As you start thinking about applying for jobs in the HR field, you may be taking steps to help you prepare for an upcoming interview. After all, being successful in the interview process is key to helping you get that perfect job. Reviewing common interview questions can be a great way to brainstorm some examples for you to use during the interview and highlight the skills that you bring to the table. Here is a sample of popular interview questions to ask in entry-level Human Resource positions, and the steps to take to craft your best response:
Tell me about a time when you helped resolve a difficult situation in the workplace.
Conflict management is one of the most important skills to have as an HR professional. You need to be able to speak to the fact that you can solve problems quickly and plan to minimize future disruptions. You may need to resolve problems between two (or more) employees, or between an employee and the employer, in a respectful and appropriate way. As you think back to your example, consider the following:
- Did your plan result in long-term success?
- Did you consider everyone’s perspectives and make sure that each person felt heard?
- Did you take the time to explore all options and come up with alternative solutions?
- What additional skills can be useful for you to highlight? (negotiation, discretion, etc.)
Reflect on these questions as you develop your response to emphasize how your past experience makes you a great asset for this new role.
What are you looking forward to the most about working in Human Resources?
This is the chance for the interviewer to really get to know your background, values, and experiences that you are bringing to the table. Take the time to explain where that passion for HR emerged, and how your current skills and experiences have shaped you into the ideal candidate for this role. Clarify where you envision yourself going in the next few years, and how this position will not only help you on your professional journey but also how you can be a valuable asset to meet the company’s needs.
When was the last time you found yourself in a leadership role?
It’s important to be able to step up and take control when needed. As a member of any HR team, you need to be able to make decisions from a place of authority and expertise. You will need to be a guiding force to keep the company moving forward to meet its goals, minimize setbacks, motivate employees, and provide a productive and cohesive work environment. Even if leadership is not your natural quality, you can work on this skill by taking initiative either at work or in an academic setting to develop your own leadership style and see what works best when managing diverse groups of people.
Describe something from a past or present role that you would like to improve, and the steps you would take to improve it.
You are likely to encounter this question if the interviewer wants to know if you can make a positive contribution to the workplace, especially one that will benefit all employees. There is always room for growth and improvement, and some employers might be more open to making changes than others, but it’s still useful to be able to speak to your ability to be an independent thinker and showcase your work ethic and drive for success. The policies and procedures that the HR department enforces can impact the workplace in significant ways, so it’s important to be mindful and reflect on the changes you’re making before you implement them.
What skills do you consider essential in the management of people?
This question is a great way to showcase your professional strengths to the employer. Talk about what skills you already have and are able to bring in for the benefit of the company. Remember to provide an example of each skill you talk about to help the interviewer see you in action and relate your skill and your example back to the position you are applying for so the interviewer sees how your skills are relevant for meeting their needs.
How do you determine priorities when scheduling your time?
Time management is another skill that you should be able to speak to during your interview. Since a significant part of the HR department serves as the backbone and point of reference for its employees, it is likely that you may be asked to split your focus between several different tasks. It’s important to be able to plan your time according to each task’s importance and due date. Think back to a time when you had to multitask or manage multiple projects. How did that experience help you learn to manage your time and meet expectations? Try to effectively demonstrate to the interviewer that you can be relied on to work on several different tasks and complete them in a timely manner.
Give me an example of when you had a miscommunication with a co-worker or supervisor, and how you resolved it.
Communication skills, both verbal and written, can be used to assess how well you work with others. It’s especially important in HR when you have to listen to questions and concerns that employees bring to you and address each appropriately. However, misunderstandings can happen on either side of the conversation, so it’s important to establish yourself as someone who can be counted on to not only impart information clearly but also take care to fix any mistakes that may interfere with the company’s daily operations.
These are just a few of the questions to keep in mind as you continue to apply for jobs in the field of Human Resources and prepare for your upcoming interviews. If you would like to practice interviewing in preparation for your upcoming interview, feel free to schedule a Practice Interview with the UConn Center for Career Development to continue honing your interview skills and set yourself up for success!