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Payroll Specialist Interview Questions

37 Payroll Specialist Interview Questions
Question 1 of 37
If an employee called in with a payroll complaint, how would you handle it?
How to Answer
Tell the interviewer that you always express empathy to the employee because you understand how concerning payroll challenges are for employees. State that you take detailed notes of the employee's complaint. When possible, tell the interviewer that you try to talk through the issue over the phone to solve the problem right away. Sometimes payroll issues need some time to figure out. In these instances, inform the interviewer that you express your apologies to the employee, and tell the employee you will look into it right away. Finally, tell the interviewer that you try to dig into these complaints as soon as possible following the phone call to ensure the employee's concerns are resolved within 48 business hours.

Answer Example
"I believe that we are service providers and the employees are our most important customers and any complaint related to payroll should be dealt with utmost importance. If I receive any such complaint my first reaction is to apologize that an issue has occurred and then I immediately look into the matter. I take notes about the situation and check with the concerned departments about why such an error occurred. Most of the times these complaints are resolved right away but there are times when it needs some inquiries and confirmations to be made that might take some time in which case I keep the employee updated about the progress and try to get it fixed as soon as possible on a priority basis."
Answer Example
"There are times when this happens. It is never great, because it means something went wrong on the input, but it is a great opportunity to connect with the associate and utilize my customer service skills to resolve the issue. I will listen to the concern, research it and communicate the resolution back to the associate. This error is noted with payroll and used to coach the manager who submitted it."
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Question 2 of 37
Describe to me any payroll process that you have developed or revised?
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How to Answer
Think of a problem you helped solve with an employee's check and what steps you took to ensure the problem never occurred again. This is your example of a process revision! Give the interviewer a brief overview of the problem that was brought to your attention as well as what process you put in place to ensure the problem did not occur again in the future. Most importantly, explain why you chose this revision to ensure all future problems were eliminated.

You can think of any such problem you faced at your workplace and of a way how you helped in dealing with it. Also, it might be possible that you never encountered any such situation, in which case be honest and describe to the interviewer about any small incident where you had to buckle up your shoes and come up with a solution which was used as a benchmark in future.

Answer Example
"I realized that the time sheets were not in place and this was resulting in a problem with the calculations of the working hours for the employees. So with the help of the finance and IT department, I got the timesheet system developed and thus started getting nicely sorted out data for the hours logged in by the employees."
Answer Example
"In my first role as Payroll Manager, the company grew rapidly and we had to reevaluate our payroll process. We were using Paychex and calling in the hours each week. As our locations expanded and our headcount increased, along with various compensation packages (salary, hourly, commission, etc.), we made the decision to upgrade our payroll technology and process. I led the project, pricing and negotiating a new contract with ADP. We changed over our timeclock system from manual to electronic to eliminate time and errors. It was a significant improvement to the overall process."
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Question 3 of 37
What have you done to improve your verbal communication skills?
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How to Answer
If nothing comes to mind right away, think outside of the box! Maybe you volunteered to lead a new committee, run the PTA meetings at your child's school, or coach a youth sport. All of these require communication skills! Simply take what you have done, discuss how you utilize communication skills in the activity, and define how your communication has improved because of it.

Answer Example
"In order to improve my verbal communication skills I try to go out and attend meetings with a group of International Residents in the county and have discussions with them over several topics. I have also been an active member of a photography club where we share information about new techniques and tricks for improving our skills. Apart from that, I attend webinars related to payroll that not only improve my language skills but also keep me updated about any changes in my work area."
Answer Example
"Communication is the key to success! I am constantly using mixed communication methods in my role with leaders and peers. To enhance verbal communications, I am taking a toastmasters course and presenting in small group meetings."
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Question 4 of 37
What is the largest payroll you have been in charge of?
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How to Answer
Simply tell the interviewer the largest payroll you have been in charge of including dollar amount and total employee headcount. Be sure to mention that you understand how important it is to maintain a high level of detail when working with such large sum of money.

Answer Example
"I have handled the payroll for a medium as well as large size company, where the maximum number of employees for which I processed the payroll was 'X' and it amounted to X$. Due to my experience of working in such situations, I understand the need for accuracy and precision with this job since money is at stake."
Answer Example
"In my role as Payroll Manager for my last company, I was responsible for a $500 million weekly payroll for over 10,000 associates worldwide. There was many variables to manage with different locations and state/country laws to account for."
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Question 5 of 37
Give me examples of the payroll reports you have prepared.
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How to Answer
Start off by listing a handful of reports that you have prepared, including a high-level overview of what data can be found in the reports. Expand on this by telling the interviewer how you can manipulate data within your payroll system to generate any reports you are looking for, and mention that you can create reports in many formats including Word, Excel, and Adobe formats.

Answer Example
"I am well-versed in preparing income statements, new hire reports, promotion reports, deduction reports, leave/ absentee reports, wage types etc. and if needed I can manipulate the data provided to me in any form and create reports in any format including Word, Excel, etc."
Answer Example
"Reports are a large part of streamlining and ensuring accuracy of the payroll process. I run weekly auditing reports, total time and payments reports and financial reports to provide to my finance partner counterparts. Each payroll run, I also audit the inputs and track the paid time off updates for the organization. The reporting tool is great because you can consistently come up with custom reports to meet the needs of your work."
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Author of Payroll Specialist Answers and Questions

Ryan Brown
Ryan Brown, is the creator of MockQuestions. He has over ten years experience creating interview questions. His website has helped over 10 million job seekers in their interview preparation.
First written on: 03/27/2014
Last modified on: 08/22/2018

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About Payroll Specialist

August 18th, 2017

Payroll specialist handles a clients payroll needs, and can advise them on the best practices. When preparing for this interview, follow up on your states payroll rules and have a great knowledge of payroll.