6 Tips for Acing an HR Interview
Many companies pride themselves on having a strong HR department, and they should—HR is typically the first line of defense when it comes to screening potential job candidates. How well you do on the HR interview will determine whether you get that coveted secondary interview with the higher-ups. So how do you make a good first impression? Utilize these six tips to help your chances of getting asked back.
1. Show A Healthy Respect For The HR Department
The HR department often consists of the behind-the-scenes leaders of a company, and it will serve you well to remember that. Overconfident job seekers often treat members of the human resources department as less essential than other divisions of the company, but that simply isn’t true. It’s become common practice to seek feedback at every step of the interview process, so treat everyone with respect (something to keep in mind at all times—not just when you’re interviewing).
2. Confidence Is Key
The HR interview is where your confidence and personality will really be on display, even more than in your technical interview (which will hopefully be the next step!)—so make sure they're on full display. Many HR interviews are conducted by phone, so practice answering common interview questions in a tone that’s warm and friendly, but also comfortable to you. If you're doing an in-person or video interview, be sure to engage in plenty of eye contact, sit up straight, and smile before answering any questions. These small tonal details go a long way toward communicating you can seamlessly transition onto the team.
3. Brush Up On Your Communication Skills
HR managers want to see you’re able to lead a project, team, etc., and you’ll excel doing so. A good leader is a good communicator—a communicator that can clearly convey to others what needs to be done and when. Whether your potential job involves directing a team of coworkers, reporting directly to your boss, or even just completing a solo project, communication is key within any department. You can be sure your interviewer will be watching closely to see how you answer their interview questions—not just for the content of your answers but for the way in which you convey them as well.
4. Be A Team Player
While your technical interview will focus on specific accomplishments and projects from your previous or current job, the HR interview focuses much more on your overall personality and ability to fit the current office climate. This often means knowing how to work well with others. Even if your potential position is largely a solitary one, interactions with coworkers are inevitable, so make sure you illustrate—preferably through examples of your actual experiences—how well you work with those around you.
5. Consider Your Options
It's very likely your HR interviewer will ask you how you would react or what you would do regarding a particular situation that may reasonably come up in your potential job. Therefore, it pays to have a general idea of how you would respond if these kinds of scenario questions come up. Think of the most common problems that may arise—your team disagrees on how to approach a project, you realize you won’t be able to make a deadline, etc.—and have your answers ready.
6. Take The Time To Ask Cultural Questions
The HR interview is where the interviewer will consider whether you’re a good personality fit for their office, but it's also an opportunity for you to ask your own questions about the organization’s culture. Do you have any concerns? Any details that need clarification? HR interviewers welcome (and expect!) questions, so have some non-technical queries at the ready.
The HR screening is the first step in a possibly long line of interviews. With the proper preparation, the impression you make on HR can lead you to your end goal and the job you’re hoping to land!