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Top 35 Payroll Specialist Interview Questions

Question 1 of 37
If an employee called in with a payroll complaint, how would you handle 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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Question 6 of 37
How do you keep updated on all the payroll rules and techniques?
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Question 7 of 37
How does higher management benefit from payroll reports?
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Question 8 of 37
Why are you interested in this position?
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Question 9 of 37
We have 9 major union contracts, each with unique special pay items. How will you ensure that everything is paid correctly and on time?
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Question 10 of 37
What is a fiscal year?
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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: 08/14/2018

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Question 11 of 37
What salary are you seeking?
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Question 12 of 37
Can you explain when you would want to pay an employee through accounts payable rather than payroll?
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Question 13 of 37
Have you had responsibility for state and federal tax payments?
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Question 14 of 37
What are the payroll inputs?
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Question 15 of 37
What is a general ledger?
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Question 16 of 37
If you have done bookkeeping in the past for small businesses, tell me about your experience doing that.
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Question 17 of 37
What experience do you have implementing a new payroll system?
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Question 18 of 37
Describe to me your familiarity with the administration of 403b or 457 plans?
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Question 19 of 37
How would you familiarize yourself with our payroll system?
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Question 20 of 37
Tell me about the payroll forecasting you have been responsible for.
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Question 21 of 37
Describe a typical payroll day from your past experiences.
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Question 22 of 37
Define a bad employee.
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Question 23 of 37
Do you plan to open up your own accounting or payroll firm?
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Question 24 of 37
Each of our buildings has a designated payroll timekeeper that reports biweekly. Two reports are late. How do you approach this?
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Question 25 of 37
Can you describe the use of forms W2, W4, and 941?
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Question 26 of 37
What cost-cutting measure have you been in charge of implementing?
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Question 27 of 37
What sorts of things have you done to become better qualified for your career?
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Question 28 of 37
There are times when we are placed under extreme pressure on the job. Tell about a time when you were under such pressure and how you handled it.
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Question 29 of 37
Discuss your experience with payroll.
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Question 30 of 37
What is retro pay?
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Question 31 of 37
What are your future plans with the company?
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Question 32 of 37
Describe to me a difficult situation at work and how you diffused it.
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Question 33 of 37
What are the most important attributes a person should have for this position?
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Question 34 of 37
What courses did you like the best in your preparation in accounting and payroll?
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Question 35 of 37
What information do you require before you approve payroll?
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Question 36 of 37
How did you get started in payroll?
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Question 37 of 37
We spend considerable time editing our time sheets to ensure no errors. How do you approach finding an error?
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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.

Print all Payroll Specialist Interview Questions