Speak about your experience with coaching and motivating those on your team. If you have recently read a book on performance coaching, you could discuss this as well, and how it has helped you.
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Top 30 HR Consultant Interview Questions with Full Content
1.
Have you ever led performance reviews or employee coaching sessions?
If you are newer to your HR career, you may not have a lot of exposure in employee coaching and performance meetings. Regardless of your level of exposure to these tasks, the interviewer is looking for further knowledge of your leadership experience. Speak about your experience with coaching and motivating those on your team. If you have recently read a book on performance coaching, you could discuss this as well, and how it has helped you.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"In my current role I have a significant part in performance reviews for our team of 35 individuals. The executive team is also involved in these reviews, so I would not say that I take the lead, but I do play an important role. I am a good coach as I love to inspire and motivate others to do their best in all aspects of their lives. I would say that I have led about 200 coaching sessions in total, throughout my HR career."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"As I am newer to my career I have not yet had the opportunity to lead performance reviews or coaching sessions. I believe this is an incredible leadership skill and I look forward to implementing my knowledge and helping others to succeed in the workplace. I recently read 'Leaders Eat Last' by Simon Sinek, which taught me a great deal about overcoming traditional assumptions on how great leaders effectively guide their teams. This book gave me a few excellent ideas on how to approach employee coaching, once presented with the opportunity."
Anonymous Answer
"I have led two full cycle performance reviews. This included the beginning of the process with re-launching SMART goals for KPI's. In my current role, I am completing coaching sessions almost daily. A coaching session I had yesterday was with a Zone Leader on the perception of his leadership style not feeling collaborative, and we brainstormed together on ways to be more inclusive with his team in conversation."
Rachelle's Answer
You do a great job showcasing your high-level coaching sessions. Your approach sounds structured and very clear.
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2.
What type of employees do you find most challenging?
An HR Consultant will encounter every possible personality type in their career! The interviewer would like to know more about the kinds of employees that you find difficult to manage, and how you handle them. As an HR professional, you will be required to collaborate successfully with a great variety of personality types. Discuss with the interviewer the types of personalities that you find most challenging to manage, and why.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"Every employee brings their challenges and strengths to teams. It is difficult to influence associates who are disinterested or resistant to engagement with the team. Luckily I do not encounter this often. The people who I have led are motivated and hardworking, each in their unique way."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I feel as though I can adapt to most employees, but what challenges me is someone who is just looking to skate by with no real ambition. I do my best to find ways to motivate any and every employee. Even if they are not vying for the next promotion or to be the top person in their department, I feel there is some encouragement I can offer, whether it's discussing a potential growth opportunity, a different department, or what have you. This approach works about 80% of the time for unmotivated employees."
Anonymous Answer
"I find negative employees to be challenging. I try to find the root cause of their negativity and do everything I can to change it, but sometimes I have to be overly positive if it's just the mood they are in."
Rachelle's Answer
Smile through the pain, haha makes sense, and we all have to do it sometimes :) It may be a nice addition to tell a quick story about a time when you coached a negative employee, and they made a great turnaround.
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Anonymous Answer
"This is a great question. I would say the two most challenging types have been the conspiracy theorist and the other more mature individual where English is their second or third language, and they refuse a translator. For both types, active listening was key, along with patience and empathy. I adapted a very calm and soothing voice, closer body language, direct eye contact, and if it were highly emotional, I would ask what they needed at the time to feel heard."
Rachelle's Answer
These are challenging types, indeed, and it seems you handle these situations with the utmost professionalism. Very good answer!
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3.
What questions do you have for me?
As you know from your experience being on the other side of the interview table, it's always a great idea to have questions ready for the interviewer. Review the company website and other online resources to ensure the queries you have are not mundane, or redundant. The last thing an interviewer wants to hear is a list of items you could have found the answers for from merely watching a video on their company site!

