Finding an HR manager that's the 'right' fit for a company is one of the most crucial decisions a management team can make.

Responsible for the overall strategic direction of HR policy and recruitment, the occupant of an HR manager job has a great deal of influence on cultural values as well as issues such as pay, benefits and work-life balance.

How to prepare for an HR manager job interview

  • Plan ahead and carve out sufficient time to do some research on the company, its values and the way in which it interacts with its staff.
  • Find out as much as possible about the company, its policies, and services. The more knowledge about a particular business, the better – this knowledge can help prepare interviewees for possible scenario questions.
  • Always be familiar with the job description and understand the responsibilities and requirements associated with the HR manager role for the company in question. Take the time to read over the CV to ensure that any answers during the interview match with the credentials provided.
  • As with any job interview, it is essential to arrive a little early – no more than ten minutes – and dress in a smart, professional manner. Always offer a confident smile, direct eye contact, and a firm handshake upon meeting any interviewers. This is typical advice, but is especially important for HR managers, who often represent a business in a variety of situations.

Further information for HR manager candidates

An appropriately qualified HR manager has a professional demeanour and plenty of experience in a wide variety of human resource disciplines including, but not limited to: recruiting, benefits, HR development, and employee relations. Those candidates with formal HR training, education, and certification are often favoured.

The way in which an HR manager interacts with employees and management is critical. Ideal HR managers will need to exhibit strong communication skills, compassion, integrity, and leadership. The position requires both analytical and critical thinking skills while at the same time remaining approachable as they are often the liaison between management and employees and therefore support the entire workforce.

As with any job interview, the key to success is the level of preparedness. HR manager candidates should be prepared to answer typical interview questions as well as those tailored to the position. It is also an excellent idea to have some relevant questions for the interviewers.

Interview questions

Part of landing a job requires candidates to perform well during the interview and offer solid, intelligent responses.

Responses to interview questions allow hiring managers to understand how a candidate will handle challenges within the HR department. Here are some questions that may be asked:

Top 10 HR Manager interview questions

  1. Tell us a little bit about your previous work experience as an HR manager.
  2. Describe your system for prioritising HR projects. What HR discipline do you think is the most important?
  3. How do you motivate your HR employees?
  4. How many people have you supervised at one time?
  5. How long were you their supervisor?
  6. Did you have the sole responsibility of hiring and firing individuals?
  7. Describe how you were able to assess the success of the HR department and employee relations at your last job.
  8. What is your management style?
  9. How do you get your employees to cooperate?
  10. What makes a good leader?

General interview questions

  • What are some of your strengths?
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • How would you describe yourself professionally?
  • What are your reasons for leaving your previous/present job?           
  • What is your favourite aspect of HR?
  • How do you remain abreast of new developments in technology?
  • Why should we hire you?
  • Have you got any questions?

Scenario interview questions

  • You’ve recently discovered that a HR department employee has been discussing confidential information with employees outside of the department. What steps would you take to address this issue?

  • Describe an instance in which you handled an employee grievance that resulted in a better working relationship?
  • A member of staff is accused of harassment. How do you deal with this issue and maintain alignment with best practice?