Mitali was waiting for her human resources or HR interview after clearing her technical interview.
She was nervous about what she was going to say because the HR interview questions were meant to judge her personality, strengths and weaknesses. She was worried about saying the wrong things or saying too much. It was this lack of confidence that filled her with anxiety—even before she entered the interview hall.
For a job interview, confidence is key. The high-pressure interview environment can be daunting for all—whether you’re a student preparing for placements or a seasoned professional.
In Mitali’s case, she was able to calm herself down with a pep talk and aced her interview. If you too want to learn how to clear your HR interview, read on!
What Are HR Interviews?
An HR interview is usually the last or final round in the interview process. Unlike the technical round, HR interview questions assess your suitability for the role based on what you have to offer. This is a great opportunity to ask relevant questions based on the interviewer’s job profile!
You can expect to talk about things like problem-solving, your hobbies and why you want to work in this particular field. You have to tailor your response to your audience.
Here are the key characteristics of an HR interview:
It focuses on your strengths and weaknesses to determine whether you’re a right fit for the role
The HR manager will evaluate your values, beliefs and expectations to check whether they align with the organization
It holds a lot of weight in your interview process as the HR manager has the authority to accept or reject your application
The interviewer will evaluate your communication skills, interpersonal skills and problem-solving abilities
This is where you have to convince the interviewer that you’re a good fit for the role because of who you are and what you aspire to achieve
Preparing your answers to generic HR interview questions beforehand can help you overcome your nerves. What you can do is practice how to answer HR interview questions. This way you can weave interesting facts about yourself to leave a lasting impression on the interviewer.
General HR Interview Questions
Interview questions, except technical interview questions, may not be specific to the interviewer. You can be asked about your skills, competencies and abilities in multiple ways by multiple people.
Before we move on to how you can prepare answers to general HR interview questions, let’s look at common HR interview questions and answers. Do note that these are general interview questions that can be asked by other stakeholders, in different ways.
Here’s a list of general interview questions and answers that an HR manager may ask to nudge you in the right direction:
Tell Me About Yourself
Every recruiter will ask you to describe yourself in an interview. The purpose of this question is to assess whether you’re a good fit for the role. They don’t want to know about your education and experience—that’s already mentioned on your resume. It’s what you can tell them that goes beyond what’s on paper—your skills, motivations and expectations. Remember to align your answers with the job requirements to keep them relevant.
What Are Your Strengths And Weaknesses?
The interviewer wants to check whether you have the self-awareness to evaluate your performance. They’ll evaluate whether your strengths can be leveraged in the organization. For instance, your critical thinking ability will tell them that you’re an effective problem-solver. Additionally, knowing your weaknesses shows that you’re willing to learn and improve.
Where Do You See Yourself In Five Years?
The five-year plan question stumps many candidates. It’s important to show your enthusiasm for the role by explaining what you plan to do in the organization. Instead of mentioning things like “I want to start my own business” or “I want to study abroad”, try saying things like “I want to learn the ins and outs of the business” or “I want to help you offer improved services to customers”.
The interviewer wants to know why you want to work in their organization. You can do that by researching the organization, their objectives and products or services they offer. Being well-versed with the organization will help you stand out. You can also find news articles about any relevant developments in the field. With this information, you can build a case to show how you can add value to the organization.
Describe A Situation
The best way to answer a situational question is by using the STAR (Situation-Task-Action-Result) framework. The interviewer will ask you to describe a situation where you overcame a challenge or came up with creative solutions. Think of this as storytelling and make it as compelling as you can. The situation may be professional or personal, but it must be relevant to the role.
What Do You Like To Do Outside Of Work?
You can describe your hobbies or passions in your answers. Remember to find ways to tie it back to the job requirements for more impact. For instance, if you’re an avid reader, you can talk about volunteering at the Jaipur Literature Festival—where you met your favorite authors. These answers are unique to you and help you distinguish yourself from other candidates. Impactful, strong and sound answers are far better than generic “I love to read or I love to travel” responses.
What Are Your Salary Expectations?
The salary question makes many candidates uncomfortable. They’re afraid to say something that might hamper their chances of success. But it’s important to recognize that the organization needs you as much as you need them. If you can establish that, you’ll have better chances at negotiating an appropriate salary. Some ways to know what to ask for are talking to others in the same profession or researching industry standards.
Now that you’re familiar with general HR interview questions and answers, let’s discuss how you can prepare for this type of interview.
How To Prepare For HR Interviews
It’s normal to be nervous or worry about the outcomes of an interview. But preparation and practice can help you do a good job on the day of. Here’s how you can prepare in advance:
Remember to write down answers to common questions and practice them several times. This will help you retain more information, avoiding the possibility of blanking out.
Practice with friends or family so they can give you honest feedback about what you can improve or change.
Research the organization to find out about its organizational culture, structure, values, mission statement and leadership.
Be clear on why you’re applying for the job as it will help you prepare meaningful and relevant answers to the questions.
Update your resume with your latest experience and credentials. Tailor it to the job requirements to make sure you don’t add something that’s not applicable to the role.
What Not To Do During An HR Interview
In addition to preparing the right answers, you must also know what to avoid. There are times when we become too comfortable in the process, making remarks or saying things that aren’t appropriate. Here are some things you should avoid doing during an HR interview:
Asking about compensation, holidays or the interviewer’s personal life is a big no-no. You should only talk about things that are appropriate for the job interview. Fixating on salary and benefits may also leave a poor impression.
Dressing inappropriately in casual wear instead of formal attire can work against you. Even if you’re interviewing at a startup that encourages casual workwear, you should always dress formally for interviews.
Asking about things like what the organization does will tell the interviewer that you haven’t done your homework. These are things you should already be aware of—before going for your interview.
Not respecting the interviewer’s time and coming in late. Punctuality is a highly-valued skill in the workplace—especially when it comes to first impressions. Also, don’t talk at length about one topic as that can also negatively impact your results.
Not paying attention to the interviewer’s nonverbal cues—body language, facial expressions and gestures. You must read the interviewer’s mood to modify your answers. Change course when they start looking bored, annoyed or confused.
These interview tips will help you navigate your way through a complex interview process. It’s true that interviews are extremely important for your professional growth. But thinking that one job interview is your only chance at success isn’t the right way.
Learn How To Ace Your Next HR Interview
With Harappa’s Ace The Interview course you’ll learn everything you need to know about general interview questions. From how to frame winning answers to avoiding common mistakes, our course will teach you how to achieve your goal. With a little bit of effort, patience and awareness, you’re well on your way to cracking the interview code. Meet our expert faculty who will share their personal experiences to enrich your learning. We will help you prepare for your HR interview with helpful tools, frameworks like the PAM (Purpose-Audience-Message) and real-world examples.
Today, take another step toward advancing your professional journey with Harappa Education.
Explore Harappa Diaries to learn more about topics related to the COMMUNICATE Habit such as What are the Common Questions to Ask an Interviewer, Guide to Answering “Tell Me About Yourself“, “How Would You Describe Yourself“ and The 50 Most Common Interview Questions to ace your next interview.