25 engaging HR interview questions to ask job applicants 

25 engaging HR interview questions to ask job applicants 

To choose the best candidate for your HR department, you need to assess their skills accurately and objectively. The best way to do this is to:

  • Use an HR Fundamentals test to screen applicants and identify who has the ideal skills for the role
  • Interview shortlisted candidates to find the perfect fit

The second step requires asking the right questions during interviews, in which you may discuss your applicants’ work experience, skills, and current HR knowledge. When you interview HR applicants, you should also focus on their personality traits and goals. 

Plus, finding a potential employee for the human resources department requires more extensive questions to evaluate their leadership potential. We have created a list you can refer to when planning your interviews.

Try out skills-based recruitment with a free TestGorilla account

25 top interview questions to hire HR candidates

This article provides 25 engaging HR interview questions to ask candidates, along with explanations about why they’re important. 

1.What is your understanding of the human resources department? 

It’s important to hire applicants with the right HR knowledge and experience. Determining their level of knowledge before moving them to the next stage in your hiring process is crucial. 

Even though this question might seem straightforward, not all candidates will give the same answer, but skilled candidates will draw upon their experience and provide examples of what the HR department does.

Candidates may also do research on HR. For example, they could state that human resource job openings will increase by 8% over the next 5-10 years. This knowledge represents their understanding of HR and why it is important. 

2. Why do you want to work in HR? 

Candidates should give an honest answer regarding their current career path. Their response can help you determine whether they’re serious about working in the human resources department. Do they want to gain work experience? Are they eager to develop their skills in an HR position? 

It’s worth giving them an HR Management test beforehand to see whether candidates have the right leadership skills to drive positive outcomes for employees, teams, and the organization as a whole. 

3. What do you think makes a successful team? 

These types of questions will give you insight into the candidate’s view on collaboration. How they respond will give you a clear indication of whether they can work in a small or large team. It’s also an excellent insight into their personality. 

For example, if the candidate believes honesty makes a successful team, this shows they are transparent. 

Since understanding more about their most prominent personality traits is also crucial in the hiring process, and can help you learn how candidates work with others to make a  successful team, asking questions such as this one is important. 

4. Why do you want to work for our company?

Like with question two, the candidate can explain their reasoning for applying for your open position but this time, it’s more about your company and why they want to join the HR team. 

Their answer will determine how much research they’ve done on your company beforehand. If they know enough, this shows they’re passionate about getting the role. 

5. What do you enjoy most about HR?

Candidates should have the opportunity to talk about their interests. Get them to open up by asking what they enjoy most about HR. Asking more personal questions will allow their personalities to shine through, especially if they’re passionate about their chosen career path.

6. How would your current or previous manager describe you?

You can easily tell whether candidates answer this question honestly or not. They might not speak the whole truth if they only say positive things, which is why you should listen for responses that describe positive and negative traits. 

After the interview, if the candidate has impressed you, you could also call or email their reference contacts from previous jobs to see if previous managers have a similar viewpoint. 

7. How do you ensure your team members work together well? 

If you want to see how the candidate responds to different scenarios in an HR work environment, ask them questions that require a strategic response. 

If they take too long or simply don’t have the right answer, it’s clear that they may need more practice before accepting a management-level HR role. 

8. Tell me about your ideal recruiting approach.

Common duties in HR involve screening candidates and managing talent. Not having the right experience or knowledge can make it difficult to complete these tasks. The candidate should have their own ideas on how to perform key HR responsibilities and improve the overall hiring process in your company. 

9. How have you handled conflict in teams before?

This question enables you to determine whether the candidate is a true team player. Do they have experience with managing teams? Are they good at de-escalating confrontations? 

If the candidate gives a detailed example of how they have dealt with conflict in the past, it’s a strong indication that they have the experience required to work in the human resources department. 

Over 36% of employees deal with conflict regularly, so it’s important that HR professionals have the knowledge and motivation to resolve disagreements. 

Before the interview, you could give each candidate a Problem-solving test. This comprehensive skills test evaluates their ability to respond to different issues – and tackle workplace conflicts successfully.

10. What is your ideal HR work environment? 

Candidates should know exactly what they want from an HR job. Their answer about their ideal work environment can tell you whether they’ll be a suitable addition to your company. 

Let’s look at one example: Your company has an office but the candidate prefers working remotely. If you don’t offer remote work, this candidate will obviously not be a great fit for the specific role. 

11. In your opinion, what trends will change human resources the most? 

Candidates who have extensive knowledge of industry trends are more likely to be prepared for an HR role. They might have different approaches to staying up to date with recent developments and managing the impact they might have on their future career path. 

Don’t be afraid to question them more about specific trends and consider how they do their own research. You may also ask additional questions to learn what they are hoping to see next in the HR industry. 

There are no right or wrong answers, but candidates who don’t have an answer at all might not be ready for this demanding role.

12. Can you describe your management style? 

Even if the candidate isn’t applying for an HR manager role, it’s still worth asking about their management preferences. You’ll be able to judge whether they’d be interested in future management roles and how they might lead teams. 

Some candidates may also inquire about the possibility to receive additional management training in the future. This desire to improve tells you about their long-term goals and how they wish to progress in your company. 

13. Do you have experience with using HR software systems? 

Most HR roles require knowledge of software management systems, whether that’s to document employee information or automate payroll. Even though training is available, candidates who know more about HR software are more likely to have relevant work experience. 

You could use skill tests before the interviews to evaluate that. Some of the tests you could use include Microsoft Outlook for professional emailing or Microsoft Excel for creating payroll sheets and managing employee timetables. 

14. Can you tell me about a time you were under pressure in HR?

Working well under pressure is a strong indication that the candidate can overcome challenges in HR. You should ask for specific examples of how they managed talent or strengthened professional relationships in the company. 

