When you are seeking a career in human resources, expect to have a wide variety of job duties based on the enactment of company policy and its representation to employees. In the interview process, you will be asked questions that focus on your ability to administer training and employee relations with a broad range of employees. The interviewer will want to make sure that you understand a how to properly complete tasks such as recruiting, vetting, interviewing, and hiring new staff. Potentially serving as a communication link between an organization's management and its employees about compensation and benefits, you will be expected to represent company policy with discretion. Your interviewer will want to be absolutely convinced that you can professionally handle this diverse task set.
You made it this far by perfecting your resume and cover letter, but now is the time to let your dedication to integrity, reliability, and service show. Here are human resources interview questions to prepare you to stand out.
5 Human Resources Interview Questions & Answers
1. Tell me about a time when you had to handle a difficult situation with an employee.
I was assisting the benefits coordinator at my internship with researching an employee's eligibility for a paid leave of absence. The employee had heard that this benefit was available and was insisting that he should receive it. I discovered that he did not have the seniority level for this benefit, so the coordinator and I set up a meeting with the employee. The employee arrived to the meeting agitated but then broke down and told us he was depressed. He saw no other answer but to take a leave, but he needed compensation. Even though paid leave was not an option, the coordinator and I made a mental health plan with him and got him to make an appointment with a therapist that same day. He was able to temporarily reduce his hours and receive treatment while still being a productive member of his work team.
2. What project have you completed recently that showcases your analytical abilities?
I developed a health benefits informational training session at my internship. With all of the changes in the medical plans for the next enrollment period, I saw the need for a clear and straightforward informational session that would analyze the differences in cost and coverage of the three plans offered. My challenge was to fully explain the details of these plans in the easiest format to understand. My training session integrated an interactive PowerPoint presentation with minimal handout materials, which had a link to an extensive selection of health insurance resource materials online.
3. In your opinion, how can a human resources department demonstrate the company's commitment to diversity in the workplace?
I think that every department in a corporation needs to be committed to workplace diversity in order for it to succeed. An inclusive outlook recognizes the variety of strengths that persons from all backgrounds have. Human resources are on the forefront of promoting the innovative and productive professional environment that results from diversity. Making sure that policies are written without discriminatory language is a start. Dialogue is important for development of a positive company culture, so I think hiring practices, training, and cultural education sessions must be implemented. At my internship I participated in optional diversity seminars. I was impressed by the positive impact it had on the inclusiveness of the organization. Even though not everyone attended the sessions, those who did talked about it at lunch and got others involved the discussions.
4. What are your specific qualifications for this position in human resources?
I have a bachelor's degree in business with a minor in human resource management. I had two internships during my college career; first for a health care service company, and recently with a large corporation. For the healthcare internship, my work was focused on developing employee recruitment materials and attending job fairs to engage with possible applicants. In my corporate internship, I have focused on growing my skillset in employee relations and developing training materials.
5. In your past experience, what have you done as a human resources intern to maintain positive employee relations?
I feel that maintaining my personal integrity and being seen as sincere is an important foundation for positive employee relations. When I had to deliver the bad news of an increase in employee health insurance costs, I did not downplay the increase or brush it off like it did not matter. Employees saw my sincerity and appreciated that I clearly told them the truth.