Why do you need to take your HR interview seriously?
Many professionals imagine their interviewer as a specialist in the specific area of work they are applying for – someone who is going to ask them a lot of technical questions about the position.
However, they will most likely also have to deal with an HR professional, who presents a different perspective, but one that still needs to be taken seriously. We explain how and why:
Generally, professional interviewers can be divided into two categories: managers of the area in question, and managers of human resources.
Managers in a specific area are usually specialists in the position for which they are recruiting, so their questions during an interview tend to be more technical or operational in nature.
HR professionals, on the other hand, are more interested in corporate values and culture, so they will look for empathy in the candidate, good relationship skills, and other types of transferable skills.
Given that many candidates do not consider the HR interview as a test of their technical knowledge, and they know that it is carried out by someone who does not understand the specifics of the position itself;
they may be tempted to devalue it and see this as a mere formality, giving it less importance than the rest.
However, there are excellent reasons to take the role of HR manager as seriously as the rest, and to be prepared for the various types of questions in these two different interview models.
The importance of performing well in the interview with the HR manager
In some companies, the human resources interview is carried out before the interview with the manager of the area of the position to be filled.
This means that the opinion of HR can have a great influence in the next phase, especially if the HR interviewer is a senior member of the company, or has influence and credibility in the company.
Likewise, the managers of the different areas often ask their human resources colleagues for help to decide between candidates with similar profiles and knowledge.
In this situation, other aspects of the personality, as well as the soft skills of the candidate, become extremely important – from their ability to integrate easily into the work team, to their way of fitting in with company values and culture.
Also, any formal conversation with a representative of an organization you would like to work for should always be treated with care and respect, as you never know how that conversation will be conveyed and used internally.
In companies in which the head of human resources is very involved with the business, and has a more practical perspective, he or she can have a power of negative influence in relation to a candidate who;
although technically competent, considers that he has not demonstrated enough chemistry in interviews.
Another aspect to keep in mind is that many managers in specific areas are trained to ask questions of the same type as those of human resources;
so in the absence of an HR specialist professional, their perspective will surely be represented.
In these situations, your search and selection consultant can increase value and make a difference:
A good consultant will know the companies they work with and will understand the different attitudes and potential influence of the HR figure in each one.
Get ready for two different question styles
HR interviews tend to be conducted based on company values, while interviews with area-specific managers are more focused on operational and competitive issues.
So, it is very important to adapt the answers to the two types of interview.
Think of an area manager as someone who has already done the job you’re applying for, and now manages their successors.
They are the ones who know best all aspects of the job itself, and are most interested in the details and processes of the position.
The human resources manager, on the other hand, sees the possible integration of the candidate in the general picture of the company. Will it integrate well with the corporate culture?
Will you support its values? Will you have the ability to develop and grow within the company and perhaps help other people develop?
Will he feel happy and fulfilled with the type of work that the company offers him?
The area manager will want to go directly to the position details. On the other hand, with the human resources manager you can expect a more focused perspective on your soft skills and transferable aptitudes.
In this context, you should be prepared for several questions such as: “Why are you interested in our company?”,
“What do you know about our business?”, or “What kind of skills can you bring to the company to add value? ”
Candidates interviewing with an HR professional should also prepare for more competency-focused questions.
On some occasions they use the STAR technique, for example: “Comment a time when you experienced a conflict at work and explain how you dealt with that situation.”
These types of questions sometimes put candidates in a difficult situation, since they cannot be answered in a simple way.
Therefore, you should always try to anticipate these types of scenarios that may arise, and have a response prepared.
Finally, we advise that the human resources interview not be used to negotiate the benefits package or the contract itself: if you have questions regarding compensation, bonuses, job title, career progression, promotions, etc.
Ask your recruiter beforehand for more details. In this way, the person who is managing your application will be able to convey your interests in the best possible way.
It is worth taking the interview phase with HR managers seriously – it is an excellent opportunity to find out and ask about the corporate culture, and show that you want to invest your time in your (potential) future company.