HR Manager Interview Questions You Need To Ask

Cassy Aite
June 11, 2024
HR Manager Interview Questions You Need To Ask

Human resources is the driving force that manages your most important asset: your staff. Despite the importance of the HR department in your company, employees often view it as a necessary evil. Over 40% of employees “hate” HR due to its strictness, perceived unfairness, rigidity over company policies, and overbearing nature. It’s not a majority, but it’s still a figure that’s cause for alarm.

But HR doesn’t have to be viewed this way. Maybe you just need a guiding light in the form of fair, unbiased, and nonjudgmental HR manager — at least that’s the dream anyway. But hiring managers of any type isn’t always easy. They have different personalities, styles, and experiences, and HR managers are no different.

The only way to know for sure is to kick your human resources manager interview process into overdrive. With the right mix of HR manager interview questions, you can discover the ideal candidate to reshape your performance management initiatives, employee relations, and company culture.

Use these HR manager interview questions to retool your hiring experience and land the right candidate.

9 Effective HR Manager Interview Questions

HR manager meeting

HR managers must manage other employees, master talent acquisition, practice sound decision-making, and create a positive work environment for team members. No matter how you look at it, that’s quite the workload. Yet, uncovering how well a candidate fits into your scheme with questions and answers can seem daunting.

The key to practical HR manager interview questions is creating inquiries that cover all these topics. Ideally, they combine common interview questions with creative, unique ones to gauge how well they can attract top talent, handle difficult situations, and complete day-to-day tasks.

Always include an icebreaker to ease the candidate, tweak these suggested questions to your liking, and listen objectively to each response.

1. What employee benefits are crucial to engagement and company culture?

A gripping employee benefits package is central to employee engagement, job satisfaction, and attracting top talent. The HR manager position is responsible for this demanding task, so asking about what benefits they value and how they would assemble a benefits package is integral.

Through this question, you can learn what the candidate values, a part of their HR strategy regarding benefits, and how this aligns with your cost structure. Whether they value health & wellness, medical insurance, retirement, or training & development, they can demonstrate what’s important to them and how it reinforces your employer brand as a great place to work.

2. Why did you want to become an HR manager?

Few youngsters have an overwhelming dream of becoming an HR manager. It’s not exactly a glorious or coveted position; it comes with plenty of challenges, and it often goes unappreciated by other workers.

In most cases, HR manager candidates have had other types of work experience and transitioned to HR out of necessity or to fill a void.

As one of the best HR manager interview questions to learn more about a candidate, the answer may surprise you. But, how the candidate uses experience in other fields and applies it to the HR field is the crux of this question. Whether the candidate started in sales, accounting, or marketing and advertising, how they can take prior experience and utilize it in HR shows a tremendous upside in management skills and continuous learning.

3. How would your coworkers and managers describe you in your previous role?

Frankness and sincerity are admirable qualities of a great HR manager. How can an HR manager enforce HR policies and rules if they aren’t open and honest?

While this HR manager interview question seemingly wants the candidate to pat themselves on the back, honesty and sincerity are far more important. Listen to how the candidate responds and how open they are to the good and the bad to get the most out of this HR interview question.

4. What are your favorite HR tools and/or HR software?

Nearly every position in the modern business world has tools and software programs catered directly to departmental needs. HR is at the forefront of this digital tidal wave with seemingly endless amounts of software programs available.

What you’re looking for in this HR manager interview question is the candidate’s technical knowledge, how often they use HR tools afforded to them, and how willing or skilled they are at learning new technology.

5. How would you handle a conflict between employees? Do you have any examples of real-life situations?

Conflict resolution is almost a daily venture for most HR managers, and each has different ways of dealing with a demanding, awkward situation. While you may have your own way of dealing with conflict, this is their job and something they should have mastered on their journey from entry-level to HR management.

Responses should outline how they would mediate the situation, whether they can remain impartial, and how comfortable/relaxed they can be during the entire mediation process.

Follow up this question with concrete examples from their experience. Ask how communication skills, company policy, and their personal style translated into a satisfactory resolution.

6. How do you ensure compliance with labor laws?

A table with a gavel, handcuffs, laptop, and hardhat on it

An HR manager's duties include maintaining up-to-date knowledge of health insurance, stipends, global employee benefits, minimum wage, and taxes. With the ever-changing labor laws — especially with globally distributed teams — they must remain on top of these stipulations to avoid litigation or unhappy employees.

This HR manager interview question aims to tackle these issues. The candidate should have handy resources to review compliance and labor laws, as well as contingency plans to make changes as necessary.

7. What’s your recruitment process like?

New employees can inject fresh ideas and excitement into an organization, but only if you find the right people. While employee retention is crucial, new hires are also tantamount to success in any competitive industry.

As such, recruitment strategies remain a vital part of your HR manager’s job duties. This HR manager interview question dives into the candidate’s knowledge of job boards, hiring practices, networking, referrals, metrics, and more.

The ideal candidate should have a mix of modern HR trends with traditional recruiting and hiring practices — at least in theory. Sample answers will always vary to some degree, but as long as the candidate mentions their problem-solving recruitment skills, provides a roadmap to hiring, and can deliver a solid job description, you should get great insight.

8. How do you ensure your training programs are effective?

Training programs are essential for continuous learning and onboarding new hires, but if these efforts are ineffective, the entire company can suffer. Employees put forth lackluster efforts, may feel disengaged, or even suffer from burnout.

Therefore, a strong candidate for an HR manager position should have metrics to ensure that the training programs add value and aren’t just a sunken cost. Polling employees, using KPIs, and seeing how training impacts productivity and the bottom line should be part of the response, but creativity is always a welcome addition.

9. Do you have any cost-reduction strategies that were effective in the past?

Your company has spent a sizable amount of money after payroll, benefits, and other employee stipends and perks. If your bottom line suffers as a result of mismanagement, this HR manager interview question aims to solve that very issue.

Planning and assessing your spending habits is crucial to any profitable organization, and an efficient HR manager should be central to this debacle. A knowledgeable HR manager understands how employee retention is integral to the bottom line, whether a labor reduction is the only solution, and can advise when cost-cutting measures are necessary.

This is a great question to assess whether an HR manager has the ability to provide crucial suggestions — something that can take a poor financial situation and right the proverbial ship.

How To Wrap Up Your HR Manager Interview

Wrapping up your HR manager job interview is similar to any other type of interview. You thank them for their time and ask them if they have any questions. But how they answer the latter part of this wrap-up is essential.

The questions that the candidate poses provide insight into their curiosity about the job, your company, and your preferred management style. It also provides extra time to clarify any questions about this particular HR role, career paths/professional development, and more. To sign off on a high note and leave a positive candidate experience, make sure that you leave ample time for a Q&A session.

Show Your Appreciate Regularly for HR and All They Do

With any luck, these HR manager interview questions can help you discover the best candidate for the job. But don’t let your freshly minted HR manager fade into the background with time. HR professionals may have the most challenging job in the office, and their achievements and contributions are often ignored.

Hoppier sales team reward gift card

Celebrate the accomplishments and recognize your HR people regularly with help from Hoppier. Offering gift cards for employees in over 60 countries and working with over 10,000 vendors, Hoppier has the gift to keep your HR manager satisfied and happy in their work. For everything they do, a little thank-you gift is always welcome.

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