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How to Describe Your HR Experience in a Job Interview

by Lisa McQuerrey, studioD

An employer hiring a human resources professional wants to identify a candidate who has good communication skills and is well versed in employment law and best hiring practices. An employer is also looking for previous experience working with a wide range of personality types and for someone who has experience specific to the industry in which he or she is seeking a position.

Provide a brief overview of each of your previous human resources positions. Highlight responsibilities and accomplishments applicable to the job you're applying for. For example, if primary responsibilities of the position include writing job descriptions and conducting background checks, describe how you effectively handled those tasks and responsibilities in prior jobs.

Give real-life examples of ways in which you handled key human resources issues in prior positions. For example, describe an executive recruiting task in which you had to choose between two highly qualified applicants. This approach allows interviewers to see how you behave in actual HR scenarios and gives them a good indication of your future behavior.

Detail your industry-specific experience. Hiring practices differ from one industry to another, and if you have particular experience that relates to the industry and the job you're seeking, emphasize it for interviewers. For example, if you're applying for a job in human resources at a medical center, emphasize your experience in this specialized area and outline responsibilities critical to the position. Discuss issues related to verifying licensing and practical experience during the applicant screening process.

Describe your functional experience, particularly as it pertains to the position you're seeking. For example, read through the job description prior to your interview and tailor your responses to background questions about your experience accordingly. For example, if part of the job includes training and performance assessment, focus on previous experience in these key areas.

Share details about your specialized areas of expertise, particularly if you're anything other than an HR generalist. For example emphasize your background in recruiting, employee relations or professional development. This will demonstrate your value as someone whose skills reach beyond common HR practices and functions.

Outline significant professional accomplishments, focusing on achievements in the most recent part of your career. Offer explanations for promotions, awards and recognitions that will verify your experience and level of expertise.

About the Author

Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.

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