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HR Consultant Interview Questions

To help you prepare for your HR Consultant interview, here are 40 interview questions and answer examples.

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Question 1 of 40

When a major HR problem arises, what is your first reaction?

How to Answer

When things go south in the workplace, the HR professional is often the first place a company will look for answers. To get a feel for how you handle problems within the workplace as an HR Consultant, your interview will be looking to hear that you have your emotions under control and that you are ready to step into action at any given moment. Your job is people, and people are unpredictable. Your interviewer also wants to hear that your reactions to problems reflect maturity and professionalism. Demonstrate that you take a systematic approach to problem-solving rather than react impulsively when an HR-related problem occurs.

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40 HR Consultant Interview Questions & Answers

  • Behavioral

    1. When a major HR problem arises, what is your first reaction?

      How to Answer

      When things go south in the workplace, the HR professional is often the first place a company will look for answers. To get a feel for how you handle problems within the workplace as an HR Consultant, your interview will be looking to hear that you have your emotions under control and that you are ready to step into action at any given moment. Your job is people, and people are unpredictable. Your interviewer also wants to hear that your reactions to problems reflect maturity and professionalism. Demonstrate that you take a systematic approach to problem-solving rather than react impulsively when an HR-related problem occurs.

      1st Answer Example

      "My first inclination in the event of a major problem is to roll up my sleeves and jump in to fix it or help mitigate some of the potential blow out. This initial reaction is especially true when the problem involves an employee's wellbeing, or if there is a risk of harassment or a confidentiality breach."

      Experienced

      "When a major problem arises, my first instinct is to jump in and fix the issue. I am a doer and also think in a reverse-engineering manner. I start with the desired result and work my way backward, figuring out where the roadblock initially occurred. After this initial reaction, I work closely with others in a team effort to get things figured out."

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I start by asking questions to slow the person down who is reporting the situation to me (they are often emotional). I am calm when I ask questions, but I respond with empathy to what I have heard. I speak slowly and tell them what I am hearing is important, and I want to get all the facts down, so I will take notes. If the person affected is reporting the situation to me, they often need to be taken care of before addressing the issue."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      Your method comes from a place of care, empathy, compassion, and understanding. Well done.

  • Communication

    2. How do you develop trust among your team in a virtual, or work-from-home, setting?

      How to Answer

      If you are an HR Consultant for an organization with team members based in remote locations or work-from-home settings, you must be skilled enough to develop relationships with them despite little to no actual face time. With technology taking over and many workplaces offering more remote opportunities, the interviewer wants to know that you can build relationships - even under the absence of face-to-face interaction. Before your interview, think of some ways that you can and have developed a trusting working relationship under the same circumstances. Talking about how you use technology to build relationships will be a key thing that your interviewer will be looking to hear. Don't hesitate to talk about your ability to be transparent with all staff you work with and discuss how that transparency is even more vital in a virtual world.

      Entry Level

      "Technology allows for so much these days. By utilizing technology, I can quickly connect with someone, even if we are across the world from each other. I would suggest multiple contests where team members still have to collaborate to get to the end goal. This would help promote a team-based culture and allow staff to get to know each other more personally. This is the best way to develop trust among any team."

      1st Answer Example

      "I have not yet led a team of remote employees; however, I believe that the fastest way for a team of virtual employees to get to know each other would be to have a Google Hangout at least once per week. I'm very familiar with this platform, but I'm also learning Microsoft Teams and Zoom. Perhaps, I would even start by asking each team member to develop an introduction video and share it with the team. In the virtual world, I would lead my team in a very transparent fashion to help open the door for a trusting relationship and to help foster this culture among my virtual team."

      User-Submitted Answer

      "Being available, present, and meet my commitments and deadlines. Using the camera function to build a deeper relationship than always communicating over email."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      These are excellent ways to build rapport with those who you may not see in person daily. Good answer.

  • Competency

    3. Do you have experience using HR data analytics for the purpose of compensation benchmarking?

      How to Answer

      Compensation benchmarking, or salary benchmarking, is the process of matching the pay of private jobs to similar roles from other companies. For instance, you compare how much your company's competitor will pay for an electrical engineer with five years' experience to ensure your company is competitive in its compensation structure. The practice of benchmarking ensures that you are never out of touch with your company's offering and that your company can more easily attract top talent. Also, when you accurately benchmark, you can better plan for annual employee increases. Discuss the tools that you may have used in this process in the past.

      Entry Level

      "I understand the concept of salary benchmarking, and I look forward to learning the tools your organization uses to collect and track this data. The practice of benchmarking is important. I can see numerous benefits to benchmarking salary, including competitive hiring, better market value knowledge, and reduced talent loss due to better-paying roles with competitors. I believe that employee and candidate surveys could be a helpful way of collecting this data."

