Interview Question Guide

HR Specialist

HR Specialists are responsible for developing, implementing and evaluating processes and procedures regarding organizational personnel. They perform human resource tasks such as recruitment, hiring, training, onboarding, employee relations, as well as managing benefits and compensation. Additionally, HR Specialists may specialize in one of such areas instead of performing general human resource tasks. Performing this role requires strong communication, a problem-solving orientation and efficient organizational abilities.

Core skills for HR Specialists




Talent Management




Organizational Skills


Performance Management


Conflict Management

How to effectively interview HR Specialists

While it might seem difficult to figure out whether a candidate will succeed as an HR Specialist in your company, a well-developed set of interview questions that tap into the core skills required to perform in a HR Specialist role will go a long way in helping you decide. 

But where do you start? How do you develop a set of great interview questions? 

The best interview questions come directly from a job analysis. A job analysis is an evidence-based method that focuses on assessing key features of a particular role. These features describe both the job itself (i.e., tasks, responsibilities, and performance objectives), and the characteristics required of someone to perform successfully in the job (e.g., knowledge, skills, and abilities). A job analysis forms the basis of many HR practices such as compensation, performance management, and - you guessed it - how to interview and hire candidates. 

At Hireguide, we’ve done the job analysis work for you. We’ve used the method to identify a core set of skills associated with the HR Specialist role, and we’ve developed and validated a list of behavioral and situational questions with answer guides that tap directly into those core skills. And that’s not all. We’ve compiled these questions and created a HR Specialist Interview Template for you that integrates other interviewing best practices. Skills-based interviews will not only help you make higher quality and evidence-based hiring decisions, but research also shows they enhance fairness and reduce bias in your hiring process. 

Example interview questions to ask

Question 1

As an HR Specialist, you juggle a variety of duties, including meetings with leadership, fixing employee relations issues and designing HR strategies. How do you organize your work and deal with competing demands?

Answer Tips

  • Elaborates on their time management and prioritization techniques
  • Discusses planning and using calendars, time management tactics, apps, etc.
  • Prioritizes tasks based on business objectives and what is urgent/important
  • Discusses breaking down big tasks and delegating accordingly
  • Discusses blocking out time slots for tasks that require deep focus

Question 2

Imagine a manager asks you for advice on how to decide who to promote between three team members who are currently in the same role. How would you respond?

Answer Tips

  • Discusses relevant information that needs to be examined
  • Focuses on the skills needed for the role and suggests ways to assess them
  • Considers short- and long-term impacts on the business, team and individuals
  • Suggests an employee progression framework for transparency

Question 3

Imagine you take charge of the performance management system. Employees start coming to you to complain that the performance targets set by managers are unrealistic due to a change in the business. What would you do?

Answer Tips

  • Exhibits a comprehensive understanding of performance management systems
  • Outlines a communication strategy for how to handle those complaints
  • Assesses the complaints, revisits targets and consults with managers
  • Collaborates with managers to set new goals in line with the business strategy
  • Discusses how to avoid similar issues in the future (e.g. new processes)

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