What is an HR Interview?

Sheri Cyprus

An HR interview is a discussion or meeting between a representative of a company's human resources department and a job applicant. Typically, both the interviewer and interviewee ask each other questions. The HR interviewer will ask the most questions, as he or must determine whether the applicant will be a good fit with the company. The human resources (HR) department representative often doesn't make the final hiring decision though. Rather, an HR interview is usually given to screen job applicants before they are considered for contact by a hiring manager.

HR professionals usually screen candidates for a company's managers.
HR professionals usually screen candidates for a company's managers.

In many companies, the initial HR interview is done over the telephone. The human resources department representative will likely have a list of hiring criteria from the manager seeking a new employee. After reading resumes either mailed or emailed to the company by job seekers responding to an ad describing the position, the human resources worker will then create a pile of possible candidates as well as interview questions to ask. This worker will then phone the selected applicants to schedule telephone HR interviews.

A human resources representative will most likely ask questions regarding the applicant's resume.
A human resources representative will most likely ask questions regarding the applicant's resume.

During the interview, the human resources representative will usually have the particular candidate's resume at hand. The questions in the HR interview are likely to expand on and confirm the information on the applicant's resume. The HR worker may also confirm each short-listed candidate's availability and interest in the position. The applicant will be able to ask the interviewer about job hours, specific duties and the exact location of the company.

As with other types of employment interviews, a human resources interviewer must follow the law in regards to which questions can and cannot be asked of applicants. While the laws differ depending on the country, personal questions relating to race, religion or sexual orientation are usually prohibited. While there are commonly no laws that specify what the applicant may ask the employer, all of the questions in an HR interview typically focus on the position being sought. In addition to being a good fit with the job in terms of education and work experience, successful HR interviewees often express to the interviewer why they are interested not just in any work opportunity but in working for that particular company.

After the HR worker has interviewed all of his or her chosen job applicants, the next step is to narrow down the number of possible candidates once again. The hiring manager will then typically interview this short-listed group in person before choosing the successful job candidate. This HR interview procedure is popular with many companies because it saves managers time hiring employees. Commonly, the same HR interviewer will then complete the paperwork regarding the new hire such as information required by the payroll department of the company.

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