HR Interview Question and Answers

HR Interview Question and Answers

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HR Interview Questions with Answers

 

1. Tell me about yourself

Answer: It is the most often asked question in interviews and also the most tricky question. Start by telling why you are well qualified for the position. Remember, always match your educational & experience qualification to what the interviewer is looking for. In other words you should give information what the interviewer is looking for. Be careful that it should not seem rehearsed. - See more at: 

2. Assuming that you are selected, what will be your strategy for next 60 days?

If I am selected for this position, I’ll use my initial 60 days in understanding my role carefully in terms of the contribution to the business and increasing the overall profitability. I’ll sit with my line manager and other juniors to understand what has already been done and what its impact has been. From there on, I’ll formulate my strategy to growth in close conjunction with managers and see that it is properly implemented.

3. How would you improve upon our product/ company?

Since I’d be coming from an altogether new environment, I am bound to possess a new perspective towards everything here including the company, product, customers, environment, strategy etc. This will enable me to constructively question things which anyone else here might not do. This will help in improving the things and making the product & company better.Having worked closely with product development team I understand how the research for product development is carried out and how is customer requirement analysed; I’d be able to provide a value addition there too.

4. Don’t you think, you are overqualified for this position?

You might feel that I possess more degrees than you require for this position. But, I believe that I grow everyday when I talk to my staff, customers and superiors. So, basically the learning process continues through out the life – I don’t think I am over qualified.

5. I see, there’s some gap in your work history. Why?

Yes, I was feeling exhausted after years of non-stop work. So, I decided to take a break and spend some time with my family on a rejuvenating vacation. I am happy to have returned fully recharged.

6. Can you tell us something about your previous boss?

All my bosses possessed some skills worth learning. I have always tried to learn something new from them including my previous boss.

7. Is there anything that you do not like about your last or current job?

I was quite enthusiastic while joining my last job. Towards the end, the number of challenges and opportunity to grow further started diminishing. A challenge loving and growth oriented person like me doesn’t enjoy this.

8. Why did you leave your last job?

Answer:  Always answer in a positive manner regarding reason. Never talk negatively or badly about your previous organization. If you do, you will cut a sorry figure. Give suitable reasons for leaving last job.

9. Have there been instances, when your decision was challenged by your colleague or manager?

Yes, there have been many such instances. I like people who challenge my decisions rather than following me blindly. This keeps me ensured that I am surrounded by thinking brains rather than just a set of dumb followers. 
When someone challenges your decisions, you are bound to rethink over it and the chances of reaching the best option are brighter.

10. If you are allowed to change one thing about your last job, what would it be?

I have been working at a senior level since last many years. These roles have always needed me to make real time decisions. Sometimes the facts, figures and other information in real time cases are not complete & still we have to make a decision. In such cases, there exists a probability of making inaccurate decisions.

Knowing this, I usually run down my old decisions to see the outcome. It makes sure that I don’t repeat a mistake ever again in future. While carrying out one such exercise, I realised that the product promotion strategy that I recommended would have been different, if I had had the complete data and figures but there was no way to get them in real time.

11. How long can you commit to work with us?

I like new challenges and a chance to grow. As long I keeping getting these, I don’t think I’ll need to switch over. I’d like to believe that this relationship lasts for many years. However, I haven’t set a time limit as such.

12. You seem to be drawing a good salary. Will you be OK in taking a salary cut?

I believe that at one point of time in career salary becomes secondary and self actualisation become more important. While taking up any new job, it will be my priority to ensure that the work culture, chances to contribute and grow are sufficient along with the money I am paid. I also believe that any good company who cares about its employees ensures that they are paid well.

13. Why do you consider yourself a suitable candidate for this position?

The answer to this question lies in the preparation you did before the interview. It is extremely important that you research the requirements of the position well and match them with your skills.

For e.g. if the position requires an Asp.net developer with good knowledge of health care domain, tell the interviewer about your technical skills and your domain knowledge.

14. What do you do to improve your knowledge?

The field of IT is very revolutionary. It is extremely important to keep yourself abreast with the new technological developments and this needs you to take some time out of your work schedule so that you can keep sharpening your saw.