      1st Answer Example

      "Compensation benchmarking is a critical task, ensuring that our company is competitive in their pay, allowing us to gain the best talent in the market. Luckily, our company is incredibly generous and competitive, and we pay on average 7% more than our top competitors. I have gathered this information in the past in a few different ways. I have talked with new staff from other employers to find out their compensation system. I have also conducted exit interviews to determine if the salary was a determining factor in an employee leaving. I also pay to participate in industry-specific compensation surveys, where I submit our salary information and then receive a final report tallying all employers that participated. Glassdoor and Salary.com can also be good resources."

      User-Submitted Answer

      "Yes, I have pulled information from my counterparts in the industry to compile compensation benchmarking. I have used data collected by third-party companies in the absence of local market intelligence to create appropriate wage rates and merit adjustments."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      Very good! If possible, be more specific on the third parties that you use, in case the interviewer is familiar.

  • Competency

    4. In which HR software tools are you best versed?

      How to Answer

      Before your interview, be sure to look at the job posting or job description for clues on the types of programs and software used in this position. If you have experience with these programs, discuss your exposure and rate your experience from beginner, intermediate, advanced, and expert. This ranking will make it easier for the interviewer to understand your level of expertise with their programs. If you do not have experience with their preferred software or other tools, discuss how your current knowledge will work in their favor and express your enthusiasm for learning their systems. Keep in mind that your interviewer will be looking to hear your experience in the full HRIS experience, including managing current staff, payroll, talent acquisition, and performance management.

      Entry Level

      "During my college coursework and my internship opportunity with a large manufacturing firm, I got to work within the Oracle and WorkDay HRIS suites. I would rank myself as a beginner-level user in these systems; however, I am technically inclined to learn your systems very quickly. During my internship, I gained a lot of experience in the Oracle Talent Acquisition system, where I helped work on new recruitment processes to be implemented in the system."

      User-Submitted Answer

      "ADP, PeopleSoft, Genesis, Ceridian, WorkDay, Marriott, and Starwood, LMS"

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      All of the major players :) Next, try forming this into a full interview response.

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  • Competency

    5. In your opinion, what are the core competencies of organizational effectiveness?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer is asking what you believe to be the makeup of an effective organization and really to hear your answer from a Human Resource professional's outlook. Your response will require insight, so draw upon what you have seen in your HR career regarding highly successful companies and those that have not. Discuss which core competencies divide the successful organizations from those that fall flat.

      User-Submitted Answer

      "Inspire and motivate others to do their best

      Select the best Talent at the Right Time for the Right Job

      Provide support to managers (so that they can empower and lead, remove obstacles so they can do their jobs)

      Provide training and development to your leadership team

      Partner within and across teams (departmental and intradepartmental)

      Provide support without removing responsibility (promote accountability)

      Communicate"

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      Excellent and very full answer! These are all incredibly important competencies.

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  • Creative Thinking

    6. Where do you see more innovation happening in the Human Resources field over the next five to ten years?

      How to Answer

      As businesses and industries evolve, expand and innovate, the Human Resources staff need to keep up with innovation to implement new technologies, methods, and ideas to meet the needs of both the organization and its workforce. If asked this question during your interview, your interview definitely sees a growing need for innovation and will task their next HR Consultant for being an agent of change in this realm. Before your interview, be sure to study up and think of creative ways to see innovation impacting the HR world. If possible, do as much research on this organization to try and match new and innovative ways of thinking to help their business grow and thrive for years to come.

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  • Creative Thinking

    7. As our next HR Consultant, what cost saving experience within HR would you bring to our team?

      How to Answer

      With many issues facing businesses and industries today, organizations are always looking to save expenses, and the Human Resources department can surely be tasked with helping the bottom line. While there are many ways you can talk about cost-saving measures in the work you will be doing in this role, it is vitally important that you reiterate that these cost-saving measures do not jeopardize the overall employee experience and engagement in their work. As you talk about cost-saving measures you are familiar with that are effective, highlight how they also can help the overall employee experience.

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  • Creative Thinking

    8. If hired as our next HR Consultant, what do you feel should be the single most important metric that we focus on for the next five years?

      How to Answer

      In this day and age, HR professionals have more workforce data at their fingertips than they ever had in the past. The ability to put that data into action is vital for an organization to be successful. With this question, your interviewer is looking to hear your take on the importance of data within Human Resources and what you feel is the most important metric to measure, analyze and take action on. This is certainly an open-ended question that you can feel free to be open and honest on. Just be sure that you justify your answer by explaining why you feel it is vital for this organization.

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  • Diligence

    9. How do you keep up with changes in legislature and human resource law?

      How to Answer

      You likely know that with labor and employment laws continually changing, it could be a full-time job to keep yourself up to date on the changes. If you serve an international team, this question can become even stickier. Show the interviewer that you have an interest in keeping up to date on changes in your industry. Perhaps you have a Google alert set up, a couple of specific resources you lean on, or even an HR lawyer for your company that keeps everyone abreast of changes in your region. Better yet, be sure to talk about the organizations you belong to or publications you receive that help keep you up to date on all legal aspects of the Human Resources field.