This question may only apply to those who have experience working in HR. Ask those who don’t about the challenges they’ve faced in other relevant jobs. It’s important to know whether they have strong time management skills

15. Tell me about the achievements you’re most proud of.

Candidates need time to express themselves in an interview. They should use this question to discuss their achievements and what they’re proud of. Do they have a favorite project? Are their achievements relevant to HR?

This is an excellent opportunity to gain a sense of their personalities. 

16. What experience do you have with leading project teams? 

A conversation about work experience can help you determine whether the candidate is suitable for your company. Leading a team is an essential part of HR, helping HR staff maintain interpersonal relationships across the human resources department. 

Since 2020, there have been leadership development gaps, with over 10% of current leaders feeling overwhelmed. Therefore, you should hire an HR professional who can take on the many challenges of employee management. 

Consider sending each candidate a Leadership and People Management test before the interview. You can discover which candidate has the strongest leadership skills and experience working with larger teams. 

17. How would you enforce key policies in the company?

Asking questions related to practical responsibilities could help you judge the candidate’s ability to think fast and create effective solutions. As they respond, consider whether they have employee needs at the forefront of their mind.

HR usually handles company policies and procedures, so it’s important to emphasize this responsibility in the interview. 

18. What perks and benefits do you think could keep employees engaged? 

This is another question that will get the candidate thinking. Putting them on the spot helps them to focus and think of a solution quickly. If applicants believe employee engagement is important in a company, they won’t take long to think of valuable workplace perks. 

Candidates who suggest wellness programs and employee recognition may care more about mental health in the company. Others who mention recognition awards might focus on positive work culture instead. 

19. What are some ways you could help our company grow in the next year?

Hiring candidates who don’t try to reinforce positive changes may be a huge mistake. You should ask about their career goals and how they want to make a difference in your company. 

For example, a candidate might be passionate about providing employees with an adequate home-office budget to enable employees to have a flexible working schedule and work remotely on certain days. 

Candidates who have plans and creative ideas can change your processes in the best ways. 

20. Describe your ideal company culture.

Company culture is the shared values, goals, and practices among employees. If your candidate’s vision is not aligned with your organization’s, they might not be a suitable fit for an HR role. 

The candidate’s expectations should match your company’s culture. Could they get along with other employees? Are they dedicated to improving the human resources department? What kind of environment are they hoping to work in? 

And if you want to assess your candidate’s values before the interview, consider our Culture-add test.

21. Can you name a technology that could improve the recruiting process?

Not all candidates will know about the latest software tools in HR, but it’s a huge plus if they stay up to date with recent developments in HR tech. Asking this question can test their knowledge of HR technology and how they would use it in their role. 

Candidates who give specific examples and detailed answers may be more prepared for work in HR. 

22. How would you find candidates with the right skills? 

Talent management is a big responsibility in HR. Candidates who are determined to get the role should know about skill gaps and effective recruiting strategies. Are they able to analyze and understand the required skills for different jobs? How would they identify talent when hiring for your company? 

23. How do you find the motivation to complete tasks? 

Motivation is something that candidates need not only during the hiring process but also (and especially) when they’re hired. From an interview, you can tell whether they’re committed to getting the job.

Research suggests that only 15% of employees worldwide feel motivated. This low figure means many employees are suffering from fatigue and procrastination. 

However, it’s easy to lose motivation once you actually start working. Ask the candidate how they maintain their productivity when faced with complicated tasks. Do they take regular breaks? Are they constantly setting targets? 

To see whether candidates’ motivation aligns with what your company has to offer, you can ask them to take a Motivation test.

24. Name some skills you wish to learn in this role.

Skill development is necessary for every candidate as they may not have every required skill. For example, they might want to improve their cognitive abilities or get better at solving conflicts. 

The candidate should always be honest about what they want to learn, even if it’s basic skills like problem-solving or time management. You can use their answer to determine whether you have the right training programs for their needs. 

25. How would you contribute to a strong employer brand? 

Employer branding is very important for attracting skilled candidates and involves emphasizing your goals and values to boost the company’s reputation. A candidate seeking to work for your company may have ideas on how you can improve your brand – if they do, they may be an asset to your team. 

They don’t need to give detailed answers, but it might be interesting to see how they envision boosting your company’s reputation in the long term. 

For what kind of roles can you use these HR interview questions?

Which roles can you use these HR interview questions?

You can use these interview questions for all kinds of HR roles, such as: 

  • HR managers
  • HR specialists
  • Employment specialists
  • Recruiters
  • Training experts, and more

Certain questions might suit managerial jobs better, depending on the type of work experience you’re after. Aim to use five to ten questions if you want the candidate to express themselves freely. 

Hire the best talent for your company using our HR interview questions and skill assessments 

You have the questions for your interview, but what’s next?

Before arranging your interviews with candidates, send them relevant tests to assess their skills and knowledge. TestGorilla has an extensive test library containing professional assessments for any role. 

In HR, you can use specialized tests, such as our HR Management or HR Fundamentals tests, but you might also want to focus on broader skills such as attention to detail or computer literacy

Using these tests can help you choose the most promising candidates. Narrowing down the list of candidates with this method will save you time during the hiring process. 

That’s all there is to know when seeking candidates for an HR role. Search through TestGorilla’s test library for suitable tests and use the questions here to prepare for your interviews.

Hire the best candidates
with TestGorilla.

Create pre-employment assessments in minutes to screen candidates, save time, and hire the best talent.

Try for free

The best advice in pre-employment testing, in your inbox.

No spam. Unsubscribe at any time.

Hire the best. No bias. No stress.

Our screening tests identify the best candidates and make your hiring decisions faster, easier, and bias-free.

Try for free

Free resources