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Human Resources Interview
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30 Questions and Answers by Rachelle Enns

Updated October 6th, 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
Describe the most significant written document, report or presentation which you had to complete.
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How to Answer
The interviewer would like to see that you are capable of writing critical internal documents and creating presentations for a variety of uses. Researching and presenting data could be a large part of your role as a human resources professional. In this role, you could also be leading onboarding programs and orientations. Talk about the various reports or deliverables you are responsible for providing in your current position, and also discuss any public speaking or presentation experience.
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Top 30 Human Resources Interview Questions with Full Content
1.
Describe the most significant written document, report or presentation which you had to complete.
The interviewer would like to see that you are capable of writing critical internal documents and creating presentations for a variety of uses. Researching and presenting data could be a large part of your role as a human resources professional. In this role, you could also be leading onboarding programs and orientations. Talk about the various reports or deliverables you are responsible for providing in your current position, and also discuss any public speaking or presentation experience.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"Recently, I rolled out a new performance evaluation plan to leaders in my company. I prepared a PowerPoint presentation sharing critical information such as new processes and their intended impact. I also forecasted the success of the changes and a timeline of events to implement them. I also scheduled a follow-up meeting after the launch to discuss any roadblocks that may be present."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"During university, I completed a major paper on strategic HR management and planning. I then had to turn the paper into a 30-minute class presentation. This project accounted for 30% of my final grade, and I am happy to say I received the top marks in the class. I enjoyed the research and data that went into putting the project together, and even more so, I liked the public speaking and presenting aspect. I feel confident now when it comes to leading groups, meetings, and critical HR discussions."
2.
Why did you choose to become a human resources professional?
Communicate why you chose a career in HR and bring to light what you love about your work. Being able to display a passion and excitement for your job will help the interviewer to become more excited about your application. Discuss why you love your career, and be specific. Try to avoid cliche statements such as 'I love helping people.' You want your answer to be unique and to stand out.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"My work in HR allows me to make a difference in the many lives of associates by helping them to grow and improve themselves professionally. I have the opportunity to make genuine, meaningful connections with others every day. I also love that I can become a true partner to the organization with which I am working. I enjoy building teams that I know will lead a company to new heights. This career path is an incredibly rewarding one for me."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"Human resources is what gives a company life. The heartbeat of everything a company does comes from the team built within. Not only is this rewarding, but it is also challenging. The industry is always growing and changing, from compliance, legislation, and the introduction of new technology. There is always something to learn."
3.
How do you treat candidates not selected for the job? Walk me through your process.
During talent acquisition campaigns, human resource professionals speak to a lot of candidates in a day and often interview handfuls of people for one role. Show the interviewer that you treat your applicants with respect and that you are unafraid to be forthright with them when they don't get the job. The hiring authority wants to see that you have a professional level of compassion for those not hired.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"Part of being a successful HR professional is to gain and keep the respect of your talent pool. When I deselect a candidate, I will notify them by email. Our company has a canned email response that we use for rejection notices; however, I always personalize these. I want these candidates to know that I value their time and expertise."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"It is essential to me that I treat every candidate with care and respect. Even if they are not right for the job, it does not mean that they won't be a fit for a similar role with our company down the road. Because of this, I must close off with them in a professional manner that keeps the door open for future conversations. If I deselect a candidate, I plan to let them know right away. Nobody likes to be left hanging."
4.
What does the term attrition mean, and what are the biggest causes of employee attrition rates?
Attrition is the speed or rate at which something declines. In human resources, you may hear the term 'employee attrition rates' as an important KPI. What this means is that a company is losing staff due to natural reduction, including resignation, retirement, or relocation.