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I am an active member of CPHR and subscribe to Canadian Law Reporter and local employment law societies to keep up to date on current or trending issues. I also enjoy reading Leadership articles and reviews by HBR."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      This answer is perfection! You show the interviewer that you lean on highly reputable sources for up-to-date information.

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  • Diligence

    10. Tell me one valuable skill that you are currently working on improving to be a more complete HR Consultant.

      How to Answer

      Your interviewer wants to see your dedication to professional growth in the HR field by asking this question directly to you. When you are all about professional development, chances are you will pass that excitement onto the employees that you influence as a successful HR Consultant. Give an example of a skill that you wish to develop and may be working on now. Bonus points if you can tie that skill in with a talent mentioned in the job posting!

      Entry Level

      "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 next month; however, I still have some technical writing courses to complete before I know it will be perfectly executed. I believe these resources will be beneficial to your organization, and I look forward to sending them your way for review."

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I am currently on my project leadership. I was recently named the 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."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      This must be a fascinating 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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  • Diligence

    11. What do you believe to be the most prominent human resource trend of the year? Have you yet embraced it?

      How to Answer

      The HR industry is ever-changing, with trends in technology, appropriate workplace communication, and social issues. The interviewer would like to see that you remain on top of prevailing trends and topics in the industry, ensuring that your knowledge and approach are consistently relevant. Share with the interviewer what you believe to be the hottest topic or trend in human resources this year. As well, be sure to show an interest in this trend by talking about why it is so important to the success of HR professionals and this organization.

      Entry Level

      "With the events across the nation and world that have happened over the course of the last couple of years, I know that HR professionals really now have a focus on eliminating racism in the workplace and eliminating bias when it comes to hiring and promotion decisions. I'd love to be part of this movement with your organization as the subject is very near and dear to my heart."

      User-Submitted Answer

      "Online learning - yes and no. Not all credentials required for accreditation are available online or by distance education.
      Cafeteria-style benefits - none of the companies I have worked with has adapted this style
      Work from home or flex work schedules - yes, with professional services"

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      These are ongoing trends in HR, and your response will show the interviewer that you are in the know when it comes to these shifts in your industry.

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  • Diligence

    12. Hiring smart is the key to an organizations' success. What interview techniques do you lean on to ensure effective new hires?

      How to Answer

      In looking to bring you on as their next HR Advisor, your interviewer wants to ensure that you have a firm handle on effective recruitment and interviewing by hearing how you use the latest and greatest techniques that help you uncover exceptional talent and leave behind the duds. Perhaps you have developed a particular method for tracking and evaluating interview responses. Discuss what techniques you deploy to ensure that your hiring recommendations are solid.

      User-Submitted Answer

      "When interviewing, we were conscious of asking the same questions on phone screens and interviews with all candidates applying for the same position. That way, we ensured we were assessing everyone against the same test. We also tracked how interview scores related to later ratings from clinical and account managers on caregiver performance to see if our questions were effective."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      It's great to show that you followed a standardized question list - an essential factor in responsible recruitment. Your answer offers a lot of helpful detail while showcasing that you are sure to follow specific processes.

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  • Direct

    13. Do you think honesty is always the best policy?

      How to Answer

      Your interviewer would like to know if you genuinely feel that honesty is the best policy in work as an HR Consultant by posing this question to you. Many will argue that honesty is not always the best policy. Some food for thought - when you are terminating an employee, do you tell them all the reasons why they are being let go, or do you see value in disclosing only what you must disclose. Talk to the interviewer about your thoughts on honesty in the workplace and make sure that you can back up your answer with sound reasoning.

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I believe in almost all cases that honesty is essential to maintain the integrity of the relationship between the employees and HR. HR professionals also need to be aware of balancing honesty with confidentiality and legal concerns. However, most of the time, if you are operating ethically and within the law, then there usually should be no problem with being transparent about a process, policy, or decision."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      Good point regarding the balance between honesty and confidentiality and legal concerns. Your answer shows a solid understanding of your role as an HR professional.

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  • Direct

    14. What questions do you have for me?

      How to Answer

      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 that your queries 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! As always, your interview will gain great insight into your interest in becoming their next HR Consultant if you come to the interview with some great questions.

      Entry Level

      "I would like to ask if there is anything in my background or answers today on which you need clarification. If there are, please don't hesitate to have me clarify. I'm curious if you would have any hesitancy in hiring me for this role because, on my end, I know that I am a perfect fit to join your team of Human Resources professionals to take this organization to the next step."

      User-Submitted Answer

      "What kind of cross-functional teams will this person be working in?

      Are there any immediate future changes coming?"

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      Very insightful and important questions to ask before joining any new organization.

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  • Direct

    15. What is your perspective on work-life integration and how would you bring them to our organization?

      How to Answer

      'Work-life balance' has become one of those phrases often used in interviews. The interviewer wants to see that you understand what it truly means and how you can help bring a standardized philosophy to their organization. True work-life integration takes the ability to genuinely meet the complex needs of your employees while listening to the changing workforce demographics. Discuss how you feel an employer can meet the needs of an employee by acknowledging the critical synergy between family and work life. If you have any examples of policies or procedures you've implemented to help promote a healthy work-life balance for staff, don't hesitate to talk about those.