To answer this question, you can tell the recruiter about the forums which you keep visiting, blogs which you keep reading. It will be an advantage if you are a member of some local user group.

15. Can you perform under pressure?

Most of the times, the job of software development is that of working under pressure. Sometimes, it will be the pressure of delivering on time while it can be that of a bug that has sprung all of a sudden in your code.So, expect pressure in everything you do. It is important to maintain your performance and develop strategies to deliver under pressure. You can then go ahead an talk about your way of dealing with pressure and performing under it.

16. How do you rate your communication skills?

Again, IT is about dealing with people within and out of the company. So, it is important to have good communication skills. By good communication skills we mean, ability to understand and explain in a common language. So, if you believe that your communication skills are weaker, you need to work on them.

Anything less than average or good is not acceptable here.

17. If you were hiring for this position, what qualities would you look for in a potential candidate?

Closely understand the qualities and skills a person holding the position would need and match them with the qualities you have.If you believe that you are missing a big quality required for the position under discussion, say that, “I understand that this is an important quality required in the person holding this position but given a chance, I will inculcate it in me.” Back it up with a confident body language.

18. Do you know anyone who works for us?

Offer some one’s name if they really know you well and can offer a positive feedback about you.

19. Have you ever fired anyone? How would you go about firing a person, if required?

The basic purpose of asking this question is to check your EQ and see if you have the guts to make tough decisions. If you have fired anyone in the past, discuss your experience and approach. If you have never done so in the past, discuss the approach you would take to make and implement such a decision. Keep the focus of your answer on the fact that you would try to do your best to ensure that your team performs to its best but if a particular member is not able to perform even after you taking all the steps to help him, you would make the tough decision to ensure that the project doesn’t suffer.

20. What irritates you about co-workers?

The purpose of this question is to see how well you can fit into a team. Basically, you should not have a problem with a person, although you can have a problem with the style of working.

So, to answer this question you can simply say, “I understand that IT is about team work, so we can’t afford to problems with co-workers but if someone is not serious about their work or does a low quality work affecting the whole project, I definitely do not like it”

21. Is there any particular kind of person you can not work with?

For the reason given in the above questions, the answer to this question should be a “No”. This is basically a different way of putting up the last question.

22. What qualities would you look for in your senior?

You can mention some generic qualities like intelligence, good sense of humour, dedicated to his team etc., which all the managers think that they have in abundance.

23. What motivates you at work?

To answer this question, you can mention things like – new challenges, good environment which all employers think that they offer.

24. Will you be happy to work in night shifts or over the weekends?

You need to answer this question taking into consideration what is suitable for you. Say that you can work in the night shifts, only if you can really do it.

25. Have you ever committed a mistake at work?

To err is human. So, it is perfectly OK if you committed a mistake at work but before answering the question analyse the magnitude of mistake you did and the effect it had on the company.

What is more important is – what did you do to rectify the mistake and make sure that you don’t do it again?

So, mention the mistake you committed and keep the focus of the answer on the steps you took to rectify it.

26. What position would you prefer while working on a project?

This question is for you to answer based on the skills and qualities you have. If you have the capability to handle different positions, discuss that also in the interview.

27. What are the most important things for you as a manager?

The two things which should be most important for a manager to succeed in his role are: 
a.) His team should be happy and keep performing 
b.) The project he is working on with his team is successfully finished with minimum problems.

28. Will you be happy to re-locate, if required?

Again, a question for you to answer based on your position. If you are anticipating this question in the interview, it is better to discuss this with your family also before you go to face the interview.

29. What kind of a salary are you looking for?

Try to put the ball back in interviewer’s court by asking him about the salary they offer for a position like this. Most of the big companies will have a fixed remuneration for each level.

However, if this is negotiable, you will have more negotiation power if you have some work experience. So, know your lower limit (amount below which you can’t go) and also know the maximum salary in the industry for the position then put forward a figure which is not very exact. It is better to mention a range. For e.g. if you are expecting something around 55 K, say that you expect something in mid fifties. Don’t keep the range to broad otherwise you will be offered something towards the lower end.

