Frequently asked questions in HR interview.
HR interview is where the final decision is taken, finding the best fit for the company. HR works with a set of questions and we discuss some of them here. Remember! All the answers should be concise.
- Tell me a little about yourself.
The answer to this question must be a mix of personal and professional details. But don’t go heavy on the personal stuff. This is a question which can be answered with a little creativity but does not wander off from the subject.This is a good opportunity for you to showcase your personality to the interviewer. Outline your experience and skill set for the post too while you are answering this question. More importantly, time yourself.
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
This is a trick question. The interviewer wants to see how long you are planning to stick around. Take a second, tamp down on all possibilities not relevant to the position for which you are being interviewed. Be brief and explain your career goals pertaining to the company.
- May I contact your former/current employer for a reference?
But the fact is that most professionals do not want their current employers to know that they have been looking for other opportunities.
There is no right answer to this question. You can very well answer NO. Maybe it gives the impression that you are hiding something, but this is not uncommon.
A far as previous employers are concerned, you can give their details for reference if your employer doesn’t have a NO REFERENCE policy.
- Do you know anyone working here?
If the answer is NO, then say it. If you have any contacts from networking sites like LinkedIn or Angel.co, then mention that they are your online acquaintances.
If you do KNOW someone, then mention your relationship with the person as well. Be sure to give your contact a heads up that you have given their detail to the interviewer.
- Explain how you would be an asset to the organization?
This is the chance to showcase your best professional attributes. Talk about how your skills will improve your team and the overall standing of the whole organization. Stress on your ability to work hard, be punctual, and that you will exceed their expectation if they hired you.
- Why do you want to work here?
This is a layered question. Reading between the lines, they expect you to answer Why this organization and why this job?
- What are your goals?
The easiest way to answer this question is to separate your short term and long term goals. Use the position as a guide, and discuss how they fit with the company’s vision.
- Are you okay with shifts?
If this is a job posting with mandatory shifts, you should already be fine with shift rotation. But not all are ready to work the night shift or the holiday shift. Be clear on what shifts are you comfortable with.
- Are you willing to relocate for the job?
This is a preliminary screening test as well. The best answer would be YES if the right opportunity comes along.
- What is your salary expectations?
Research on the job market and the average salary of the position with respect to your experience. Don’t know is the worst answer you can give. You may be selected but offered a salary package at the lower end of the spectrum. If you quote it too high, you are at the risk of losing the position to a similarly qualified candidate who expects a salary lower than you.
- Tell us something about your hobbies?
They are trying to judge what kind of a person you are. Answer in simple terms what holds your interest away from work. Your creativity and passion can be judged by your choice of activities and your enthusiasm for your hobbies. Be zealous in your answer but don’t wax poetic on any activity.
- What do you think are your strengths?
State your strengths like efficiency, analytical approach, dealing with people etc.,
Don’t brag and don’t be haughty.
- What do you think are your weaknesses?
As far as weakness is concerned, going full out negative is a bad idea. Say you can maybe improve on certain aspects of your character which will help you become a better person, a better employee, and a better fit to the organization hiring you. Avoid leading with a negative like ‘can’t’ and definitely stay away from vague words like probably, usually, maybe.
- You prefer working alone or in a team?
Some are natural team players while others like to work alone. Adaptability is the key. The interviewer is NOT looking for one or the other. He/She is expecting to hear that you are comfortable with either as the situation demands it. You can by saying you prefer one over the other but you will be able to do things either way. This puts forward your dynamic nature.
- What do you like about your current job?
This is an open question and deserves to be answered as such. The interviewer is trying to peg if you are the right person for this position. Don’t be over eloquent about your old job but state what liked to do there, mention your achievements and positive feedback from your previous employer as well as peers and what you would do with your new position if hired. The objective is to reassure the interviewer that you are indeed the best fit for the position.
- What do you dislike about your current job?
This is a simple question where a lot of candidates get trapped and are out of running for the jo. The primary reason is bad mouthing the previous employer. Bad mouthing is a big No-No. Never talk about the boss who made your life bad in your previous job. It doesn’t help. Start on a positive note, express your dissatisfaction as subtly as possible, and end the answer with strength and how this position might be a better fit for you.
- Do you consider yourself a leader?
This is another question where you should not answer in absolutes. The best answer would be to state that you are both a leader and a follower as the situation demands it. Start with leadership qualities. A leader must work with others from a position of authority and ensure that his team completes the work adhering to the quality standard, deadlines. The leader should also empower his team and also back them in the hour of crisis. As a follower (of the chain of command), you show that you are open to learning and taking lessons from the experience of others. This again reflects your attitude, adaptability in addition to your critical thinking, problem solving and management style
- Why did you quit your previous job?
Reasons for leaving have to sound rational. Better opportunities, improved career prospects and personal growth are some reasons in general. If you were a contract based worker or an intern whose period of employment is over, the answer is obvious. Otherwise, make an effort to explain.
- What was your role in the previous work experience?
They will look for your tone and attitude while answering this question. Talk about likes/dislike but don’t project any strong emotion towards your previous employer.
- What is your achievement in your last position?
Don’t just talk about the figures. Once you are done with the arithmetic part of the achievement, stress upon your role as a good facilitator amongst the team, your other contribution to the team in general.
- Are you a risk taker?
Never answer this question in absolute and resounding YES or NO. The best approach would be to project that you walk the thin line between taking risks and playing it safe. You can say that you take calculated risk to get the maximum benefit. Tailor this answer depending upon the role you apply for. Certain positions require risk takers whereas others require stable and dependable, play it safe type of a person.
- How about your work ethics?
This is a behaviour related question. Your answer will be used to judge you on your attitude towards the position and your behaviour. Some of the metrics are honesty, integrity, and accountability among others. Answer this question very cautiously as it is interlinked indirectly with many other questions that may have been or may be asked in the interview.
- What are your expectations regarding this position?
Think of positives and answer accordingly. Some points to be considered are working with a good team and a fair employer. A position which will be challeging (at least at times), where you can improve your standing in the company and good personable working conditions.
- Why should we hire you?
You should define what sets you apart from your competitors. Your ability to market yourself and expected value addition to the employer is tested. The interviewer will look for the potential in a candidate to be a team player and have transferable skills. They will judge your capacity to help develop the company and others in the company, well, eventually, maybe in the role of a mentor or such. Tailor the answer to project these skills, according to the position that you have applied for.
- Do you have any questions for me?
Always say ‘YES’. Research the organization and prepare a list of question to ask the interviewer. You can also ask about their experience working with the organization. Ask an open-ended question which requires some explanation. Asking role oriented and project-oriented queries is a good approach.
Though this list is nowhere exhaustive, this is a good start to prepare for an HR interview.