HR Manager interview questions

Working in human resources (HR) puts you at the heart of a company. From helping with recruitment to mediating grievances, HR roles are often varied and change from day-to-day.

If you're looking to become an HR manager, you can expect to answer a range of questions throughout the interview stage that test your suitability for all these various HR competencies.
In this article, we outline common HR manager interview questions and review sample questions with answers to help in your job search.

Let’s get started with the most common. 

Top HR manager interview questions:

It pays to be prepared for the kinds of HR manager interview questions you might face when looking for a new role.

When answering these questions, try to show tangible examples of your experience and ability, and link your answers to the company you’re applying to as much as possible. This will help show you understand the business and make it easier for the interviewer to envisage you working there.

Some HR manager interview questions you’re likely to face include:

What experience do you have managing an HR team?

Interviewers may want to know about your previous experience actually managing a team. They might want to know how many people you line managed or how you found the transition to manager level. Prepare to answer these types of questions and remember to demonstrate how your experience can help you in the role you're pursuing.

What experience do you have developing and implementing HR policies and procedures?

Interviewers may want more in-depth responses to questions specific to HR practices. Take your time to develop a comprehensive answer that showcases your skills, experience, and knowledge.

How do you handle employee conflicts and grievances?

Conflict resolution is a big part of the role of a HR manager, so a question like this is more than likely to come up. Offer a comprehensive answer that highlights how you're able to act without bias and in the best interest of maintaining a team's cohesion. 

What do you think makes you a great HR manager? 

HR managers tend to be great all-rounders, blessed with people skills as well as a head for organisation and data, to help them keep on top of all staff-related issues. Strong leadership skills will help them manage their HR department, as well as when interacting with other staff throughout their company. Make sure to drop these core skills into your answer to demonstrate that you understand what it takes it be a great HR manager. 

As well as the four key questions outlined above, you may also want to prepare for some of the following topics:

•    How would you ensure employee inductions are done right?
•    Which employee benefits do you find drive the highest employee motivation?
•    What do you consider to be the most successful recruitment strategies?
•    How would you go about resolving a conflict between an employee and their manager?
•    What processes or methods would you follow to deliver bad news to staff?
•    How can you make negative staff more positive?
•    How would you influence employee retention?
•    Which HR software packages do you have experience with?
•    How can you best align performance management with business strategy?
•    Which aspects of HR do you enjoy the most/least?
•    How can you best measure the success of HR? What KPIs have you found useful?
•    How would you determine the priorities of your role?

Key areas you’ll be questioned on in a HR manager interview

Here are some common areas that an interviewer is likely to want to cover in your upcoming HR manager interview.

HR manager interview questions about payroll and benefits

As a very common responsibility for an HR manager, you may be asked questions around building compensation packages and diverse benefits programs that attract talent. Some of these questions may include:

  • How do you determine the optimal salary for a particular role when hiring?
  • Have you ever had to build compensation packages? How were these structured? Were they popular with potential new hires? 
  • What kind of employee perks and benefits do you think are necessary to keep employees engaged and motivated?

HR manager interview questions about DE&I 

Building a company culture which encourages and enables diversity and inclusion has become an increasingly important aspect of human resources. Here are questions you may be asked to show your experience building diverse and engaging cultures:

  • What would be some ways you would help our company grow and scale while maintaining diversity?
  • Tell me about some of the initiatives you’ve put in place at other companies that have helped grow the culture in a positive way.
  • What does your ideal company culture look like? What would be your first step in getting us there?
  • How do you ensure your company culture is still apparent in a hybrid or remote  workplace?
  • Do you think it’s important to include out-of-office activities to build a great culture?

HR manager interview questions about recruitment

Recruiting is a critical part of building a company and unless you’re interviewing for a role at a big company with its own internal recruiting team, these tasks will fall under the purview of the HR manager. Here are some common recruitment questions that might come up in your interview:

  • How do you ensure you are presenting your hiring managers with the best possible applicants?
  • What technology do you think is most important to run an effective recruitment function?
  • Do you prefer to manage the entire recruiting function or leverage outsourced assistance?
  • Have you ever had to build an employer brand at your previous companies? What actions did you take to build a positive employer brand?

HR manager interview questions about training & development 

Employee development programs are used to increase engagement and build long-term career paths within a company. It’s likely a hiring manager will want to know more about your experience in this area, so prep for the below questions:

  • Tell me about a time where you helped build a career path for an entry-level or junior employee using training and development programs. What was the outcome? 
  • What systems do you typically use to build training programs for employees?
  • Do you use training and development to reduce churn?
  • How do you measure the impact of employee training?

What’s next?

Interview processes for HR manager jobs can be rigorous but can also lead to hugely rewarding careers with strong career progression . If you want to secure more interviews, check out the live HR manager jobs on the Michael Page website today. 

Demand for HR talent is growing fast, and employers are offering top salary packages to attract the best. Download our salary guide and take a look at the average salaries for HR roles across the UK to find out exactly what you could be earning throughout your career.

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