Human Resource (HR) Interview Preparation Guide
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Human Resource Manager must be good at LISTENING when interviewing people for jobs, and also at WRITING reports. They need to be able to ANALYSE the requirements for a particular job (rather like this!) and to MAKE DECISIONS on who to invite for interview. This section will guide both HR Applying Job and HR Interviewing people. You also need the ability to work under PRESSURE and to deadlines, and NEGOTIATING and PERSUADING SKILLS we will guide you here how to do this.

151 Human Resource (HR) Questions and Answers:

1 :: How did you prepare for this HR interview?

To some extent the medium is the message. If you can't produce a high quality application form or CV how can you expect to judge quality in the application forms of others as a personnel manager?

Also, in your preparations for the interview they will look for evidence of organization and planning: that you have researched the organization and the job, that you have prepared answers to obvious questions and prepared questions to ask and that you have re-read your application form

Read 'People Management', the Institute of Personnel and Development journal, to become aware of current issues in the personnel field.

2 :: What attracts you to personnel management?

Don't talk about 'helping people' or 'working with people' - common misconceptions or cliches about personnel work. 'Helping people' may be part of the work but you are not paid to be a social worker and may also need to carry out actions that are not helpful to people, such as making them redundant. Most jobs will involve 'working with people' in some way - personnel is not unique in this, and can also involve a good deal of administration

The new name for personnel, 'Human Resource Management', is also a more accurate definition of the work - you are managing a resource just like any other - money, products etc. Even though most organizations will state that 'people are our most important resource', people are still managed for the ultimate benefit of the organization.

Answers should show that you have done your research and know what personnel is about - for example, collective bargaining, hiring, training, developing staff, payroll issues.

3 :: We have received hundreds of applications for personnel - why should we choose you?

Personnel is very competitive to enter, so you have to sell yourself effectively at interview. Your answer might include evidence for key skills - organizing, communication, computer skills etc.

You might also show a proactive approach - that you understand that personnel can be an important tool to give a company an edge over its competitors - for example by better training of staff.

You should also declare that you very much want the job and are prepared to throw yourself fully into it. Enthusiasm and commitment are important factors in work. If you can get them across at interview you will certainly appeal more than the many other applicants who did not.

Any relevant experience can also be used here. If you have held a vacation job or indeed had other full-time work experience in which you dealt with employee issues such as training, recruitment, dismissal or promotion now is the time to bring it up

4 :: How is your course relevant to HR?

If you have a business studies or an industrial relations degree then the answer is simple. Other degrees such as psychology may have given you an insight into human behavior but you also need to show an interest in the management side of the job.

If you have done a non-relevant degree don't worry. Many companies will take any degree subject for personnel. You need to emphasize relevant transferable skills - personnel departments will have extensive databases so any computer skills you have can be mentioned here.

You could also mention that you have developed verbal communication skills in seminars, written communication in essays, analytical and research skills in almost any aspect of your course and organizing and planning skills developed in projects. The fact that you have studied effectively and to a high level can suggest you would be a good employee and willing to work hard.

5 :: Tell me about your work experience of Human Resource?

Although the ideal answer here would include paid or unpaid experience in a personnel department, many other jobs will have relevance. Do try to spend a day with a personnel manager or at least to discuss the job with them before your interview. In such a competitive field this may give you an important edge over other applicants.

Almost any job will give you an insight into the things that make a workforce happy and efficient. Even being a packer in a factory will give you an insight into what motivates the most poorly paid workers - tell them how satisfied they were and what changes could be made to improve efficiency. Recounting your own experience of Human Resources may also be helpful. Knowledge and examples of any of the following would be appropriate:

* Interviews
* Making applications
* Selection Centers
* Training courses
* Pay review
* Appraisal
* Promotion.

6 :: How can we become more efficient HR Manager?

This question is checking whether you have done your research and also to see if you can think on your feet. It's also seeing if you have made the crucial link between the work of the human resource department and the effectiveness of the workforce. This is where your research into personnel issues will pay off: you might talk about better training of staff; the merits and demerits of appraisal schemes; performance related pay; change management, etc.

You will not be expected to solve any efficiency problems they are currently experiencing. Neither will they be expecting you to come up with some kind of correct answer. They will be more interested in the way you list the different issues regarding efficiency and whether you feel there are typical areas of, for example, recruitment inefficiency which can be addressed.

7 :: What do you think of trade unions?

Here they will not be looking for any ideological stance but some sort of balanced viewpoint. It again demonstrates that you have done your research and can think on your feet.

