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HR Specialist interview questions and answers

These sample HR Specialist interview questions can help you assess and screen candidates when hiring for senior-level positions in your Human Resources department.

Christina Pavlou
Christina Pavlou

An experienced recruiter and HR professional who has transferred her expertise to insightful content to support others in HR.

HR Specialist interview questions

10 good HR specialist interview questions

  1. What would you include in a parental leave company policy?
  2. What information would you use to create a quarterly forecast of our hiring needs?
  3. What benefits would you suggest offering to help improve our employees’ work/life balance?
  4. What online campaigns would you implement to boost our employer brand?
  5. What Human Resources software have you used?
  6. Describe a successful onboarding process for new hires.
  7. What are the best methods to evaluate salespeople’s performance?
  8. How do you calculate different turnover rates?
  9. How do you make sure employees understand and abide by company policies?
  10. Have you ever faced regulatory issues at work? If so, how did you handle them?

Here are 10 essential interview questions and sample answers to help identify the best candidates for this role.

1. What would you include in a parental leave company policy?

This question assesses the candidate’s understanding of employee benefits and legal compliance related to parental leave.

Sample answer:

“I would include the duration of the leave, eligibility criteria, the process for applying for leave, and how the leave would impact various employee benefits.”

2. What information would you use to create a quarterly forecast of our hiring needs?

This question evaluates the candidate’s ability to use data and analytics for workforce planning.

Sample answer:

“I would analyze current staffing levels, turnover rates, and upcoming projects to forecast hiring needs.”

3. What benefits would you suggest offering to help improve our employees’ work/life balance?

This question gauges the candidate’s understanding of employee engagement and retention strategies.

Sample answer:

“I would suggest flexible working hours, remote work options, and wellness programs.”

4. What online campaigns would you implement to boost our employer brand?

This question tests the candidate’s knowledge of digital marketing strategies relevant to HR.

Sample answer:

“I would implement a social media campaign showcasing employee testimonials and a behind-the-scenes look at the company culture.”

5. What Human Resources software have you used?

This question assesses the candidate’s familiarity with HR tools and software.

Sample answer:

“I have experience with Workday for payroll processing and BambooHR for performance evaluation.”

6. Describe a successful onboarding process for new hires.

This question evaluates the candidate’s ability to integrate new employees into the company effectively.

Sample answer:

“A successful onboarding process involves a mix of formal orientation, job-specific training, and social integration activities.”

7. What are the best methods to evaluate salespeople’s performance?

This question tests the candidate’s understanding of performance evaluation methods specific to sales roles.

Sample answer:

“The best methods include tracking key performance indicators like sales revenue, customer acquisition, and customer retention rates.”

8. How do you calculate different turnover rates?

This question assesses the candidate’s analytical skills and understanding of HR metrics.

Sample answer:

“I calculate turnover rates by dividing the number of departures by the average number of employees, multiplied by 100.”

9. How do you make sure employees understand and abide by company policies?

This question evaluates the candidate’s communication and policy enforcement skills.

Sample answer:

“I ensure understanding through regular training sessions and make sure to follow up with assessments or quizzes.”

10. Have you ever faced regulatory issues at work? If so, how did you handle them?

This question tests the candidate’s problem-solving skills and understanding of labor laws.

Sample answer:

“I faced an issue regarding overtime pay. I consulted the Fair Labor Standards Act and worked with legal counsel to resolve the issue.”

What does a good HR specialist candidate look like?

A good HR Specialist candidate is not only well-versed in HR functions but also possesses strong communication skills, analytical abilities, and a deep understanding of labor laws and company policies.

Red flags

Be cautious of candidates who lack certifications, have poor communication skills, or show a lack of interest in continuous learning.



HR Specialist Interview Questions

HR Specialists oversee all Human Resources operations, including compensation and benefits, performance reviews and employee development.

Candidates for this role usually have an extensive background in HR departments along with relevant certifications (e.g. BSc in Human Resources Management or CIPD qualification.) They should also be familiar with labor legislation. If the role involves administration of insurance plans, consider asking simple questions about healthcare coverage or similar benefits to test candidates’ knowledge.

As with all HR roles, opt for candidates with good people skills. Your future hires will communicate with various internal teams and external partners, so they’ll need to be both professional and pleasant. If the position requires managing a team, evaluate candidates’ leadership skills, as well.

Let’s summarize some of the questions and add a few more divided into specific types.

Operational and Situational questions

  • What would you include in a parental leave company policy?
  • What information would you use to create a quarterly forecast of our hiring needs?
  • What benefits would you suggest offering to help improve our employees’ work/life balance, but maintain each team’s productivity?
  • What online campaigns would you implement to boost our employer brand?

Role-specific questions

  • What Human Resources software have you used? (e.g. for payroll processing and performance evaluation)
  • Describe a successful onboarding process for new hires.
  • What are the best methods to evaluate salespeople’s performance?
  • How do you calculate different turnover rates? (e.g. employees who leave within their first year vs. employees who have been with the company for more than one year.)

Behavioral questions

  • How do you make sure employees understand and abide by company policies? Describe a situation where you had to manage one or more employees who didn’t conform to a company policy.
  • Describe a time you successfully resolved differences between an employee and upper-level management.
  • Have you ever faced regulatory issues at work? (e.g. regarding overtime pay or employee classifications) If so, how did you handle them?
  • What resources do you use to stay up-to-date with changes in labor laws?

Frequently asked questions

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