As you look towards advancing your career in human resources, it’s important that you do all you can to best prepare for job progression.
If you’re ready to take the step up to the role of an HR manager, you’ll want to do all you can to prepare yourself for the interview. It can be helpful to dress right for an interview, but if you really want to be successful, you should prepare by familiarizing yourself with some of the interview questions you might expect during this process.
HR manager interview questions
These interview questions should be used to drive thinking toward your answers for an upcoming interview. Don’t overthink it. Many interviewers want you to answer authentically without scripting your responses too much. This allows yourself freedom in the moment to give thoughtful and honest answers.
Let’s dive into these thirteen questions you’ll likely be asked in an interview for an HR manager.
What areas of HR do you feel most and least skilled in?
Depending on your previous role, you should expect to have certain strengths and weaknesses in the realm of HR. Any employer will expect the same. Maybe your experience lies mainly in recruiting and employer branding, but you lack skills in benefits administration. Be open with your employer about this so that each of your expectations regarding the opening is made clear.
What questions would you ask me if you were the interviewer?
Many HR managers will be conducting interviews themselves in their day-to-day roles. Put yourself into this situation and choose a few questions that you feel might really assess a candidate’s viability. If you’re struggling at thinking of any, consider these common interview questions and see if they provide any inspiration.
Tell me about a time you had to do something that went against policy.
People in HR roles often have to use their best judgment and make some tough calls. While policies exist for a reason, there are times when they need to be sidestepped or even completely disregarded in order to do the right thing for an employee. Understanding this makes you a better and more valuable HR manager.
What is your perspective on job terminations?
In your capacity, it’s very likely you’ll have to make the decision to fire someone. Describe the types of actions you would complete leading up to a termination. Maybe the employee should be placed on a performance improvement plan first. Consider the steps you would take before making the decision that an employee needs to be terminated.
How can you ensure a new employee is best brought into the company?
Creating a holistic employee onboarding experience is something you should have a good plan for when becoming an HR manager. Onboarding is an important transition and can make or break an employee’s success with your organization. What do you have in your HR toolbox that can help improve the onboarding experience the organization may already have in place.
How do you stay up to date on employment law and legislation?
Regulation and policy surrounding employment are always changing. You should have some key resources to ensure your business is staying within corporate compliance standards. Be aware of the publications and industry leaders that you can follow in order to keep current on these constant changes to legislation.
TIP: Interviewing to be an HR manager in a hospital or other health-care related business? Check out our Four-Point HIPAA Compliance Checklist.
How do you describe your management style?
There are a number of management styles (and conflict management styles) that managers of all types adhere to. Be clear with your interviewer about how you prefer to manage people and even how you prefer to be managed. Since you will be dealing with direct reports, it’s important to be honest with yourself and your employer about your management style.
What are some qualities you look for in a new hire?
Because you will likely be making hiring decisions at some point in your role (or leading your company’s recruitment team), it’s vital that you identify the type of person who would be a good fit for your organization. Think about the values that you think make a strong employee regardless of role in order to answer this question.
TIP: Use our core values list in order to identify qualities that make for a great new hire.
What does your ideal work environment look like?
A hostile work environment can be incredibly damaging to an organization, but what does a perfect work environment look like to you? As an HR manager, you’ll likely have some control over crafting the work environment for your employees, so consider the day-to-day behaviors and attitudes of how the people around you treat each other and communicate.
How do you determine priorities in your role?
You’re going to have a lot of responsibilities on your plate as an HR manager, so it’s important you learn to prioritize them in a way that makes sense to you and those around you. Describe how you choose the important tasks and duties in your role and make those clear to your employer.
How would you handle ________ situation with an employee?
Many interviewers are opting to include behavioral interview questions in their candidate assessments. Use the STAR method to explain the Situation, Task, Action, and Result of a past time when you had to deal with something similar. If you’ve never encountered something related to the hypothetical, use your best judgment to describe how and why you would take certain steps to resolve any issue that the interviewer presents you with.
What employee benefits do you believe are best at driving retention and satisfaction?
There are a number of different types of employee benefits your company can offer to its hires. Familiarize yourself with these benefits and determine what you believe to be the best offerings to employees. If hired there’s a great chance that you’ll be able to influence these benefits into reality and create a better life for your organization’s employees.
What software or tools do you believe best help with your role?
Your answer to this question probably won’t make or break your chances at being hired, but it will show the employer how familiar you are with the tools and software that HR managers use on a daily basis. Having some knowledge of these tools or even a high skill in them can set you apart from candidates who may not be as familiar with certain HR management suites.
You got this
Preparing for an interview can be stressful and nerve-wracking, but by considering these thirteen questions, you’ll be able to think quickly for anything an interviewer throws your way.
Interviewing to become an HR manager but not entirely sure how much you should be paid? Read up on the most recent HR manager salary data so you can be confident through negotiations.
Derek is a former G2 staff writer who specialized in HR and recruitment trends and insights. He is a graduate of Iowa State University, a proud son of Chicago, and can usually be found discussing pop music, politics, or digital marketing on the internet. (he/him/his)