You could, for example, outline ways in which unions can be useful partners to management; alternative ways of giving employees a voice and situations in which unions can hinder management actions. You might take into account the level of unionisation in the organisation to which you are applying and any recent industrial relations problems it may have experienced. Similar questions that have been asked include:

* "What is your opinion on performance-related pay?"
* "What motivates a workforce?"
* "Is industrial action a bad thing?"
* "Is it practical to work in personnel and be a member of a trade union?"
* "Should all employees join a trade union?"
* "Should trade union activities be considered when recruiting managers?".

8 :: Your manager has decided he can no longer afford graduate recruitment - how would you convince him otherwise?

Again a question to see if you can think on your feet as It's unlikely you would have prepared an answer beforehand. It's also a question that every graduate should know something about - and therefore have an opinion.

As with all such questions there's no one answer - just try to say a few sensible things based on logic. Think what reasons might have influenced the manager's decision and try and counter them. In this case, you might draw up a comparison between the costs of recruiting experienced staff v. running a graduate training scheme. Similar question that have been asked include:

"What do you think of our graduate recruitment brochure?"
"What are our organization's strengths and weaknesses?"
"Your manager needs to sack ten people. How would you choose which ten?"
"If you were a manager and there were complaints about the way your staff dealt with customers, how would you resolve this?"

9 :: Describe a situation where you were in conflict with others. How did you resolve this?

Here they want evidence that you have key skills required in the job - in this case assertiveness and negotiating skills which are important in collective bargaining.

Similar questions include:

"Give an example of when you ... motivated people/overcame a problem/challenged an established procedure/initiated something/had to change your plans at short notice".

Outline the SITUATION, the ACTION that you took and the RESULT achieved. This will help structure your answer.

Make sure that you have examples of key skills prepared beforehand - from school, university, sports, travel and vac. work. Diplomacy is important as HR managers often have an advisory capacity to line managers but with little power of their own so have to be tactful and persuasive to get their way. You can admit to problems arising through tactlessness or misunderstanding provided that you were able to resolve them successfully and can show that you learnt from the experience.

10 :: Have you any questions about Human Resource (HR)?

The best questions to ask are those that you really would like to know the answer to, rather than those you can find in books on interview skills. If you research the company well enough, you will find a number of questions naturally arising that you wish to be answered.

You should, though, concentrate on questions that show your interest in, and motivation to do, the job itself, rather than the rewards it will bring. So, for example, you should ask about training and career progression in preference to pay and pensions!

Other questions could include:

*"What is the company's annual staff turnover?"
*"Where would I fit into the organization?"
*"What is the line management structure?"
*"What do staff enjoy most about working for the company?"
*"What does the induction program consist of?"
*"How long have the present staff been employed by the firm?"
*"Is there a planned career development path?"

11 :: What is the difference between primary & secondary storage device?

In primary storage device the storage capacity is limited. It has a volatile memory. In secondary storage device the storage capacity is larger. It is a nonvolatile memory. Primary devices are: RAM / ROM. Secondary devices are: Floppy disc / Hard disk.

12 :: What is pipelining?

A technique used in advanced microprocessors where the microprocessor begins executing a second instruction before the first has been completed. That is, several instructions are in the pipeline simultaneously, each at a different processing stage.

Pipeline is a device within the CPU that enables it to fetch (read) instructions in advance of executing them - so that when an instruction is completed, the next one is ready to execute.

Submitted by George E Broussard (

Pipelining is a process By which CPU is enabling to fetch an instruction when the execution of another instruction going on.8086 is the 1st microprocessor which uses that concept of pipelining. it uses 2 different circuit for execution and fetching of an instruction.

13 :: Why are you here?

Before you walk into any interview or take any phone screen, you absolutely MUST learn something about the company. Do your research. Check out the company’s website, especially their PR or Recent News section where you’ll find interesting info on your target. They want to be flattered that you picked their company to interview. So tell them what you like or what impresses you about this company.

14 :: How do you prepare for behavioral interviews?

The best way to prepare is to take the initiative by preparing several 30 to 90-second personal stories.

Consider developing your stories around these areas:

1. A crisis in your life or job and how you responded or recovered from it.

2. A time when you functioned as part of a team and what your contribution was.

3. A time in your career or job when you had to overcome stress.

4. A time in your job when you provided successful leadership or a sense of direction.

5. A failure that occurred in your job and how you successfully overcame it.

Preparation is especially important for success in the behavioral interview. A word of warning: you must have stories to back up anything you claimed on your resume.

