Career
Your Guide to an HR Interview
Jan 19, 2020

The darkest night has seeped out, the radiant sun as moored herself in the blue, cascading lustrous amber lights onto everything she touches and igniting the world with joy and brilliance. 

And on this fine day, somewhere someone’s heart is warm and skipping beats. And you must be wondering why? 

I will tell you.

After weeks and months of searching on Google, writing resumes and applying to different companies, one or maybe two companies have finally responded. The sleepless study nights, evening volunteering and summer internships are finally paying off. You are delighted and excited to start a new chapter of your life. 

“But what should I expect in an interview? What all will they ask me? What should I wear on the day? How will I prepare?”- These questions have clouded your mind. In vain, you have called your peers and surfed through the internet. But, alas! No one has given you an exhaustive answer.

Worry not my dear friend, I am here to help you.

There are 3 stages to your HR Interview:

  1. Days before the HR Interview
  2. On the day of the HR Interview
  3. Days after the HR Interview

 

 Understanding what you should do at each stage and following it to the dot will help you stand out from your competitors and to land your desired job.

1. Days Before the HR Interview

Spectacular achievements are always preceded by comprehensive preparation. Even if you do not possess the full skill set required you can still land on the job by being well prepared and enthusiastic. 

A thorough preparation demonstrates to the company that you are serious about the job.

  • Research

The very first thing that you should do is to go and check the company’s website and social media handles. Read the home page, about us and service/products sections and make notes about the company’s history, mission and vision.  And also, don’t forget to do a web search of the company and learn whether they have been in the news lately, what differentiates them from other companies in their field etc.

  • Learn

You have learned about your prospective company.

Now it is time to learn and map out how your skills, education and experience and match the job description. This preparation will help you to talk naturally and fluently, making it easier for the interviewer to see how you are a great fit for the job. If you have been working, it is, indeed, wise to research your current or previous employers so that you can answer questions confidently.

  • Practice

We are what we repeatedly do. 

So do not walk in an interview without any practise. 

Ask your friends or your family to help you practice the common interview questions. This will help you to communicate your thoughts more preciously and succinctly on the day of your interview.

(Later in the guide, we will cover the five common HR interview questions asked.) 

 

2. On the day of the HR Interview

The most awaited day has finally dawned. Though you are confident with your preparation, it is vital to not let your excitement and nervousness blind you on the interview day. 

  • Dress for the job you want

First impressions do create a lasting impression. Regardless of the type of position you are seeking, you should always go to the interview with a professional and polished look. 

You can even ask your recruitment consultant or hiring manager to advise you on the dress code. However, nowadays there is a lot of flexibility and variety in what people can wear to work. Wear clean and crisp clothes instead of wrinkly and flashy clothes that might distract your interviewer. Tone down on accessories. 

Remember your wardrobe subtly says who you are, so dressing professionally will aid your skills and personalities to shine through.

  • Plan your journey and Pack your Bags

Are you planning on taking public transport or are you driving to the interview? Plan ahead, research your route and ensure that you build in plenty of time in case of unexpected delays. Make sure to arrive at the reception 10 minutes early before your interview time. So that you can have a breather and even skim through your portfolio.  

And hey, do not forget to take several copies of your CV. In case the interviewer brings in a colleague to the meeting, you will come across as calm and composed if you hand out additional copied without becoming unhinged.

  • Action speaks louder than words

From important handshake to small talks, the first 5 minutes of the interview has a decisive impact on how well the rest of the interview will go.

From the moment you walk through your company’s door, you should be aware of your gait and mannerisms. Treat everyone you meet as your interviewer. Always maintain eye contact and give a short and firm handshake. When offered a seat, sit up straight in your chair which gives an automatic signal of confidence and reliability. Maintain a balanced smile on your face as it shows you are comfortable with the flow of the interview. Making use of your hands with subtle gestures shows a sign of honesty and openness. Try to keep yourself at one spot; fidgeting your legs or hands will be comprehended as you are getting impatient or tiresome with the interview process.

Lean in slightly, project an attitude of alertness, enthusiasm and interest. 

During the interview, your Body language plays a vital role in making or breaking your career. So do not forget to follow these points.

  • Know your Interview questions

For the past few weeks, you have been waiting for this moment and the moment had finally arrived. The interviewer has initiated some small talks to help you put yourself at ease. You know they are testing your interpersonal skills, so you took a breather and answered every question. You even asked a relevant question or two back. This will help in building rapport with your interviewer enhancing your chances of being memorable.

Now it is time for your HR (Human Resource) team to assess you with a set questions that will come up in one form or another. 

As promised earlier, we are going to make sure you have got some good answers ready to the 5 Commonly Asked HR Interview questions.

        • Tell me about yourself’

This is the most favourite question of every HR interviewers as it gives them a glimpse of yourself and your career history. 

What this question translates to is “What would you be like to work with? What difference could you make to the organisation?”

Answer with a breezy and confident tone, articulate your strength, skills and experience. 

If you are an experienced professional, summarise your career history by highlighting the most important points that are related to the job you are interviewing in not more than five minutes. 

Your answer must not come as scripted. Take command of your pronunciation and pauses.

Do not repeat the things you have written in your resume. Talk about your accomplishments, how you are a fast learner etc. And if you are an experienced professional tell them how your skills can augment the growth of the company. 

Your short introduction must not sound arrogant or filled with lies or negative traits about you.

Give them a glimpse into your background such as where you are from, how your upbringing has moulded you, how your parents influence you, about your hobbies and dreams and contextualize it with your company ethos.

And hey, do not forget to smile while talking about yourself.

‘Why should we hire you?’