If you are a fresher, most of the times you will have to accept the company’s offering for the position. However, if you find it too less, you can definitely discuss that during the interview.

30. Discuss the most stressful situation you came across in your previous job.

Here you should discuss a stressful situation that you were able to overcome and keep a positive tone, do not say you never came across a stressful situation. Typical answers can be:

  1. Our team’s targets were increased three fold and initially everyone was overwhelmed by the number, but we discussed it with our manager and he was co-operative and understood the situation. But he wanted us to give it a try and was ready to reduce the targets to a more realistic number.
  2. You can also talk about a very demanding project where you worked for long hours/2 shifts and had to sacrifice on family time, but once the project was done you got recognition for the hard work and you were over the stress.

31. What is your idea of an ideal company?

Do not go over board and ask for , it might give an impression that you are too demanding, some of the answers could be:

  1. An ideal company provides maximum opportunities for growth of employees. 
  2. They provide comfortable and flexible work environment, so that employees can perform at their best and work towards company’s benefit.
  3. A company that encourages learning 
  4. A company that encourages open culture

32. Tell us something about your achievements at your previous job.

  1. Talk about your professional acheivements, if you were recognised as a high performer or you got good feedback from your manager
  2. You can also discuss you annual ratings 
  3. Discuss your promotions/appraisals

33. Tell us what do you know about our company

  1. Browse through the company website and make sure you know what the company does and make sure you do so in short
  2. Discuss the positives aspects of the company, the interviewer should feel that you have done your home work

34. Can you work independently?

  1. Yes, I can work independently without supervision or support from a team
  2. Do not emphasize on working independently as that will be seen as an inability to work with others.

35. Are you planning to go for further studies?

Be transparent in your answer. 

  1. If you are pursuing further studies, say so. Tell them why you want to go for that course
  2. If you are taking up a distance education course or a part time course, they should know, as you will need to take leaves when you appear for exams

36. Tell us something about your hobbies

Answer it with honesty, as they can go deeper into this discussion. You can include:

  1. Browsing the internet
  2. Blogging, 
  3. Listening to music, 
  4. Chatting with friends 
  5. Reading newspapers, 
  6. Reading books, 
  7. Shopping, 
  8. Watching movies….

37. What is more important to you money or success?

This is tricky question, as money and success both are important and you cannot outweigh the importance of one over the other. Personally you might prefer money over success or success over money, but it is better to be neutral when answering this question in an interview:
You can say, that money and success both are important for you, but if you have to choose you would choose success. The reason being, if one is successful money often follows and you need not focus on money over succes

38. What are your greatest strengths?

Answer:  Number of answers are good to give, but in positive manner. Some good instances are:
About your problem solving skills, ability to work hard, professional expertise, leadership skills, positive attitude etc.
 

39. Do you have any blind spots?

Answer: Disguise your strength as a weakness. Beware this is an eliminator question, designed to shorten the candidate list.
 

40. Describe your management style?

Answer: Tell about some common labels as  progressive or consensus etc. can have several meanings or descriptions depending on which management expert you listen to. The situational style is safe, and fits to all.

41. How would you be an asset to our organization?

Answer:  Highlight and let them know about your strengths. This is the exact question where you can win their heart and with confidence.

42. Do you have any questions for me?

Answer:  Always have some questions prepared for the interviewer. How soon will I be able to be join? 

43. Has there been a time when you went beyond your job role? How did you take up the challenge?

Answer: This question aims to see, if you are happy to extend yourself beyond your regular job or do you like to perform only a given set of activities. This is also a test of your flexibility.

Explain about how you went about doing that “extra” thing focussing on its effect on the organization.

For e.g. “I have been working in my current company for last 4 years, so I know the business pretty well. Whenever there’s a new initiative required to be taken in the business, I am one of the very first choices of the top management. Some time back the company decided to start a new department whose responsibility will be to attract new customers. Initially it was to be done on the trial basis and I was given the responsibility to perform this trial. I could do it successfully, without much assistance from the seniors. Today, this department has 5 employees working in it and the business has grown up by 40%.”   