Here are some sample questions:

- When would you like to have this position filled?
- How long has this role been vacant?
- Is this a replacement search or a newly created role?
- What is your favorite part about working here?
- What is the company's primary goal for this position in the next 12 months?
- Is there anything from my background and experience that I can clarify for you?
- What do you see as the most significant change in this industry over the past three years?
- Is there any reason why you would not hire me?

Rachelle's Answer #1
"Thank you for asking - I do have a few questions. What is top of mind when it comes to filling this role? Also, what types of career growth opportunities would follow this position? And lastly, do you have internal candidates who are also interviewing for this position?"
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I would like to ask if there is anything in my background on which you need clarification? Also, after discussing everything today, is there any particular reason why I would not be the best fit for this HR Consultant role? "
Anonymous Answer
"What kind of cross-functional teams will this person be working in? Are there any immediate future changes coming?"
Rachelle's Answer
Very insightful, and important questions to ask before joining any new organization.
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Anonymous Answer
"What is the timeline for this position to be filled? What is your feedback with regards to my candidacy for this position? What do you see as the most significant change for your company in the next 6 - 12 months? What do you enjoy most about working here? Is there any reason you would not hire me?"
Rachelle's Answer
These are all excellent questions and will allow you to overcome any objections or questions the interviewer may have immediately.
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4.
Do you feel employees should be paid based on performance, or should they be rewarded for years of experience?
The interviewer would like to know your thoughts on paying employees based on work performance, versus compensating them based on years of experience and loyalty. As millennial employees continue to dominate the work scene, more and more employees are requesting compensation based on delivered results. Do you feel that they should be paid based on tenure, or results? Discuss this with the interviewer and back your answer with an example, if possible.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I feel that employees should be paid, and rewarded, based on their performance. A new employee will find motivation in being rewarded for performance, and it encourages a healthy competition with tenured employees. I have seen this to be true on many occasions in my HR career."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"As an HR Consultant, I feel that both performance and experience should be weighted when deciding compensation, pay increases, and promotions. You want to ensure that you compensate your highest performers appropriately but that their growth is stable and manageable in the long-term."
Anonymous Answer
"I believe they should be paid for performance. I think this drives the right behaviors to move the business forward. I don't think seniority translates to performance. I do believe seniority should be taken into a factor for some things, like job bidding."
Rachelle's Answer
Perfect response, and you make a great case for where seniority should be considered but also how it should not trump a high-performing employee.
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Anonymous Answer
"A starting salary should be a reflection on what I bring to this role, which is a combination of experience, skills, and knowledge. In terms of bonuses or incentives, this should be paid only if certain job-specific metrics are achieved that are within the control of this position."
Rachelle's Answer
Well said! This is a very fair compensation structure.
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5.
Tell me one valuable skill that you are currently working on.
The interviewer wants to see your dedication to professional growth. When you are all about professional development, chances are you will pass that excitement onto the employees that you influence, as an HR Consultant. Give an example of a skill that you wish to develop. Bonus points if you can tie that skill in with a talent mentioned in the job posting!

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I am working on my assertiveness. Sometimes I have a great idea, and I fumble in asserting myself, and I believe that the team would be much better off if I were to have lobbied for my idea. Or sometimes I am too understanding to last-minute scheduling requests which results in an employee shirking their responsibility and others having to pick up the slack. I know that this is a weakness of mine and I have made it a point to work on it, including reading 'Nice Girls Never Get the Corner Office.'"
Rachelle's Answer #2
"This year I have been diligently working on my ability to create curriculum and new training programs for new hires. I hope to have my first course launched in the next month, or so, however, I still have some technical writing courses to complete before I know it will be perfect execution. I believe these resources will be beneficial to your organization and I look forward to sending them your way for review."
Anonymous Answer
"I am currently on my project leadership. I was recently named project leader for an A3 on overtime reduction. This is my first A3, where I am the leader, so I am excited to work with my team and the resources I have to lower overtime in our business successfully."
Rachelle's Answer
This must be a very exciting opportunity for you! Did you do something over and above or extraordinary to be named project leader? If so, it would be great to include a bit about how you earned the opportunity.
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