interview advice for Temporary Human Resources jobs

As a temp, the most important thing to demonstrate at your HR job interview is that you can hit the ground running.  So expect to be quizzed on all that you can bring to the position from your personal qualities to your previous experience, knowledge and skills.

The key to interview success is preparation, enthusiasm and quantifying your experience. It's not enough to say you have the ability to do the job, you must prove that you can do the job. Make sure you read the job spec a few times so you're aware of the responsibilities you’ll hold if you’re successful.  Then think how you can demonstrate you possess the skills needed for the position, with examples of when you’ve previously performed these duties.
Preparing how you'd answer questions such as these, will help you achieve a successful interview:

about the position and your experience

• Why are you interested in this job?
• Could you give me an overview of your previous position, highlighting aspects that are relevant to this role?
• Give an overview of your day-to-day duties in your last position
• Can you clarify the dates that you were employed in your last role?
• What aspects of your last position challenged you the most?
• What would you be remembered for in your previous role?
• What do you believe to be the core competencies of this job?
• When have you worked as part of a team?
• Tell me about a time when you’ve had to use your initiative?
• What is your greatest career achievement?
• What has been the greatest challenge that you’ve faced?
• What has been the most challenging situation that you’ve had to deal with, within a work environment?
• Tell me about a time when a lack of communication or a miscommunication resulted in a problem
• Describe a time when you’ve made a mistake.  How did you rectify and overcome this?  What lessons did you learn?
• Provide an example of a project that hasn’t quite gone to plan.  What was the end result?
• How would you ensure effective communication within your team and the business?
• Give an example of when you’ve had to prioritise your work?
• How would you prioritise your work if you have a number of jobs to do, but all with the same deadline?
• How would you prioritise your work, without offending the most senior person that you work for?
• Describe a new procedure/policy that you’ve implemented in a previous role
• What would you do if a member of staff tendered their resignation to you?

about yourself

• Can you confirm your qualifications and grade result from school/college/university
• How would your last manager/team describe you?
• Do you think that you need any further training to do this job?
• What type of person do you find hard/difficult to work with?  How do you then deal with people with these qualities?
• Describe the working environment that you work most productively in.
• What’s your greatest attribute?
• What are your strengths?
• What are your weaknesses?  (Try to turn these into positives)
• Why did you leave your last position? (Turn any negatives into a positive)
• What have you been doing since your last job?
• Why do you have a particular gap in your CV?
• Where you do you see yourself in 3/5/10 years?
• What are your motivations?  (Try to give career orientated answers – good experience, exposure, career progression, rather than monetary ones – salary, bonus)

Depending on the role you’re interviewing for, you may also be asked:

• Tell us about your management style
• How do you manage a team?
• How do you instil a team mentality in the people that work for you?
• How would you develop and progress your team?
• A member of your team is underperforming.  How would you address this and work towards improving their performance?  What would you do if, after a designated period of time, their performance didn’t improve
• Have you ever had to discipline a member of staff before?  How did you handle the procedure?  Were you met with any complications?
• What is the most difficult ER situation that you’ve had to deal with?
• Tell me about a time when a policy for equality has been ignored.  How was the situation resolved?
• How would you design and deliver a change in company policy to the business?
• How would you communicate a redundancy/contract termination to the business?
• Have you ever led a department to restructure?  Or had to change the role of an employee?  How did you go about tackling these tasks?  How did your employees respond?

questions about the company

Interviewers want to be sure you have an understanding of their company's operations and culture, as well as the specific department and position you're applying for. You must do extensive research on any organisation you interview with and be aware of their products, services, reputation, business principles, mission statement, competitors, culture and history.  The more you know, the greater your interest and enthusiasm for working there will come across.
• What do you know about this company?
• What can you bring to this organisation?
• Are there any aspects of the job that concern you?

Good luck!