Keep in mind; this term refers to natural reduction. Employee attrition rates would not include mass layoffs, for instance. Discuss with the interviewer that you understand what attrition means, and what the primary causes of employee attrition are. The hiring authority is looking for your ability to recognize and understand their pain points.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"Employee attrition rates refer to the reduction of staff due to unforeseen or natural circumstances such as increasing retirement rates. I have helped my current company overcome attrition by working with them on proactive workforce planning. When a company sees where their employee attrition rates are going, they can act ahead and plan, rather than being reactionary."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I think resignations and retirements would impact employee attrition rates. Every company must work hard to plan for a strong future workforce by hiring according to attritions rates and trends in data. I learned about this while earning my bachelor's degree and am eager to apply what I know to reduce the impact of attrition on your company."
5.
Do you have experience preparing or leading new hire orientation?
New hire orientation is how an organization welcomes a new employee into their company. The purpose of this orientation is for your new hire to feel comfortable, and to adjust quickly. The better your onboarding process, the less likely the employee will quit. New hire orientation could include safety training, walk-throughs of various departments, job shadowing opportunities, employee benefits reviews, introductions to multiple stakeholders and co-workers, and overview of the company culture and history, and any other information required for their success. Talk to the interviewer about your experience putting together new hire orientation programs, or leading them.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"In my human resources career I have led the new hire orientation for at least 200 new employees. I strongly believe that a flawless orientation and onboarding process will greatly increase an employees' desire to stay with their new employer long-term. At my current company, when I first joined, their process was pretty weak. I took about a month to dive into the orientation and revamped the program entirely. I have included more information on the organizational structure, what to expect, and more on the company culture. Now that the new hires feel more comfortable and welcome, it has increased our tenure rate by about 18%."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"While completing my degree in human resources, one of my class assignments was to create a mock orientation for new hire onboarding. I presented my ideas to the class and received the highest mark in the entire class. My orientation included safety training, walkthroughs, job shadowing, and team-building exercises. I look forward to learning more about your new hire process and how we can work to improve it every year."
6.
Do you have experience choosing, introducing, and explaining employer health benefits?
Employer health benefits can become very complicated. There can be a lot of small print and information that is misunderstood by employees. This confusion can become even worse when changes are made to existing benefits packages, further impacting existing employees. Talk to the interviewer about your experience with choosing employee health benefits packages, and explaining the ins and outs of these benefits to employees.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"At my current company we recently changed benefits providers, leaving many employees feeling a bit confused about the changes. I took it upon myself to spend a couple of hours with the insurance providers' representative, as they walked me through everything I needed to know. I spent a few days studying the packages and options, preparing myself to best answer any questions that would come my way from our employees. Once I felt 100% confident, I held an informational session for anyone who cared to attend. We had nearly 100 employees show up to the session where I walked them through every facet of their new benefits plan and answered all questions. Now, I have a much clearer understanding of how employee health benefits work, and I feel very confident in my abilities in this area of HR."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I recently took an online course called 'The Benefits Guide' as a way to better understand how employee health benefits work. While obtaining my associates' degree in human resources, I felt that this area of knowledge needed supplementation, which is why I took the initiative to complete this course. I feel much more confident in my knowledge level now."
7.
Do you have experience coordinating interviews, and documenting the candidate journey?
A significant part of working as a Human Resources professional is coordinating the movement of talent acquisition projects. The interviewer would like to understand your experience when it comes to managing the interview process, and taking care of the documentation and other action steps that are critical to successful onboarding. Take the interviewer through your process, and be sure to include any software, tips, tricks, and tools that you use along the way.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"In my current position I am responsible for the talent acquisition of approximately 60 new hires every year. This volume means that I require complete organization, and every step needs immediate documenting. I lean on Sage People, a cloud-based HR system that allows me to track every action we take with a candidate. I book interviews and track them in Outlook, which everyone on our team uses. I have excellent follow-up habits, which is a must to staying organized and well-coordinated."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I will keep close track of all talent acquisition activities by utilizing every facet of your HRMS software. While completing my Human Resources degree, I learned about how these robust systems can keep track of important activities, allowing busy HR professionals to better focus on making strong candidate connections. Could you share with me the tools you use to coordinate the talent management process?"
8.
We want to foster innovation within our workforce. What does the term innovation mean to you?
With ever-shifting workforce trends, a company's human resources team must be adaptable, creative, and innovative. The term 'innovation' is often overused in business these days and has now become a buzzword that many people don't fully understand. The interviewer would like to know what you feel innovation indeed is. Include an example of a time when you have introduced an innovative initiative in the workplace, or when you have exercised a creative idea that made a positive difference.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"To me, innovation means presenting a new idea or making an existing idea better. It's important to be innovative in the workplace, but often it's a misunderstood concept. An example of when I was innovative was when our company was facing budget cuts. I suggested that we begin to operate as though the cuts were already made, in an attempt to preemptively save funds. We cut back on unnecessary workforce spending, such as overtime hours. The concept worked well, and we were able to eliminate many unnecessary expenditures while completely avoiding layoffs."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"Innovation means introducing a new process or breakthrough in the workplace. In human resources, I see many opportunities for innovation. For instance, I could work with the company's applicant tracking system to search for hidden talent when given tight hiring deadlines. I can create ways to accurately track HR projects, such as the creation of onboarding programs using cloud-based software. I can think of many ways to make it easier for all stakeholders to be involved in talent acquisition projects. I look forward to exercising my creativity and introducing new innovations, once hired."
Anonymous Answer
"UBS is the biggest wealth hub in the world. Being a 150-year-old bank, maintaining the consistency to serve all the millionaires and billionaires of the world without losing their trust is a great thing. No one would like to work for a company that doesn’t care about its employees. I was impressed by your company’s longstanding dedication to offering talented individuals a challenging, diverse, and collaborative working environment where passion, commitment, and hard work are valued and rewarded."
Rachelle's Answer
Great way to show off your research -- nice answer :)
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9.
When entering a new job, describe how you build relationships with your new coworkers and supervisors.
The interviewer would like to know how you plan to start relationships with your new co-workers and those you guide in an HR function. Due to a wide variety of personalities, coworker connections can take time to form. How do you ensure that you have an active line of communication with your co-workers, team, and management, right from the start?

