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5 Must-Follow HR Director Interview Tips


You have done a good job developing both a cover letter and a resume that showcase your credentials and accomplishments for a HR director position. As you no doubt know, there is no rest for the weary. The period while you are waiting to hear about job interviews is not exactly the time to relax and kick back. Instead, use this span to begin preparations for your initial interviews. The interviews have the potential to be a bit awkward, as you may be interviewed by many people you will supervise later. No matter who is doing the interviewing, first impressions are critical.

In general, HR directors oversee a human resources department or specialized aspects of the department, meaning that they may supervise such functions as hiring, employee retention, payroll, benefits and legal compliance. There are many areas to cover as you prepare, and the following HR director interview tips should help you coordinate effective approaches for presenting your credentials.

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HR Director Interview Tips

Show That Your Experience Is Relevant: You certainly have an impressive list of credentials, such as work experience, professional certifications and college degrees. They do not quite speak for themselves, though; you must tie them to the position you are interviewing for. For instance, at your current job or at a past job, what are some notable achievements you made, and can you quantify them with numbers? Look at considerations such as employee benefits expansion, employee retention rates, talent acquisition and time-to-hire windows. There are many areas from which you can draw to list relevant successes.

Discuss Your Competencies: HR directors draw from a group of competencies, such as human resources knowledge, ethical conduct, leadership, decision making and communications. Practical HR director interview tips say that you should be prepared to answer questions about your qualifications on each competency as well as on other competencies, such as your presentation skills and budgeting skills. Doing the preliminary work to boost your case on each competency also puts you in excellent position to answer a question such as, “why should we hire you?” or “what makes you better qualified than other candidates?”

Explain Your Philosophy on Employee Motivation and Management: As HR director, you not only need to know human resources principles, you also work as a manager. Part of your job is managing and motivating the employees who work under you. What is your leadership style? How do you track employees’ performance? How do you motivate employees? Be sure to tie in relevant background when applicable, for example, discussing how you motivated employees in a previous supervisory position.

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Demonstrate Your Capability to Make and Communicate Hard Decisions: Part of your job as HR director is likely setting policies with executives as to organizational structure and employee productivity. Many times, you’ll be forced to make hard decisions. In the past, you may have been forced to choose between two “evils.” Talk about your thought process, the metrics you use and track, what priorities you consider when budgeting, and how you communicate tough decisions. For instance, you may emphasize transparency and honesty, always explaining the rationale behind decisions, rather than remaining tight-lipped and fostering an atmosphere of employee insecurity.

Ask About the Job and the Company: It’s a near certainty that the job description provided information about the job you would be doing. How many staffers you would supervise, for example, and who you would report to. However, there are a few things you should ask about to show you are a thoughtful person who is genuinely curious and invested in the process. For instance, you could ask about the company’s hiring philosophy, talent acquisition goals and the software programs the HR department uses. Some of this information may already be on places such as the company’s website, so do not ask questions that have answers you already know. Instead, you can use the information you uncover elsewhere to act as a springboard for more-targeted questions. You could even ask questions such as, “what is the number-one reason employees give for leaving this company, and how is that being addressed?”

Take advantage of these HR director interview tips to set yourself up for an excellent human resources interview. It is human resources interviewing human resources, so being on top of your game is even more critical.