While the HR interview gets a bad reputation for being a formality, it’s arguably the most important step in the hiring process. Prepare beforehand, practice your answers, and research the company and its culture. The HR professional is your ally during the process. You want them to know that you’re the perfect fit for the role, which will get you closer to a job offer.
Questions you can expect when interviewing for your awesome new position:
- Why are you interested in this position?
- Why are you leaving your current job?
- Can you describe a work or school instance in which you messed up?
- Tell me about a time when you experienced conflict with a co-worker and how you dealt with it.
- What do you know about our company?
- How would you improve our current product or service?
- How would your current manager describe you?
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
- What questions do you have for me?
- Focus on career growth and skill development as a reason for looking for a new role.
- Express appreciation for your current employer without being overly positive (then they’ll wonder why you’re actually leaving)
- Whatever you do, don’t complain about your current employer, your boss, or your work environment.
- Be clear about your strengths — this is really your moment to shine.
- Focus on a single characteristic you’d like to highlight.
- Try to connect the strength to the role you’re applying for.
- Don’t be indifferent or noncommittal.
- Don’t indicate that you’re hoping to leave the company for a better one, or that this role is just a stepping stone.
1. Research the company.
Researching the company is a no-brainer, yet many of us walk into an interview with only a surface-level understanding of the company and its product offerings. In your research, seek to not only understand what the company sells but who it sells it to. Use the product beforehand if you can. Take a look at the firm’s competitors. Last, try to get a thorough understanding of the company’s culture.
2. Reread the job description multiple times.
I know that it’s difficult to keep track of job postings, especially if you’ve applied to tens upon tens of jobs. Try to find the original posting (or a copy of it on a job search site) and reread the description. If possible, print it out and highlight sections that you feel most match with your qualifications. Underline key terms, then bring those terms into your answers.
3. Practice your answers.
Practice, practice, practice. Practice in front of the mirror, in front of your camera, and in your room. But don’t memorize your answers — simply go over them a few times so that they’re eloquent, enthusiastic, and brief without feeling wooden or scripted. Don’t forget to focus on positive results.
4. Compile a list of questions.
These questions should be general enough that an HR professional can answer them (you wouldn’t want to ask something too team- or role-specific) but targeted enough that they feel tailored to the company.
You might ask general questions regarding the role, like “Are there opportunities for professional development within the role and department as a whole?” If they can’t answer these sorts of questions because they’re not acquainted with the team, you can ask about their experience and what it’s like to work at the company.