Here are some ideas for getting started on the right foot:

- Be willing to accept feedback and help
- Offer to join a committee or volunteer assistance in some way
- Do not have an air of entitlement or act as though you know the ins and outs immediately
- Avoid all company gossip, at all cost
- Ask meaningful questions as a way to make connections
- Be early on your first day (and every day after that!)
- Come dressed appropriately

Rachelle's Answer #1
"As a human resources professional, I understand that some relationships come quickly and others take time to nurture. When starting a new job, I am my true self and let my personality, integrity, and reliability speak for itself. I also understand that people like to talk about themselves. I can create new relationships with others by asking them about themselves. Hopefully, we find common ground and make a lasting connection."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"When I have a new team to get to know, I will hold a team-wide meeting and allow the associates to ask me any questions they want. I let them voice their biggest concerns and present ideas to me about what we can do to fix them. This introduction builds a form of trust that I believe is critical for a healthy human resources connection."
Anonymous Answer
"In five years, I hope to be given an opportunity with this company by leading, training, and recruiting top talent to achieve personal growth and accomplish the business' goals and objectives. To ensure HR is up to date, I hope to attend conferences, workshops, and training sessions to gain the knowledge-a mutual benefit for both ends."
Rachelle's Answer
You have some specific plans, which is fantastic! Good answer.
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10.
How do you like to be recognized for your accomplishments?
The interviewer would like to know what motivates you to achieve in the workplace. We all want recognition in some way for our accomplishments. Perhaps you enjoy financial perks, public attention, kind words, added responsibilities, or title promotions. Share with the interviewer how you would like recognition for your hard work.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I appreciate you asking this question since, as a human resources professional, this is a question that I ask every new hire as well. I want to know how to keep everyone motivated on the job. I am an eager achiever and find that the best way for me to be recognized for a job well done is to hear words of kindness and recognition. I am easily encouraged, and the best reward for me is to know that my hard work matters."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"The success of our workforce is a direct reflection of my success as an HR professional. For that reason, I prefer that our employees receive accolades for a job well done. For instance, if our group exceeds company targets, I would rather see a collective reward. This method of recognition is my preference."
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