HR interviews are tricky because you never know whether the hiring manager would ask people-related questions or technical HR-based questions. In any case, the HR generalist interview questions are a mix of both.
Each organization has different HR structures, but there’s always a human resource generalist position. The job title is different, but the responsibilities and duties remain the same. That’s why the HR generalist interview questions and answers are somewhat universal.
In any case, it’s important to prepare yourself for an interview beforehand, regardless of how experienced you are.
In this article, we’ll go over the most critical HR generalist interview questions, along with the ideal answer process.
Let’s dive right in.
8 HR Generalist Interview Questions and Answers for 2023
Depending on the HR generalist JD, questions can be different because of varying industries.
If you’ve already developed an excellent human resource generalist resume, your next step is to check out the following interview questions and try to answer them before going for your next interview.
Questions About Your HR Career
Here are a few questions that recruiters ask candidates regarding their HR careers:
1. Why are You Applying for the HR Generalist Position?
Once you move on to the actual interview after the introductory questions, the first thing a recruiter will ask you is why you’re applying for the position. It’s important to give a clear and concise answer to this question to establish a strong position.
You can use this question as an opportunity to explain why you believe this job is right for you. You must convince so that the recruiter believes that you not only want the human resource generalist position but also want the position in their company.
In any case, the ideal way to answer this question is by talking about your HR career and background. Delve into why you chose HR as a career and why you decided to pursue it further. It’s crucial to make it sound inspiring, so you can develop a strong base throughout the interview process.
When you’re going into details of your HR career, talk about your first official HR role, any current job, and your career goals, along with how they’ve evolved over time. Then mention that becoming a human resource generalist is the next logical hierarchal step in your career path.
It will help if you build up your answers according to the company you’ve applied to. Moreover, focus on explaining why the human resource generalist role in that company would provide better opportunities.
2. Are You Currently Applying for Any Other Jobs?
Many hiring managers prefer knowing if you’ve applied to any other jobs, similar or not. This question is asked to validate to answer to the question mentioned above. In any case, the question aims to check two things based on your answer:
- The level of dedication you have to build your HR career based on a specific career path
- The level of dedication you have for building that career at the company you’ve applied to
For example, as a job seeker, if you’ve applied to a marketing or finance position, that is a red flag for recruiters. The recruiter will understand that you are not 100% dedicated to becoming an HR professional and that you’ve applied for the HR generalist position for the sake of getting a job.
On the other side, if you tell them that you’ve applied to other human resource generalist jobs (or HR positions) in the same industry, that is a plus sign. That tells the recruiter how serious you are about building an HR career, in the same industry. Furthermore, if you mention that you’ve applied to non-competitor companies, that’s even better. That’s because it reinforces the idea that you want to work at this particular company.
Questions About HR Generalist Job Requirements
Below are mentioned a few questions that recruiters ask potential employees regarding the HR generalist’s job responsibilities and requirements:
3. What Do You Think the Human Resources Generalist Position Entails?
Since the human resource generalist position is an entry-level HR position, it can have varying job requirements based on the company and industry. When a recruiter asks this question, they want to understand what you make of the role.
A lot of companies tend to have pretty generic job descriptions and requirements. More often than not, the actual duties and responsibilities go way beyond whatever is mentioned in the job description. Moreover, the JD may also have some redundant tasks that you may never have to do like creating reports, accurate record-keeping, and collecting data as these all are the duties of other HR employees.
In any case, it’s important to know and understand all the possible responsibilities that you might have. Go over each of the primary responsibilities and explain how you will go about it.
Try to research the HR generalist role in other companies so you can prepare an answer. Furthermore, make sure you check out companies within the same industry and category, if possible. That will help you develop specific examples and answers for your job interview.
In any case, you have to show the recruiter that you have a good idea of what the job expects from you.
If you’re interested in ensuring you get the human resource Generalist role you want, then check our HR Generalist Certification course:
4. Do You Believe You Have the Appropriate Skills to Become a Human Resources Generalist?
This is a critical question during the interview because, at this point, you have to start to sell yourself. This is your opportunity to list down and talk about all your skills and knowledge.
You’ll find things like problem-solving, communication, and analytical skills in every job description. However, it’s best to go one step ahead and talk about specific things, including the following:
- Any new HR policy you assisted in developing
- Company culture
- Sexual harassment claims and cases you managed
- 360-degree performance reviews you completed to ensure accuracy
- Specific knowledge like knowing about National Regulatory laws to create policies
Talking about such stuff provides a better outlook of you as a job candidate rather than just saying that you have great communication skills. That’s because it’s hard to provide an accurate representation of your skills.