All stories have three parts and yours should be no different. They include:

1. A beginning (set the stage- describe the situation, the time)

2. A middle or process (this is the process you took or the action that you took to solve the problem)

3. A resolution (How was the problem solved, overcome, or resolved)

A good story should be interesting and full of action. Give them something memorable about you that make you stand out. Since these are your stories, it shouldn’t be hard. Let your personality and your core character shine through. Make sure you let them hear the steps you took to solve the problem. The more details and skills you can add, the better

15 :: How is this different than other questions you might encounter?

A behavioral question will be very specific. For instance, when asked, “Tell me about a time when you overcame a crisis, solved a problem, dealt with failure, etc.”, the focus is on a specific “time” in your past when you __________. Here your answer must elucidate a particular action that you took at some point in your past.

In contrast, a traditional interview question would be “what if” type questions. For example, “What would you do if such and such situations were to occur?” The difference here is there are no past experiences to call upon. You merely put yourself in the situation and use your imagination for the answer. The interviewer is looking for your thought process and how you might think through a problem.

16 :: What is a Behavioral Interview?

Also known as “competency-based” interviews, these go further than the traditional skills-based interview. You can expect additional questions about your character and personal attributes that can better determine whether you fit their corporate culture. These are called “behavioral competencies”.

Specifically, this is simply an interviewing technique used to determine whether you are a good fit for the job by asking questions about your past behavior. Your answers are then used as a predictor of your future success. For example, if you’ve done it in the past, you probably will do it again.

A Great Showcase for You but You Must Prepare Now!

When you go into an interview, you need to leave your nerves at the door. The best way to prepare is to develop beforehand, your own story (or stories). This is especially great for the “behavioral” or “competency”-based interview being used more today.

A behavioral interviewer will spend about half the interview on your job skills, and about half on your behavioral competencies. He or she will be looking for evidence of how you have acted in real situations in the past.

How to Create Your Professional Brand

The first step in creating your professional brand is to consider what you want to highlight. For example, if you’re a computer programmer, you’ll want to highlight your tech skills. If you’re a marketing professional, you’ll want to promote your public relations/marketing experience. When you have multiple areas of expertise, it

17 :: What is Your Brand?

In a nutshell, your brand is your online presence. You can, and should, have your own brand; just like Tiffany’s has for fine jewelry or Subway has for submarine sandwiches.

Your professional brand needs to reflect your skills, your interests, and your expertise. So, when someone finds information about you online, it connects them to who you are and what you can do.

Like it or not, if an employer is considering you for a job, they are going to Google you to see what they can find. What you don’t want prospective employers looking at is the pictures of your summer vacation or a party where you might have over-indulged a little. The rule of thumb I always use is the “grandma” standard. If there is something that you wouldn’t want your grandmother (or your mom) seeing on the web, you don’t want a prospective employer viewing it either.

I still cringe at the photos I’ve seen on some Face book pages and in blogs. Some of the descriptions of the good times had by all are cringe-worthy, too, when you look at them from a “what they can do to your job search” perspective.

18 :: What kind of manager do you find most difficult to work for?

Instead of providing a laundry list of qualities you dislike in a manager, focus your response on the management style that brings out the best in you.

Sample Response: “Since I am a self-starter, I work best in a situation where the supervisor provides instructions and then allows me to carry them out. I’m not one that needs to be micro-managed. In fact, my previous managers can attest that I always go above and beyond what is expected and can be depended upon to keep my commitments.”

The way you answer interview questions will be the determining factor on whether or not you are extended a job offer. Be prepared to answer interview questions that focus on your ability to be managed

19 :: How would your current/previous employer describe your work ethic?

An excellent way to gauge your manageability is by gaining insight on how others perceive your performance. When answering this question keep your response focused on the good qualities your manager sees in you.

Sample Response:” My performance reviews always have been outstanding. In my most recent one, my manager indicated that my dependability and loyalty as an employee is evident by the fact that I always show up to work on time, and when needed, make myself available for overtime‚¾making me an asset to the department.”

20 :: Give me a recent example of when you needed the assistance of your manager.

The interviewer wants to know if you handle issues that arise on your own and whether you exhaust every alternative before informing your manager of a potential problem. Most managers look for employees who manage problems on their own or at the very least, brainstorm possible solutions before bringing the problem to the manager’s attention. To prepare for this type of question, take note of your problem-solving skills and mention the steps you take when resolving issues.

Sample Response: “Since I have comprehensive experience in this industry, it is rare that I approach my supervisor to solve a problem for me. I usually draw upon past experiences to determine the best course of action. This method works 99% of the time. If I’m presented with a scenario I’ve never encountered, I come up with several options and present each to my manager. Together, we discuss the pros and cons of all the possible scenarios and come up with a workable solution.”