5 Common HR Manager Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)
Updated 30 September 2022
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Managerial level positions require strong leadership skills besides relevant qualifications, education and experience. Candidates applying for the role of an HR manager can benefit from showcasing their communication and leadership skills during the interview. Knowing how to highlight your soft skills and share your experience to impress the interviewer can improve your chances of success. In this article, we discuss five common HR manager job interview questions along with sample answers to help guide your preparation process.
5 commonly asked HR manager interview questions
Practising some commonly asked HR manager interview questions can help you identify and assess your potential, strengths, qualifications and eligibility for a managerial job position. Below is a list of common HR manager questions, along with sample answers:
1. How would your current, and previous managers describe you?
Employers may ask you this question to assess your overall personality and self-awareness. Interviewers prefer hiring people who have a strong character that matches their organisation's goals, values, and vision and aligns with the job description requirements. Since this is an open-ended question, the employers can test your communication skills and determine how fluently you convey your ideas. They may evaluate the answer for its authenticity. Consider sharing some honest opinions of your previous managers to showcase that you have a high degree of self-awareness.
Example answer: "During my time at Wavewood, my then manager told me I impressed him with my human resources operations, especially with my onboard process, where I studied the specific work history of each applicant. During the last appraisal meeting, he gave me an excellent performance rating that led to me winning the employee of the month award. While I impressed him with my overall performance and HR understanding, I think one area where he believed I might improve upon was my ability to interact and connect with my colleagues closely.
During one of the project team meetings, he noticed I was not very collaborative. Instead, I wanted to take all responsibility on my own. He felt it could be overwhelming for me if I were to complete the entire project on my own and told me the importance of teamwork. Since then, I have improved my leadership and collaborative skills as part of a team. Improving this aspect has helped me successfully execute large projects by supervising other team members."
Related: Why Is Human Resources Important To Every Organisation?
2. What is the difference between a team and a group, and do you consider yourself a team player?
Since the job of an HR manager requires you to work in large teams and lead them, this is an important question that the employer can ask to test your compatibility in a project team. The interviewer wants to assess if you have the vital skills to excel in a team and how easily can you collaborate with others to execute a project. When answering this question, consider explaining the significant differences between a group and a team and focus on sharing your experience of working in a team.
Example answer: "I consider myself a team player, and my ability to work in a team has improved after the execution of over 50 employee development programmes. According to my experience of working in teams, the primary difference between a group and a team is how people work together to achieve goals. For example, when people simply work alongside each other without any collaboration or exchange of ideas, you can call them a group of people working together. It is when they start interacting and working with each other that they become a team."
Related: Is Teamwork A Skill? Definition And Examples
3. Do you have any experience with cost reduction efforts, and how did you achieve the milestones that you set for your team?
HR professionals usually ideate and implement cost reduction strategies and leverage the power of their human resources and capital. The employer can ask you this question to assess your experience with any cost reduction strategies and how well you understand the basic concepts. This can help them know your skills and expertise in optimising human resources. While answering this question, you can share your experience and your lessons from any past experience about cost and resource optimisation.
Example answer: "I have had a lot of experience devising and executing cost reduction strategies for the benefit of employees and the organisation. During my last job as the learning and development head at Wavewood, I conducted comprehensive market research to discover a training and development software program for employees at a lower price than our organisation was using. The company wanted to invest this extra money in a productivity programme.
To make this happen, I sat down with the logistics team and decided on the specifics of a software program that we chose. We discussed strategies to execute this program seamlessly into our work systems and procedures to enhance employee efficiency. This one cost reduction strategy helped us reduce the company's overall operating costs and save about ₹50,000 per employee each year. It also helped improve our employees' productivity since we could invest in productivity-boosting programmes with the profit earned. I exceeded the targets we had set for the cost reduction exercise in this project."
Related: What Are The Roles And Responsibilities Of HR? (With Skills)
4. Have you ever led a project team, and how did you address a conflict within a team?
Employers can ask this question to assess your leadership qualities and determine if you can successfully guide teams to achieve the organisation's strategic goals. They may also evaluate your efficiency, creativity and unique abilities to resolve a conflict and provide alternate solutions to overcome a challenging situation. In your response, you can share your experience when you faced a team conflict or dysfunction and explain how you used your leadership skills to help the team members navigate the situation.
Example answer: "I realised early on in my career as a human resource professional that problems and uncertainties are going to be a part of our profession and that the longer you avoid them, the bigger they become. Now, resolving conflicts and finding an amicable solution has become a learned skill for me. I have led several teams and guided them to achieve their project objectives during my past two jobs. Whenever I face these conflicting situations at work, my first step is to identify the root cause of the problem.
I determine if there are ways to fix that problem without taking any team member's side or seeming remotely biased. In doing so, I often locate other errors that require resolving to help improve the overall situation. If such a solution is not clearly visible, the best approach in my experience is to address the issue directly with all the stakeholders. Addressing these conflicts within a team requires active communication and mutual respect and listening, which is critical to resolving any dispute or disagreement."
Related: What Is Conflict Resolution? Using This Practice At Work
5. What is your approach to recruiting exceptionally skilled candidates?
With a question like this, the employer may want to know your recruitment strategy and approach to find the right candidates who can qualify for the jobs in your company. Since this is an HR manager's job, they may also want to understand if you have strong decision-making skills and can hire suitable candidates that align with the company's goals and vision. Consider answering honestly about your recruitment experience and practices. Also, ensure that you mention the company's hiring approach and how you integrate it with your personal recruitment approach.
Example answer: "While I ensure that I hire people with the right skills, talent and educational qualifications, there is a specific strategy that I follow. This strategy is based on the company's value, mission and goal and helps shortlist relevant candidates with the right skills and personalities. When developing this strategy, I also consider the perks and benefits a company offers to employees to help enhance the overall employee work experience. When hiring candidates for leadership and managerial positions, the top skills I look for include confidence, flexibility and creativity in their work approach.
Apart from my personalised hiring strategy, before hiring for any open position, I first check internally to see if we can find someone from the team who could be a good fit for that job role. When I do not find a suitable candidate internally, I encourage team members to refer their acquaintances and friends. Finally, the job application is open for the public to apply through job boards and websites."
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