      User-Submitted Answer

      "Everyone has different relationships with their work; some are happier devoting more energy to work than others. However, I believe that for anyone to be most effective at work, you need sufficient time for yourself to rest and turn your brain off. I think it is part of the job of HR to step in where people might be spread too thin and provide a solution, offering time off, hiring a new person, etc."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      Great! I like that you mention how everyone has a different relationship to their work. This answer shows that you have a mindset geared towards balance, and it also highlights that you look for cues from team members regarding their personal/professional needs.

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  • Discovery

    16. Being our next HR Consultant will often require you to inspire excellence in others. What does greatness mean to you?

      How to Answer

      This question is a discovery-based inquiry, genuinely focused on how you think versus what you do. Go with your initial instinct when it comes to how you define success and greatness for your interviewer. There is no right or wrong answer. Show your interviewer that, as an HR professional, you find fulfillment in inspiring others to do their best, and you do this by leading through example.

      User-Submitted Answer

      "Associates trust their leaders and feel inspired to do their best every day.
      Leaders set the best example to motivate others and inspire others to excel.
      Clients rate their experiences as exceptional and return to this place of business.
      Individuals attained their professional goal (promotion, next position), market segment."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      A full circle of delivering great things in the workplace!

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  • Diversity

    17. Do you possess the knowledge and awareness required to communicate in a multicultural workplace?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer wants to know more about your exposure to diversity and a workplace that values the inclusion of all into their workforce. If you have ever developed a workplace culture surrounding intercultural engagement, this is the time to discuss that experience. Show that you have a full understanding of the term 'cultural diversity' and that you are sensitive to the belief systems, values, and identity of those different from you.

      User-Submitted Answer

      "Yes, I have completed cultural diversity management studies and inclusion programs."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      Straightforward and to the point. You sound very confident in this area.

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  • Diversity

    18. If hired at our organization, how would you help incorporate best practices in diversity and inclusion as our next HR Consultant?

      How to Answer

      In recent years, diversity and inclusion in the workplace have become an imperative initiative, and the HR professionals within the organizations are often seen as the agents to bring this change in focus to the forefront. Because you will be tasked with recruitment, retention, and employee development at this organization, your interviewer wants to hear specifically what strategies you will help implement to ensure a diverse and inclusive workforce. As you answer, talk about some of the strategies you would consider implementing if hired for this role. Talk about your own personal feelings on why diversity and inclusion are so important for this organization to be successful for many years in the future.

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  • Diversity

    19. Have you ever led a workplace investigation related to discrimination, bullying, or sexual harassment?

      How to Answer

      Social issues happen in the workplace from time to time. We are dealing with human beings, after all! At some point during your interview as their next HR Consultant, your interviewer would like to know if you have exposure to the stress and discomfort associated with workplace investigations. Whether you have this experience or not, you can show the interviewer that you are well-trained in professionally handling employee grievances and official complaints. Show that you take these situations seriously by having a set methodology in place.

      Entry Level

      "I am new to workplace investigations, but still, I fully understand the importance of creating a safe workplace environment for all. I am looking for a role with an organization that is proactive when complaints arise and are committed to upholding a zero-tolerance policy for sexual misconduct, bullying, or discrimination. I would love to hear more about your organization's approach to handling investigations in these serious matters."

      User-Submitted Answer

      "Yes, I have led several work placement investigations, with a few leading to terminations."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      Can you elaborate further on the steps that you took in these situations without breaching any confidentiality agreements?

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  • Experience

    20. Are you familiar with the term 'outplacement'? Have you ever utilized outplacement services?

      How to Answer

      Outplacement support is when an organization will help a former employee transition to a new job after being terminated or laid off. These outplacement services occur through an independent consultant or agency and may include solutions such as resume and cover letter writing, LinkedIn profile creation, career coaching, and interview coaching. Discuss your experience working with or offering outplacement services.

      Entry Level

      "I did learn about outplacement services while gaining my human resources degree and in my internship. I believe it's responsible for a company to provide these support services to any employees they terminate or lay off because it is simply the right thing to do. With that said, it's important to have these services come from a legitimate agency or third party."

      User-Submitted Answer

      "Yes, on two occasions as part of a non-culpable separation of two senior associates. They had been with the company for 15 plus years, and through no real fault of their own, they were being separated from the company. I suggested that we included outplacement services as part of the final parting agreement. I generally provided a capped amount to be used within a set period upon completion of employment."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      This was a wise approach and showcases your ability to care for people while also taking protective measures for your company.

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  • Experience

    21. Have you had to handle a company merger or consolidation at any point during your career? What role did you play if you did?

