These CHRO interview questions are directly sourced from real hiring managers and they are ready to use.
Make sure that you are interviewing the best CHRO candidates. Sign up for Workable’s 15-day free trial to hire better, faster.
8 good CHRO interview questions
- What does “culture” mean?
- How have you measured company culture in the past?
- Do we have a differentiated culture?
- How many cultures do you see our company representing?
- What should be HR’s top priority at this company?
- What are your top three people initiatives for the year?
- Discuss your relationship with the CEO and other members of the executive team.
- Give me an example of when you had to comply with a policy that you didn’t agree with.
Here are 8 essential interview questions with sample answers to help you identify the best candidates for this role.
1. What does “culture” mean?
Culture refers to the shared values, beliefs, and practices within an organization.
“To me, ‘culture’ signifies the collective mindset and behaviors of an organization. It’s the unwritten code that guides how employees interact, make decisions, and approach their work.”
2. How have you measured company culture in the past?
Understanding the metrics and methods used to gauge culture can provide insights into a CHRO’s approach.
“I’ve used a combination of employee engagement surveys, feedback sessions, and attrition rates to measure company culture. These tools help identify areas of strength and opportunities for improvement.”
3. Do we have a differentiated culture?
This question assesses the candidate’s perception of the company’s unique cultural attributes.
“From my observations, your company has a culture that emphasizes innovation and collaboration, setting it apart from many traditional firms.”
4. How many cultures do you see our company representing?
This question delves into the candidate’s understanding of diversity and inclusion.
“While the company has a unified organizational culture, it’s evident that there’s a rich tapestry of sub-cultures representing various departments, geographies, and backgrounds.”
5. What should be HR’s top priority at this company?
Understanding the candidate’s vision for HR’s role can be telling.
“HR’s top priority should be aligning talent management strategies with business goals, ensuring that the company has the right people in the right roles to drive growth.”
6. What are your top three people initiatives for the year?
This question seeks to understand the candidate’s strategic priorities.
“My top three initiatives would be enhancing leadership development programs, implementing a more robust diversity and inclusion strategy, and optimizing talent acquisition processes.”
7. Discuss your relationship with the CEO and other members of the executive team.
The CHRO’s relationship with top executives is crucial for HR’s success.
“I’ve always maintained a collaborative relationship with CEOs and executive teams, ensuring that HR’s strategies align with overall business objectives and that we’re addressing leadership’s primary concerns.”
8. Give me an example of when you had to comply with a policy that you didn’t agree with.
This question tests the candidate’s adaptability and professionalism.
“At a previous company, there was a hiring freeze policy I didn’t agree with. However, I understood the financial rationale behind it and worked within those constraints, focusing on internal talent development.”
What does a good CHRO candidate look like?
A standout CHRO candidate is more than just an experienced HR professional. They are strategic visionaries who understand the intricate balance between business objectives and human capital. A strong CHRO candidate will have a proven track record of aligning HR initiatives with business goals, driving organizational change, and fostering a culture of continuous learning and innovation. They should be adept at leveraging data analytics to make informed decisions and predict future HR trends.
In terms of interpersonal skills, an ideal CHRO will be an exceptional communicator, able to articulate complex HR strategies to other members of the executive team and ensure that these strategies resonate throughout all levels of the organization. Their leadership style should be both empathetic and decisive, recognizing the value of diverse perspectives while also being able to make tough decisions when necessary.
Furthermore, given the evolving nature of the workplace, a top-tier CHRO candidate should demonstrate a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. They should have experience implementing D&I initiatives and show a genuine passion for creating an inclusive work environment where all employees feel valued and heard.
Lastly, their relationship with other executives, especially the CEO, is crucial. A good CHRO will have experience collaborating closely with executive peers, acting as both a sounding board and a strategic partner. They should be seen as a trusted advisor, someone who brings a unique, people-focused perspective to high-level business discussions.
Lack of strategic vision: If a candidate focuses solely on tactical HR tasks without discussing broader strategic initiatives, it might indicate a lack of experience or vision necessary for a CHRO role.
Poor communication skills: A CHRO needs to communicate complex ideas clearly. If they struggle to articulate their thoughts during the interview or don’t engage effectively with different stakeholders, it’s a concern.
No emphasis on data: Modern CHROs leverage data to make informed decisions. A lack of familiarity or emphasis on HR analytics can be a significant gap.
Limited D&I experience: In today’s globalized world, a CHRO without a strong background in diversity and inclusion initiatives might not be equipped to handle the complexities of a diverse workforce.
Overemphasis on past achievements: While past successes are essential, a candidate who doesn’t show a forward-thinking mindset or a willingness to adapt to new challenges might struggle in a dynamic business environment.
Tense past executive relationships: If a candidate hints at strained relationships with past CEOs or executive teams, it might indicate potential collaboration issues in the future.
When considering a CHRO candidate, it’s essential to look beyond their resume and assess their vision, adaptability, and how they approach the ever-evolving challenges in the HR landscape.