44. Describe your work life as a “news headline”. Why would it be so?

Answer: Prima facie this may look like a question testing your creative skills but don’t go by the looks of it. This is the twisted form of our traditional question – Tell us something about yourself. So, define your work life and provide it a good heading. Sum up the factors that make you choose the heading.

45. Have you ever been in a situation where significant change was made to your team, department or organisation? How did you adjust?

Answer: The purpose of this question is to check your adaptability and flexibility. Did you feel victimized?

Answer this question by mentioning the change that was made but the main focus should be on how you adjusted in that situation and the results you achieved afterwards.

For example you can say something like, “Being an early joiner in the marketing team, I opened a lot of new customer accounts. Over the time the team grew and we had more people in the team opening more accounts. At one point of time, we had to re-distribute the accounts area wise so that a particular territory can be allotted to each one of us. This re-distribution meant loss of my high performing accounts and a requirement to develop new accounts in the assigned territory. Initially, it looked difficult but I could understand the need for this re-distribution and saw more opportunities for the company and myself. I introduced my colleagues to the old accounts I held and started strategizing for better ways to tap the new territory. Within 6 months, I could develop 50 new accounts with the help of new strategy. Usually we would achieve this result in 9 months to a year.”

46. What makes you angry?

Avoid giving any specific reason for you getting angry. Say that it's a general tendency of a human being and you are no exception. You do get angry but you don't go out of control.

47. Why aren’t you earning more money at this stage of your career?

You can say that you have this concern and you yourself have asked this question to you. But reassure that you are not bogged down as you have vivid experience and you can cash it on any time.

48. Have you ever given a feedback on anyone’s poor performance?

It may look like the interviewer is trying to judge your back-biting habit but the real purpose of the question is to see if you take proactive measures in things which you think may harm the company and inform the stakeholders.

49. Has there been any chance when your boss was not very happy with your performance?

Not being able to perform well on certain things is not a problem. The purpose here is to see what did you do about your poor performance? Were you able to analyse the reasons for your poor performance? How did you deal with them?

A person who can assess his own performance is a great asset for a manager. Discuss about how you analysed your performance and took corrective actions – to answer this question.

50. You’ve been with your firm a long time. Won’t it be hard switching to a new company?

You have to highlight that you tackled, faced, adapted and conquered to changing conditions at your present firm. Since you have held with many different responsibilities and adapted easily, you don't see any objection in thriving to new challenging environment.

51. May I contact your present employer for a reference?

You can say that you have no objection for this but express your concern that it would be better if you could do it after arriving some sort of agreement.

You can even be honest in stating that your present employer is not aware of you hunting and you would appreciate to have any contact with them after having arrived some sort of agreement.

52. How do you feel about reporting to a younger person (minority, woman, etc)?

You can say that you always prefer to work in the environment where hires and promotes are done on merit alone. The age (gender, race, etc.) of the person would certainly make no difference to you. You believe that anyone who is entrusted with certain job must have earned it.

53. How could you have improved your career progress?

State that you are quite happy with your career progress barring few mistakes that could be avoided. Highlight some of mistakes you committed and how you have rectified them. While answering, you should take all responsibilities for where you are, how you’ve gotten there, where you are going…and you harbor no regrets.

54. Who has inspired you in your life and why?

There are many stalwart that inspire you. You believe in learning from everyone. Every person has some unique qualities that can inspire. One needs to explore and extract those qualities from everyone.

55. What was the toughest decision you ever had to make?

Be prepared with a good example, explaining why the decision was difficult, the process you followed in reaching it and the courageous or effective way you carried it out.

56. Are you applying for other jobs?

This is most typical questions that every recruiters will ask you at an job interview. You should try to match this answer to your resume and cover letter. You can ref sample of interview answers, job interview tips …as follows:

1. Answer structure

Answer: I am sending my application letter to A company and your company, I am interested in working here because of:

List 3 reasons.

2. Answer tips

  • Be honest but do not spend a lot of time in this area.
  • Keep the focus on this job and what you can do for this organization. Anything else is a distraction.
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