Tips for a successful HR interview
You have been offered a job interview at your dream company but you feel worried because it is with a member of the HR team. How do you sell yourself to someone who has no experience in your field? What if they don’t understand your job?
It is true that this interview will not be the same as the one with the future manager, potential colleagues, or the head of the company. HR is not there to test your skills or expertise, but to consider your values, your ability to communicate and adapt. The goal is to assess your potential to fit into the team. This is a crucial step that you should not neglect. An HR team member can be the first person to be convinced along the way. They may accept or reject your application. So what is expected of you in this interview and how can you be successful?
What is the stakes in this first interview?
Every conversation that forms part of any recruitment process has a different goal. During an interview with HR, you will not be judged for the same things as you will do with a manager or CEO. So here is a description of what HR recruiters will focus on:
Your compatibility with company values
Your ability to fit into the team
Your motivation and enthusiasm for the job and the company
Your personal qualities. Are you honest, open, modest, confident?
Ability to solve problems and deal with challenging situations
Your ability to process information
Your language skills
Compatibility between the salary you expect and what the company offers
Now that you know what HR is looking for during this interview, here are some tips to help you get through the process.
Tips for a successful HR interview:
1. Be honest and open.
Remember that the human resources department contains the word “human“. HR needs to see what you are like and to gain a sense of your real personality and make sure you fit in well with the company. That is why it is better to behave naturally and relaxed. It is also important to show that you have strong interpersonal skills and that you behave professionally. On the day of the interview, be punctual, present yourself politely and dress appropriately. This means thinking about the image of the company, but also dressing in a way that is comfortable for you during the day.
HR will not need to try to determine your personality traits if you are honest. If you do not understand the explanation, they have given you, be direct and ask them to explain it to you. It won’t bite! Don’t be ashamed. Your sincerity will establish a spirit of trust between you and them.
2. Show enthusiasm for the job.
During this first interview, your enthusiasm is your weapon. Remember that HR determines whether you adapt to their current company culture. So you have to be ready. Do not respond to an interview without conducting some research on the company, its values , and history.
See what they do, the number of employees, and the latest news. The interviewer will not hesitate to ask you what you know about the company. If you are not well informed, you will leave a bad impression, even if you have a strong work background.
Help the recruiter understand when he has in front of him and why the company is interesting to you, how you discovered the company, and your vision about it. Be clear in your explanations and about your interest in the job and what drives you the most.
Be prepared to show that you are passionate in this business and you will make a strong, positive impression on the recruiter. Now is not the time to hold back.
3. Be proactive.
Some candidates let their mind wander when the recruiter explains what the company is like. Even if you know the job and the way it is organized, it is best to listen carefully. Don’t hesitate to take notes or upgrade what they say. If you don’t, you may look absent.
This is a chance to talk, not just retell the story of your professional career. So you should ask questions, react, reformulate, try to get involved in a dynamic exchange. An interview is a way for two people to get to know each other better, rather than through hollow monologues or, worse, conflicts or interrogations.
4. Know how to tell your story.
The recruiter will want to assess your ability and summarize your experience. So you should be able to go through your career, year after year and job by job. Before the interview, practice at home by talking out loud. Stick to your resume and avoid digressions unless you are asked to add more details. Explain your strategic decisions, as well as any sudden changes in position. Don’t be afraid to be open and determined because these are exactly the qualities that recruiters want to evaluate in you. If you have made a mistake in your career or changed your career, be honest and explain everything to them clearly and diplomatically. This will portray you in a positive light as someone who knows what he wants.
5. Don’t talk technically.
Keep in mind that talking to a recruiter is not intended to check your technical capabilities or your expertise. Don’t go into too much detail using jargon specific to your field. It is uncomfortable for a recruiter (or anyone else) to talk to someone who uses very technical language. Be simple and clear. Otherwise, you risk looking pretentious. Go into details only if you are specifically asked to do so.
6. Be a reflection of your experience.
The recruiter can ask questions about conflicts in previous positions and how you resolved them. This is done to help them assess your integrity and integration ability. Prepare for such questions before the interview. If you have not had difficult situations before, which is quite possible, be prepared to be asked to get involved in a role-playing role. The recruiter can describe a fictional conflict in the team, give you time to think about it, and then ask you to offer a solution to the problem.
7. Think about the money.
One question that will come up for discussion during the interview is what kind of reward do you expect as part of the package offered by the company. Think ahead so you don’t get caught off guard. Take a look at the benefits offered by the company, and then decide on the range of salaries that suits you. Don’t underestimate yourself, but be realistic about what the company has to offer.
8. Refresh your language skills.
An interview with HR is a time when you can expect your language skills to be tested during the recruitment process. If the job requires knowledge of Spanish, French, or English, for example, the recruiter can switch to that language at any time during the interview. So try to communicate clearly in the language, because that is expected of you.
If you follow these tips, you have a great chance for a successful interview and moving on to the next step in the selection. However, if you are not invited after the interview, keep in mind that this is just an interview and does not necessarily call into question your ability. Think about the interview and try to learn from it. You have gained valuable experience, regardless of the outcome!