How to Prepare for HR Interview

"Big jobs usually go to the men who prove their ability to outgrow small ones."

This quote by Theodore Roosevelt sums up what we are going to discuss today. A job is what earns us our livelihood and to a large extent acts as a catalyst in our professional and personal growth. Hence, it is important that we act wisely when it comes to choosing a job - a job that has the potential to give us financial and professional growth, job satisfaction and recognition.

What is an Human Resource (HR) interview?

Let us assume that you have identified a job as mentioned above and applied for the same. The company gets in touch with you and schedules an HR interview. An HR interview is conducted to judge your personality, your strengths, your weaknesses, your capability to handle the role, to check your background, and to understand if you're the right fit for this job. That is why it is very important to be well-prepared for the HR interview, because an HR round can decide whether you continue with any further interview rounds.

Preparation Tips for HR Interview

Here are some tips.


Understand the job requirement

Go through the job profile that you have applied for or have an interview scheduled for. Understand the role perfectly - what is it that they expect, what are the skill-sets required, what are the qualifications they are looking for. Equip yourself with all the details. This is to ensure that you are not taken by surprise on the day of the interview.

Match the requirement to your profile

Try to match your profile with the job requirement. It may not be possible to match it 100 percent, but try to do it as much as possible. As you do this, try to have examples that showcase your ability to execute or fulfill the tasks mentioned in the job description. Also, if you have skills or qualifications that will be an added bonus to the job requirement, make a mental note of it.

Go through your resume

Go through your resume thoroughly. Be confident about all the details that have been mentioned there. In case there is a break in education or if you had taken some time off work, be sure to be ready with an answer that works in your favour.

Know the company

Gather as many details about the company as you can. Go through the company website - learn about how they have grown, what they specialize in, the products and services they deal in, their revenue model, etc. Check out on LinkedIn the profiles of CXOs of the company and specially the person whom you are supposed to meet. It is always nice to know about the people you are going to meet in the interview. Know the competitor As you learn details about the company, also find out about their competitors. This will give you an edge if, at any point, you have to talk about what the company can do to ward off competition.

Have a mental interview

Before the interview, it is always a good idea to have a mental interview. Sit quietly and visualize yourself at the interview. Think of some questions that are likely to be asked and prepare answers accordingly. Some of the regular questions are:

  1. Tell me about yourself: Here, you can focus little bit on your family background, your educational qualification, then move onto your career growth. When you are talking about yourself, try to give details that will make the interviewer feel that you are suitable for the job.

  2. Why are you looking for a change? Here, prepare an answer that is very positive in nature. Never talk negatively about the company you are currently working for. If you have a genuine reason to look for a change, say it, or else 'looking for growth' can be a good answer that will fit the situation.

  3. Why do you think you will fit the job? Here you can explain about your talent, skills, your past experiences and how you can bring freshness to the role. Also, try to speak about your strengths and cite examples on how you can add value to the team.

  4. How do you think you can handle a certain situation? As you go through the job description, you will get an idea as to what the role is all about. Now imagine certain situations that may arise and how you would tackle them. They may or may not ask you specific questions around the situations, but if you can cite examples, it will be an added advantage.

  5. Can you handle pressure and tight deadlines? Draw examples from your past experiences on how you have delivered successfully under pressure and met tight deadlines. If possible, share with them a unique way in which you handle pressure.

  6. What is your strength and weakness? Here, mention truthfully your strength and weakness. You may have lot of strengths, but focus on those which will help you in this job.For example, if you are going to manage a team, show how your strengths will enable you to be a better leader. Likewise, mention your weakness. Try to make the weakness sound like your strength to a great extent. As you mention your weakness, be quick to add how you plan to overcome it.

  7. What are your achievements so far? Make a note of all the achievements that you have had in the past. Achievements do not necessarily mean awards or recognition. It could be how you have handled a tough situation or a difficult relationship at work. Try to cite such achievements that will be applicable to the job you are being interviewed for.

  8. What is your salary expectation? This can be a tricky one. Here, you may or may not choose to quote the exact amount, but definitely convey to them the percentage of hike that you are looking at.
Prepare questions you can ask them

Prepare a set of questions that you would like to ask them. It can be about the company's future plan or your growth in the company. Have a couple of them ready.


Be yourself

It is very important to be yourself on the day of the interview. Do not pretend to be a successful person or a confident person or anything. Just be yourself. That will be sufficient to establish yourself as a candidate who may be fit for the job.

Dress comfortably

Choose to wear clothes that make you feel comfortable and relaxed. You can either choose to wear branded clothes or something that you picked up from a local store. It doesn't matter. What matters is how you carry yourself. The clothes should be simply 'you.

Matching accessories

Limit yourself to minimum accessories. Wear only as much as is required. When it comes to ladies, do not wear accessories that you may not be able to carry off well, like big earnings or bracelets, etc. Overall, your appearance should be pleasant and professional. Work towards that.

Carry a copy of your resume

Ensure that you carry a hard copy of your resume. It's also a good idea to carry a soft copy in your pen-drive.

Reach the venue on time

Always try to reach the venue 5 to 10 minutes in advance. Doesn't matter if you have to wait, at least you will have time to relax and maintain your composure.

Facing the interviewer

  • When you are called in for the interview, be calm and relaxed and try to feel at home.
  • Listen to the questions carefully and then answer.
  • If you do not understand a question, ask again. There is nothing wrong in it.
  • Answer to the point. Do not talk about anything that is not of relevance.
  • Be truthful in your answers. If you don't know something, say you don't know. If at any point you lie, you will be paying for it in the long run. So, be truthful, however tough it may be. The interviewer would like it too. Being truthful will speak a lot about your strong character and your trustworthiness.
  • Do not be arrogant in your answers. Often, it is seen that the candidates try to get the better of the interviewer. Refrain from that. Instead, focus on how you can help the team or the company achieve its goals. Concentrate on how you are a smart-worker who at the same time is hardworking and a team player.
  • Do not brag about yourself. They will see through you. Stay grounded and answer questions in a manner that gives them the confidence that you are the right candidate for the job and that you will be an easy person to work with.
Learning more about the role

Once you have answered all the questions and the interview is going on well, you can ask questions regarding your role, if you wish to. You can discuss the role in detail so that you have a clear idea of what is expected of you.

Asking relevant questions

If you choose to, you can ask about the company or any other question that is playing on your mind. It is alright to ask questions. In fact, you should ask, as that gives out a signal that you are serious about the job.

Share your ambition

Last, but not the least, remember the quote we began with- "Big jobs usually go to the men who prove their ability to outgrow small ones." So, somewhere, in a humble way convey to the interviewer how you aspire to excel in your career, how this job would act as a stepping stone, and how the company, in turn, can benefit by hiring you. Let this speech of yours be short, crisp, to the point and one that will leave a lasting impression on the interviewer.

Last Updated on : March 23, 2016