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Interview Questions to Ask HR Applicants

by Kristin Swain, studioD

A human resources department, or HR, deals with every facet of a company from management to employees, including temporary employees. To work in HR you must be able to communicate with all levels of employees and enforce company policies. HR associates are involved in hiring, employee retention and discipline, and firing. This requires you to be knowledgeable about company policy and local labor laws. When interviewing for a human resources position, expect questions that test specific HR knowledge.

Handling Conflict

HR associates are required to deal with all types of conflict that can arise in a company. One of the main issues that HR associates are expected to identify and remedy are those that involve company policy. During an HR interview you may be asked how you would handle an employee who breaks company policy. When answering this question, consider your conflict resolution strategies. Keep in mind that it is important in this situation that you know and be able to communicate company policy and relate to the employee how it was broken. It's alright to tell an interviewer that if the infraction was out of your scope of experience that you would defer to a supervisor.

Communication With Employees

A large part of the job of a human resources associate is to know company policy and be able to answer employee questions quickly and accurately. To determine how well you communicate with employees, an interviewer may ask how you would relate company policy to an employee in an easily understandable manner. Use an example of company policy from a previous employer to answer this question. Talk the interviewer through each step of how you would talk to or answer an employee's question concerning company policy, including the ramifications of breaking policy.

Employee Issues

When employees have problems, either with management or with other employees, they often seek the counsel of HR associates. Other employee relations that HR associates are expected to deal with on a regular basis include hiring, interviewing and firing. To determine how you deal with employee issues as an HR associate, the interviewer may ask what your process is for identifying and handling employee matters while staying within legal bounds and the constraints of company policy. An example of this type of question would be to explain how you inform an employee that he is fired. When answering the question make sure to include what transgressions led to the firing, how you related the information to the employee and how you handled any additional issues that arose as a result.

Department Relations

Another part of the job of the HR department is to deal with other departments, including managers and employees. The HR department is expected to be able to take information from company ownership and management and be able to relate the information to department managers and employees in an easy to understand manner. To judge how you handle these types of situations, you may be asked in an HR interview how you communicate with other departments. When answering this question, explain how you relate to department managers and what your process is for taking information from company ownership and conveying it to employees.

About the Author

Residing in Los Angeles, Kristin Swain has been a professional writer since 2008. Her experience includes finance, travel, marketing and television. Swain holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication from Georgia State University.

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