      How to Answer

      Organizational mergers and consolidations occur when businesses look to become more efficient and save costs. Whether large or small, departmental and organizational consolidations are becoming more commonplace in just about every industry, and HR professionals play a huge role in ensuring that they are a success. By asking this question, your interviewer is looking to understand how you would handle a merger or consolidation as the next HR Consultant with their organization. As you answer this question, be sure to highlight how you have the ability to analyze organizational cultures and boost employee morale by any means necessary if you're having trouble thinking of an example to use for this question, keep in mind that consolidation can be something as simple a transfer of staff to a different department as mandated by an organization. This will work as a great example if you can show that you played a part in making a move successful.

      Entry Level

      "While I don't have experience with this a new HR Consultant, I have been a part of a departmental consolidation when I was working my way through college at a food production facility. As a part-time employee there, I saw firsthand how some employees resist change because of the lack of communication. Not considering the team dynamics and culture of those merging can make for a struggle for many parties involved. I learned a lot from this situation that I can bring to your organization as your next HR Consultant. If I were to ever manage a large merger or consolidation, the most important things I would consider and work towards unification on would be team dynamics, culture, and open lines of communication."

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  • Experience

    22. Which workplace culture development strategies have you explored during your career as an HR professional?

      How to Answer

      Despite it being a hot topic for many years now, companies often still struggle with developing a workplace culture that is positive, energetic, and one that attracts their industry's top talent. Discuss with the interviewer the strategies that you have explored, from an HR perspective, to improve upon an organizations' workplace culture. While organizational culture can entail many different topics, try to stay focused on an HR approach to this topic by talking about ways that you have developed programs and policies to better the organization's overall culture.

      User-Submitted Answer

      "Flex work schedules

      Job Sharing

      Departmental challenges for fundraising

      Collective efforts towards unique fundraising ideas

      Paid personal days"

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      Very good! If you have successfully implemented any of these strategies, be sure to briefly discuss any positive impact.

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  • Experience

    23. What familiarity would you bring to our team on staff surveys and evaluating survey data?

      How to Answer

      Conducting staff surveys is an excellent way to allow team members to express real opinions and thoughts on their job, the organization, and the culture in which they work daily. If asked this question during your interview, there's a strong chance that the organization you are interviewing with puts a strong focus on surveying their staff. You, as their next HR Consultant, would be expected to conduct and analyze surveys. Talk about the experience you have in working with staff surveys and be sure to include details on the processes you have used for developing surveys, any types of software you used, and how you used the survey results to take action. As you answer this question, be sure to reiterate to your interviewer that you see staff surveys as a vital tool for organizational improvement.

      Entry Level

      "During my college studies, I have taken in-depth courses on survey data collection and questionnaire design for social surveys. I have great knowledge of the tools needed to gather and analyze data to put it into action. In this HR Consultant work with your organization, my experience and knowledge would be very beneficial in the administration of staff surveys."

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  • Leadership

    24. Have you ever led performance reviews or employee coaching sessions?

      How to Answer

      As an HR Consultant with their organization, your interviewer wants to get a feel for your familiarity and experience with managing performance review processes and leading the coaching of employees. If you are newer to your HR career, you may not have exposure to employee coaching and performance review processes. 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 it and how it has helped you. If you bring experience to these important pieces of performance management, talk in detail about the experience you would bring to this organization.

      Entry Level

      "I look forward to the opportunity to lead performance reviews and coaching sessions. I believe this is an incredible leadership skill to grow and possess, and I look forward to implementing my knowledge and helping others 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."

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I have led two full-cycle performance reviews. This included the beginning of the process with re-launching SMART goals for KPIs. In my current role, I am completing coaching sessions almost daily. I had a coaching session yesterday with a Zone Leader on the perception of his leadership style not feeling collaborative. We brainstormed together on ways to be more inclusive with his team in conversation."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      You do a great job showcasing your high-level coaching sessions. Your approach sounds structured and very clear.

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  • Leadership

    25. How would you uncover the core competencies of a candidate?

      How to Answer

      As an HR Consultant, you may be responsible for hiring new talent, which means interviewing a ton of candidates. The interviewer wants to gauge how skilled you are in uncovering a candidates' skills and talents for a particular job. The better you are at discovering a candidate's core competencies, the faster you can select new hires, moving the interview process along. Discuss what you look for when meeting new candidates and what tools you use for discovering their potential.

      User-Submitted Answer

      "Ensure the job posting is well articulated and reflects the current work environment.
      I ask the candidate to tell me about a specific time they have demonstrated that competency (i.e., leadership, dealing with conflict). I am looking for a particular situation, obstacle, action they took, and a result."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      This type of interviewing is the best way to draw out competencies and determine a match. Good answer!

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  • Leadership

    26. Tell me your most proven strategy for motivating under-performing employees.

      How to Answer

      No matter how incredible the workplace culture and overall opportunity, every organization will have people that don't want to perform up to the expectation of their job. Those individuals likely face termination. Your interviewer will be looking to hear that you can develop those employees who have potential, but for some reason, are performing below expectations. This underperformance could be a result of a personal issue or a demotivating factor within the workplace environment. Discuss how you have tackled performance issues like this in the past to show your interviewer that you would bring a solid ability to work with under-performing employees at this organization.