In any case, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t mention the skills while providing your answer. If you can, talk about communication, interpersonal, problem-solving, decision-making, research, analytical, organizational, and HR team-building skills.
Questions About the HR Generalist Role
Here are some questions that job seekers have to answer to show their compatibility with the human resource generalist’s role:
5. Why Do You Think You’re Qualified for this Role?
This is a tricky question and also the biggest challenge to put you off balance because the job boards already know you’re qualified for the role; otherwise, they wouldn’t have scheduled an interview. But still, you should have an answer ready for the question.
At this point, you should always start with a little intro to your education. Moreover, talk about all your certifications and any courses you have completed. For example, if you have an SHRM certification, this is the time to talk about it and how you managed it.
After that, start talking about your work experience and the work environment you’re used to. Also, mention any unique company policies you’ve worked on within the HR department or if you have experience in creating human resources policies.
Furthermore, you should talk about the tasks you’ve done at your previous position, such as assisting in onboarding, doing exit interviews, resolving HR issues, staffing, managing interviewees, managing retention, and more.
Last but not the least, you should talk about your career goals to create an idea that the human resource generalist role is the next logical step in your HR career.
6. What HR Tasks and Duties Are You Most Familiar With?
This question is often asked in every HR job interview, regardless of the position. It may seem similar to previous questions, but it has a unique purpose. At this point, you don’t have to list down every single HR task you’ve done. You have to list the tasks you’re most familiar with, are good at, and excellent at.
For example, if you’re good with onboarding new employees, you must mention that, along with a few examples to back you up.
HR managers tend to delegate various HR tasks among human resource generalists depending on their abilities. That’s why it’s crucial to explain what HR tasks and duties you’re best with. That way, when you get hired, your supervisor or manager will provide you with the tasks you are good at.
That makes it easier for both you and the company. Other than that, if the recruiter asks a follow-up question to your answer, you have to make sure you go deep into explaining your point through valid examples. Using past experience from your previous job is the ideal solution, but in the lack of any, try to quote case studies to prove your point.
7. Are you Familiar with Various Office-Related Duties and Technologies?
This question aims to check your administrative, computer, and online capabilities. For modern HR, it is a mandatory requirement of having proficiency in various computer software, online HR sites, and apps like Glassdoor.
For the most basic proficiencies, you should know how to operate phone calls, printers, scanners, fax machines, and photocopiers. Furthermore, you should also have great typing skills, a document handling system, and more.
For computer skills, learn to manage emails, internal memos, and company-wide group messages. That means knowing about the latest messaging apps and software. You also need to know how to use Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and other relevant software.
It’s also best to know about various HR sites; that includes things like cover letter builders, template builders, HR software, and more.
If you’ve used any HR software in the past, this is the time to mention it. Explain how you learned the software, how you used it, and what you learned from it.
8. How Do You Keep Employees Satisfied with the Roles and Positions They Hold?
While the interview questions are general in nature, there are some specific questions. That depends on the company and what they consider for the HR generalist’s role.
In any case, keeping employees satisfied and retaining them is one of the toughest HR tasks in recent times. A demotivated employee will lead to lag, bad performance, or worse.
It is the HR department’s job to ensure all the employees are satisfied. They have to monitor each employee and staff performance to see if they’re doing good.
To retain and keep your employees satisfied, you can start with one-on-one training and support. In general, the HR professionals or managers of the department do that. Furthermore, increasing company incentives and offering more freedom to employees is another great way to keep them motivated. It’s crucial to maintain a clear line of communication at all times.
How Do I Ace an HR Generalist Interview – Wrap Up and Some Tips
It’s easy to find common interview questions, answers, and tips online, but it’s hard to find something more specific. Depending on your career goals, you can look at a lot of different job arcs and career paths.
In any case, it’s important to prepare for those interviews beforehand. When it comes to the HR generalist interview, the good thing is that it’s never a complicated interview because it’s an entry-level position.
Still, you need to have a good idea about the new job to ace the interview. You have to show the recruiter that you deserve the HR generalist salary. Using the interview questions and answers for the HR generalists post above, you can prepare for your interview.
However, you also need to polish your HR knowledge and techniques. You have to learn about the company and the industry to adjust your answers to expect the job offer.
Once you do that, you’ll know how to tackle and ace the HR generalist interview.
If you are new to Human Resources and are looking to break into an HR Generalist role, we recommend taking our HR Generalist Certification Course, where you will learn how to build your skillset in the human resources generalist field, build your human resources network, craft a great HR generalist resume, and create a successful job search strategy for an HR generalist.
Josh Fechter is the founder of HR.University. He's a certified HR professional and has managed global teams across 5 different continents including their benefits and payroll. You can connect with him on LinkedIn here.