5 Common HR Specialist Interview Questions & Answers

Kellie Hanna, CPRW
By Kellie Hanna, CPRW, Career Advice Expert Last Updated: April 14, 2022
5 Common Questions For Hr Specialist

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Once you have put in the time necessary to craft a resume and cover letter that will stand out from the crowd, and that hard work has resulted in you getting a call back from a potential employer to set up an interview, it’s time to turn your attention to that initial meeting. While the application does all of the initial talking for you, this first interview is your chance to really make a great impression that will make the hiring staff feel as if they have to hire you. However, if you don’t provide the right answers to their questions, a bad interview has the potential to rapidly turn the tables against you. In order to ensure your success, you need to have prepared answers for not only the general questions asked in every interview, but also for common HR specialist interview questions.

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5 HR Specialist Interview Questions & Answers

Describe an instance in which your sense of empathy was useful in your work.

There was an incident involving the employees of my old toy retailer in which all of the workers were threatening to go on strike unless they received an increase in their base hourly payment. At first, the administrators of the business were against the increase, stating that the payment rates were more than competitive with those of other retailers in the area. However, upon meeting with a few employee representatives, hearing their side of the story and investigating the company records, I discovered that in spite of what the administrators believed, there, in fact, had not been any real pay increase to speak of over the last several years. Once I brought this to their attention, my sense of empathy was able to bring out similar sensibilities in them. Within a month, wages had been adjusted to the satisfaction of nearly all staff members.

How do you determine whether you have found the right candidate for a position?

Of course, the place you want to start when assessing a job candidate is the application. I compare these documents with the basic qualifications listed on the company’s job posting in order to make sure that the individual would, at the very least, have the education and experience necessary to perform the tasks required of the position. If a candidate passes this test, I check to see if he or she has any skills or experience that, while not required, would be strongly preferred in order to make the position more effective. Then, I bring this person in for a face-to-face interview in order to determine whether he or she will be able to gel with the culture and values of the company.

Are you effective at keeping company information organized and updated?

I consider the organization of company information to be the basis on which a job as an HR specialist is founded. In my last job working for an online retailer, I noticed after a few months that while the systems in place for customers to place orders and receive their purchases were intuitive and streamlined, the business’s methods for keeping records of these purchases was clunky by comparison. Fortunately, because I had taken several programming courses in college, I was able to implement some changes that not only made it easier to find purchase records, but also made it possible for frequent customers to view recommendations based on their tastes.

Are you capable of keeping a cool head when handling a dispute or complaint?

There was an incident back at the toy retailer job in which one of the employees was threatening to sue because the company was allegedly not planning on granting her the period of paid maternity leave that was promised when she signed her contract. After looking into it and discovering that there was in fact language promising this, I asked the woman to remain calm while I brought it to the attention of the higher level company workers, who acknowledged the mistake and corrected it.

Do you have experience with organizing payroll payments for company employees?

Organizing payroll was my first job in my seven years spent working in human resources. Since then, I have developed several software systems that I bring with me wherever I go to ensure that everyone is paid correctly and on time.