      User-Submitted Answer

      "Hold a one-on-one meeting with the employee.
      Discuss the purpose of the meeting (allow them to respond).
      Ask them to share how they feel they are performing, what they like, or dislike?
      Share the real picture, where they are, with what is expected.
      What are they willing to commit to doing to be better? Provide resources if needed.
      Summarize discussion and the next steps of measuring "” state confidence in their ability to improve."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      It seems that you have a highly professional and structured approach. Well done!

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  • Leadership

    27. What type of employees do you find most challenging?

      How to Answer

      An HR Consultant will encounter every possible personality type in their career. By posing this question, your interviewer would like to know more about the kinds of employees that you find difficult to manage, and more importantly, how you handle them. As an HR professional, you will be required to collaborate successfully with various personality types. Discuss with the interviewer the types of personalities that you find most challenging to manage. As you answer, be sure to keep your answer in a positive light and clearly describe how you effectively work with this type of personality. This will prove to your interviewer that you can overcome and work effectively with anyone at their organization.

      User-Submitted 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 their mood."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      Smile through the pain, and we all have to do it sometimes. It may be a nice addition to tell a quick story about when you coached a negative employee, and they made a great turnaround.

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  • Leadership

    28. What type of long-term incentive programs have you leveraged to drive employee performance?

      How to Answer

      Employee performance can be a tricky subject. A top employee can become an underperformer in a snap, and employees who are not doing well could suddenly have a stellar month. The interviewer would like to know if you have knowledge and experience with long-term incentive programs to encourage high-performance, along with consistent results, from your teams. Some examples of long-term incentive programs include stock options, cash bonuses, or performance shares.

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  • Leadership

    29. How do you ensure a professional yet fair approach to disciplinary action?

      How to Answer

      If asked this question during your interview with their organization, your interviewer will not be looking for an HR Consultant who will throw the hammer down or overreact when situations arise. When it comes to disciplinary action, show the interviewer that you can be diplomatic and fair while remaining effective in your role. If you have an example to give, this is a great time to discuss what you have done in the past. If possible, show that you take all of the necessary steps to document the issues leading to the disciplinary action and then take swift and fair action professionally.

      User-Submitted Answer

      "Develop a clearly outlined policy that is progressive
      Provide appropriate interactive training that uses various situations and role plays
      Define and gain buy-in on what are considered infractions and what is considered grounds for immediate termination
      Ensure that the expectations of work conduct are communicated to all existing associates and new members
      When performance discussions occur, collaboratively create the performance improvements plan"

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      Your approach is very well structured and fair. Nice response.

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  • Leadership

    30. Tell me about your exposure to team building exercises. What team building skills would you bring to our organization?

      How to Answer

      If you have ever participated in a ropes course or a trust fall, then you have engaged in team-building exercises! Of course, most examples of team-building do not need to be that extreme. Any activity or company effort that motivates teams and builds trust among co-workers is considered a team-building exercise. Many companies will offer team experiences to help build stable groups that collaborate and communicate better. If you have experience as a participant or leader, share your knowledge and highlight your biggest takeaway from your experiences that you can bring to this team.

      Entry Level

      "Team building activities in our office are entertaining because we have such an expressive group of people. One time, we built an entire obstacle course out of office supplies, and everyone had to participate. We had awards and prizes. I believe these small things make an employee engaged in their job, even on the toughest of days. I have also participated in a few fun team-building activities where using teamwork to solve a problem was necessary. I've participated in a department escape room night. This was a great opportunity for us to get to know each other better on a personal level while also seeing how we all uniquely think to solve a common problem."

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I do not have a lot of exposure to leading team-building exercises. However, setting up group activities to get people to connect over more than just work can be very effective. An example is I once was in a fantasy basketball league at work; I don't even watch basketball, but we all got really into it, and it helped break down the silos between certain departments, which was important."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      It sounds like this basketball league was a fun and memorable experience! Rather than beginning your answer with 'I do not...' (this makes the interviewer check out right away), I recommend leading with a positive statement. For instance, you could discuss some of the team-building exercises that you've seen to be impactful even if you did not lead them. In a previous response, you mentioned a 'Caregiver of the Month' program...this could be considered team-building, perhaps since it was meant to initiate retention and motivation.

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  • Management

    31. Do you have experience in mass-layoffs or terminations? What is your view on job eliminations?

      How to Answer

      Most HR professionals will agree that terminating an employee is one of the worst aspects of the job. In the event of mass layoffs, the experience is often compounded tenfold. However, this is a reality that you may need to face in your human resources career at some point. If you have experience with handline mass layoffs, discuss what led to the decision and the processes you worked with in the situation. If you do not have experience with job eliminations, discuss the approach you believe you would take in such a situation. If you have a rapport with the interviewer, you may want to ask if a mass-layoff is something this company has ever experienced or is currently facing.

