6 Helpful HR Assistant Interview Tips


Your job search is progressing nicely. You’ve dedicated time and effort to creating cover letters and resumes that shine, and sent them to hiring managers. You certainly should take a little time to relax and kick back, but you should also begin focusing on first interview preparation. That way, when hiring managers call and email, you will be prepared.

First interviews tend to be in person, and they are a way for hiring managers to see you in action, so to speak. They get an impression of your communication, organizational and interpersonal skills, among other aptitudes. The advantage is not all one-sided; first interviews are also an opportunity for you to see the company and its employees up close and personal. Assess factors such as whether you would feel comfortable working in this place and why. If you feel nervous, that is natural. Hopefully, following general interview best practices as well as specific HR assistant interview tips will ease your nerves a bit.

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HR Assistant Interview Tips

Use the Job Description to Your Advantage: The title “HR assistant” is vague. The position could be administrative, such as working in reception, answering phones and greeting people who come in. It could also be that you would work mainly as a support person who prepares reports and has some interaction with the public but not as much as an administrative assistant would. It’s critical to review the job description several times so that you are clear on what talking points to discuss.

Prove You Have the Right Stuff: It’s good and nice to say things like, “I’ve prepared HR reports for previous employers and multitasked.” To stand above other candidates, though, you will need to prove what you have done. Do that through numbers and examples. For instance, how many reports have you prepared, what software programs did they use, and how intensive/long were the reports? See if there are a few reports you are allowed to discuss in depth to showcase your credentials. As for multitasking, discuss how you organize your day. How do you decide which tasks to finish first?

Discuss Interpersonal Skills: Even if your human resources position is geared toward being a clerical assistant instead of a receptionist, one recommended HR assistant interview tip is to discuss your interpersonal skills. After all, you will still be interacting with the public to some extent in any assistant role. Brainstorm interpersonal skills such as communication, listening, positive attitude and reliability. Identify these you excel at, and prepare yourself to explain why. Again, prove your case through examples and numbers.

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Share Your Interest in Human Resources: You could be an assistant in many places; why human resources? Explain what it is about human resources that draws you. Perhaps you like having the opportunity to help or train people, or you enjoy the challenges of organizing the labor force of a large company. You may find satisfaction in making sure employees are treated well. Focus on what makes human resources stand apart from other fields, and why that appeals to you.

Talk About Where You See Yourself Eventually: Maybe the reason you want to work as an HR assistant is because human resources is where your future lies. In that case, your ideal job would be one in which the company supports your career goals. Ask about services such as workshops, certification opportunities, tuition reimbursement and mentorships. You can ask about previous HR assistants who have advanced further in the organization.

Envision Bad Situations: One common theme of job interviews is how you would respond to theoretical situations. For instance, your interviewer may ask how you balance competing needs when there are three job applicants waiting in the lobby, an upset employee wanting to file a discrimination claim, the phone ringing, and a colleague who has just approached you asking to see confidential records that she is not allowed to look at. Such situations are popular because they tie many success factors into one; hiring managers get insight into your communication and organizational skills, for example, and how you prioritize. To prepare, brainstorm solutions to hypothetical challenges.

A lot is covered here, but you should be up to the task. These HR assistant interview tips are geared toward helping you ace that first interview, and there is no better time than now to get started in earnest.