      Entry Level

      "Mass layoffs are new to me; however, I have led approximately 20 terminations in the past. When I have the termination conversation, I will have my conversation well documented and set out a clear approach, so the conversation remains on point. I share details of the 'why' and am sure to provide resources and support post-termination. While I had a tough time with the initial few terminations I took part in, I received a great piece of advice from a senior colleague who told me to always remember that employees terminate themselves. I just bring the bad news to them. Now I know that if performance issues are documented, and a pattern of malfeasance exists, I am helping do the right thing."

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I have not had to terminate people in any of my roles aside from terminating people who have abandoned their positions. However, I also went through a large layoff at my previous company, where about a quarter of the office was let go. I didn't handle it directly, but I helped gather their personal effects to assist and informed our team of those who had departed in my manager's absence. When it comes to having difficult conversations, I have had to speak with people about improving their performance at different stages of their time with us."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      It sounds like you bring a strong variety of experiences related to job separations. Rather than saying, 'I have not' and 'I didn't,' I recommend focusing more on your transferable experiences. I've provided an example for you below.

      "I assisted with a large layoff at my previous company where about a quarter of the office was let go. My involvement included gathering the personal effects of those laid off. I also assisted my manager, who was absent, by informing the remainder of our team members of those who had departed. I also have experience terminating people who have abandoned their positions. When it comes to difficult conversations, I have had to speak with employees about improving their work performance."

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  • Problem Solving

    32. Tell me about the most significant people issue you have encountered in your HR career.

      How to Answer

      To get a feel for how you would handle the most challenging times as their next HR Consultant, your interviewer is looking to hear about the most significant people-related issue you have handled during your career. As you prepare for your interview, be sure to think of when you were tested the most and still worked through it to provide the best outcome possible. The way you respond to this question will show the interviewer the complexity of problems you faced in your role as an HR Consultant, quickly revealing your level of expertise in your field.

      User-Submitted Answer

      "We were being pressured to hire a home health aide coming with a client by sales despite a failed background check and a poor interview. I had to convince the executives that our rejection of her protected us from liability and equity issues. We developed a plan to communicate with the client that we wouldn't move forward. We lost the client initially, but they eventually returned to us when things didn't work out through private care."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      This answer is a good start! I suggest including a touch more detail to the overall situation. From my perspective - coming into the answer blind with little background info, I'm a touch lost in the story overall. If you'd like a guide on how to craft compelling answers to 'Tell me about...' style questions, we have a guide here: Master Behavioral-Based Interviews Using The Star Method

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  • Problem Solving

    33. We have suffered from staff burnout in recent years. What are some strategies you have used to help prevent burning out employees on the job?

      How to Answer

      Study after study has proven that work is a key source of stress for many people. A heightened amount of employee stress can bear an extreme financial burden on employers with turnover, absenteeism, lowered productivity, and workers' compensation claims. In asking this question, your interviewer is looking to hear your experiences and overall philosophies in helping to prevent burnout and stress among staff to ensure a healthy, happy, and productive workforce in their organization. As you answer, try to be creative in your answer by talking about unique techniques you are familiar with that help promote a stress-free workplace. Don't hesitate to talk about new trends in employment like teleworking options and how they are positively impacting workforces throughout the world.

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  • Problem Solving

    34. If you were to encounter a new or unfamiliar situation that needed to be solved on your end here, how would you go about solving that issue?

      How to Answer

      Even as an experienced HR Consultant, your interviewer expects that you may likely encounter a new and challenging situation if hired at their organization. Whether you will be jumping into a new industry or a different set of roles you will be supporting, your interviewer will expect you to be resourceful in pulling from your experience and other great resources available to you. As you answer this question, you can take the time to talk about your well-rounded experience and how it will apply to your role in this industry. Be sure to talk about the professional connections you have made along the way and the HR publications and groups you belong to that can help you find the answers you will need in this role.

      Entry Level

      "In solving a problem or issue that I was unfamiliar with, I wouldn't hesitate to discuss with my HR colleagues at your organization. During my internship, I learned and worked with some great online resources like the HR Bartender website and the HR Morning website. The HR Director that I worked closely with exposed me to these sites. While Human Resources professionals work in every type of business and industry, we can learn and grow from each other across industries."

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  • Problem Solving

    35. Discuss a time when you explored organizational gaps and created new opportunities for employees.

      How to Answer

      Often, meeting organizational gaps may not require a workforce increase. Sometimes, these issues can be solved by creating new opportunities and thinking outside of the box. Discuss with the interviewer a time when you met the needs of a company, addressing a specific gap. The example you give of organizational gaps can include skills, profit, or performance gaps. In the end, you need to prove your ability to diagnose a performance gap and take action to improve.

      Entry Level

      "I recently assisted my senior HR Manager after she discovered a significant performance gap in our warehousing department. Being newer to my career at the time, I should point out that I was not the one to discover the organizational performance gap; however, I did assist with the recovery plan. After performing employee testing, we created a list of the top 6 behaviors and habits causing concern. We then developed a performance strategy with a timeline attached to the behavior corrections. Additional training opportunities were provided to many employees, as were other resources for professional development. All in all, we were able to repair the majority of the performance issues with minimal employee eliminations."

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I noticed that there was a gap in candidates to fill middle management positions (vacant postings). Yet, we had co-op graduates expressing that they wanted to be GM in five years. Still, they were not qualified for the jobs as posted. I created a leadership development program targeted to develop these internal individuals and groom them to fill these roles. The two-year program was very comprehensive."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      Wow, this is a wonderful solution for a very challenging talent situation. This answer shows a lot of care and creativity on your part.

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  • Scenario Based

    36. Think about a demanding boss or coworker you've had during your career. How did you successfully interact with this person?

      How to Answer

      As an HR professional, one of your most significant traits should be your ability to be diplomatic in the workplace. The interviewer wants to know how you interact with people who may have challenging personalities. Think about that one person at work who is seen as hard to please. Perhaps there was someone at work who tried to intimidate others. Show the interviewer that you work well with most personalities even though you recognize some people are quite difficult to please. Avoid speaking poorly of anyone, and be sure to end your response on a positive note.

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I had a boss who wanted to be kept abreast of all things at all times. On occasion, this was not feasible, as it kept me from doing my job. So we met, and we walked through examples of information she needed to be looped in on daily and others that she could be updated on weekly. I also reiterated what I needed for success and asked her if this was feasible. We came to an agreement, and things worked from there."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      This must have been a challenging conversation with someone so hyper-focused on being in the know. It sounds like you handled this very well, and it's great that you included the positive result.

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  • Scenario Based

    37. Have you ever had a particular circumstance where you needed to deviate from HR policy? How did you approach the dilemma?

      How to Answer

      Many organizations find it challenging to be flexible, so this question is also an opportunity to learn more about this organization. Your interviewer wants to know whether you prefer an environment where rules are set out, and everything is black and white or whether you feel there should be wiggle room in policy, depending on particular situations and personalities. Discuss a time when you have deviated from HR policy and make sure to explain that you were in the right in doing so. You do not want to talk about anything illegal, or actions you took that may have been detrimental to your company. This question offers an excellent opportunity for a 'feel good' story.

      User-Submitted Answer

      "We were in dire need of some HHAs to start with Kosher experience, and we have a policy that we could not have the employees start their first shift without having all the medical documents submitted and verified as per the DOH. I proposed to the Chief nurse that we have them present their last TB test record for now and then give them 30 days to get a new test, and we suspend them if they don't submit it by then. This ended up working well as we could get them working immediately after orientation, and they did get the tests in time."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      It sounds as though you had a constructive idea! I suggest including a touch more detail to the overall situation at the start. From my perspective - coming into the answer blind with little background info, I'm a bit lost at the beginning.

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  • Stress

    38. At times, our HR Consultants need to work on tight deadlines and short turnaround times with projects. How do you handle working under tight deadlines?

      How to Answer

      Deadlines are notoriously the number one cause of stress in the workplace. Due to the nature of the beast in the field, HR Consultants are often tasked with short turnaround times on project work. At some point during your interview process, your interviewer will be looking to get a feel for how you handle working with tight deadlines. As you prepare to answer this question, try to focus on the necessary skills required to multitask many things at once and be able to reprioritize work as you go along. Then, if at all possible, talk about a specific time where you had to handle a tight deadline and be sure that your example describes the situation and shows how you took action to help provide a great result.

      Entry Level

      "When I am faced with a tight deadline for a project or other last-minute priorities, I rely on my ability to stay organized, create checklists and prioritize my work. During college, I had to work under tight deadlines frequently, and staying organized was critical to my success. If I had duties with others that needed to be rescheduled, communication was key. Another thing that I found helpful was handling critical work during what I consider to be my productive period, which is in the late morning. I've always been a morning person since I was young, so after I have my morning coffee, I get to work on the high-priority tasks."

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  • Tough

    39. Do you feel employees should be paid based on performance, or should they be rewarded for years of experience?

      How to Answer

      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. The interviewer wants to know if you feel that employees should be paid based on tenure or results. Before you get too far into your own personal philosophies as an HR professional, you must research the organization you are interviewing with and their industry to get a feel for the standard compensation for them. You don't want to make it sound like you would come in hoping to reinvent the wheel when it comes to compensation.

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I believe they should be paid for their 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."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      Perfect response, and you make a great case for where seniority should be considered and how it should not trump a high-performing employee.

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  • Tough

    40. Talk about an ethical dilemma that you had to face during your career. How did you handle that situation?

      How to Answer

      HR Consultants can face personal and societal ethical dilemmas in their work regularly. In looking to bring you on board with their organization, your interviewer wants to hear that you can handle the ethical situation with ease and grace by doing what is right for all parties involved. Because the HR profession deals with managing relations between both people and the organization, ethical situations can arise when determining the rights of all involved, and you will often be relied upon to make the judgement call. In the example, you talk about with your interviewer, make sure that you clearly describe the ethical issue at hand and how you used your critical thinking skills to make the best decision possible.

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