Before we get into what to expect during your interview with HR after interview with hiring manager, let’s take a step back.
Congratulations. Your résumé and cover letter impressed the the busy hiring manager, and you have been called in for your first in-person job interview.
Your interview with the hiring manager can be the tiebreaker that could send you forward to meeting with the influential HR frontline or general manager.
The hiring manager interview
Here are some pointers for a successful interview with the hiring manager:
The hiring manager interview is a one-on-one meeting, and you can expect to field questions about your experience and skills, your work history and qualifications the manager is looking for in an optimal candidate for the job opening.
Before the hiring manager interview
Ask yourself why you believe you are a great fit for the job and the company. Expect to be asked that same question during your rounds of interviews.
Find out all you can about the business, the scope of the job you are after. Check the interviewer’s profile on the company website or social media, if available.
Your social media presence tells job recruiters plenty
Review your own social media sites for red flags, because recruiters do their own social-sleuthing on you. In the 2017 Recruiter Nation Report, the following percentage of recruiters reported what they considered the most common social media blunders:
- Bragging about marijuana use during the past year—61%
- Political ranting—51%
- Making dumb spelling/grammar errors—48%
- Exhibiting drunken behavior—35%
- Showing off large/expensive purchases—19%
- Showing “too much skin”—16%
- Having a limited social presence—12%
- Posting too many selfies—7%
The top 3 positive signs considered by recruiters on the candidate’s social media were:
- Listing work examples (writing or design)—65%
- Volunteering, mentoring, or non-profit work—63%
- Extensive professional connections and networking—35%
During the Interview
In the previously mentioned Recruiter Nation Report, recruiters were asked, “Which of the following would automatically disqualify a candidate during an interview?” Responses were:
- Rudeness to support staff or a receptionist—86%
- Checking their phone during the interview—71%
- Showing up late—58%
- Sloppy appearance/hygiene—52%
- Interrupting the interviewer—39%
- Bringing food—38%
- Too casually dressed—24%
- Bringing something to drink—14%
The HR Interview
After surviving the hiring manager interview, you might have to go through one or more additional interviews along with a further culling process, including an interview with a line manager.
In some organizations, the candidate is interviewed by an HR representative before the line manager. In other companies, the HR interview round is closer to the beginning of the hiring process.
In any case, the HR interview can be a powerful influencer on the final hiring decision. Many organizations use their HR department as the final screening step before the candidate begins interviews within the department.
The HR interviewer has different goals than the hiring manager. The focus is on getting a handle on how well the candidate fits in with the organization’s culture and values.
Alexa Matthews, a senior recruiter at HubSpot, says the HR interview has additional benefits to the hiring process:
“It’s an opportunity for a great first impression…(when) a candidate can often convey things that are not written on their resume. We take that information so that we can…make recommendations to hiring managers throughout the process.”
Robert Walters at Career Advice recommends that candidates take their HR interview seriously:
“HR managers….are more interested in the company’s values and culture, so they will be looking at things like team chemistry and transferrable skills.
Since the HR interview usually occurs before the line manager’s interview, the HR can be a “powerful influence on the next round, especially where the interviewer is a senior member of staff of long standing and influence.”
The line manager is usually someone who previously did the job you are applying for. The questions during that interview are more process driven. The HR manager, however, assesses the candidate’s potential in the context of the company as a whole. For example:
- Will the candidate fit in, support, and nurture the values of the company culture?
- Does the Candidate have the potential for growth and self-development and to positively influence others?
- Will the candidate be satisfied with the employment package the organization is prepared to offer?
So, the line manager will get straight to the point to see if you can do the job. The HR manager, however, focuses on the softer skills. Where the line manager wants to know if you can do the job, the HR manager is trying to find out what you are like as a whole person.
Preparing for the HR Interview
To do the best job during this interview phase, you should:
- have a complete understanding of the position you are applying for. Gather every detail and make sure your qualifications and skill set are a good fit.
- match what the company is looking for to your résumé profile. That is key to making your résumé stand out among similarly qualified applicants.
- double-check your résumé. Did you list every important detail, and is everything a true and honest record of your accomplishments? Be prepared to answer any possible question based on what you wrote in your résumé.
- read everything you can find on the company’s profile.
- get prepared mentally and ask yourself the questions you expect to encounter.
During the HR interview
Be yourself, and don’t try to fake answers and attitudes. Also:
- Be 100% truthful and avoid irrelevant, meandering answers.
- Find out what the dress code of the company is and dress neatly and comfortably within those standards.
- Be on time. Give yourself an extra 15 minutes and arrive early.
- Interact with the HR manager. Smile and be friendly and interested.
Expect the following questions during the HR Interview
GeeksForGeeks.org researched and prepared what they found were the 8 most commonly asked questions during HR Interviews. Common questions and suggested answers are available elsewhere online, but your key takeaways are:
- HR managers ask those tough questions to get a sense of how you process information and solve problems.
- After you give your rehearsed answers, be ready to explain your reasoning.
- Don’t panic. Stay calm and collect your thoughts. It’s OK to ask clarifying questions if you need to.
Finally, be prepared to answer this question: Do you have any questions for me? Having questions for the employer demonstrates that you are enthusiastic and interested in the position.
Your questions should be strategic so that the HR manager can give you the useful information you are after. Think about questions concerning:
- the company itself—the company’s culture, its prospects for growth, and where it will be five years from now
- your target department— its hierarchy and structure within the organization, the department’s reputation within the company, people who have been recognized and promoted
- your prospective boss—who he or she is, the boss’s management style, the key to success in satisfying expectations
- your target role—the biggest challenges the team has faced in the last year, the company positions people have moved to and from in this role
- about your candidacy—the number of people applying for this position, the interviewer’s insights about your greatest strengths and advantages in competing for the job, when you should expect to hear about the results of the interview.
Follow Up With a Thank-you Note After Each Step in the Interview
Following up with a thank-you note after an interview is just good manners. Margaret Buj, a career advice expert, notes that just one in 20 candidates takes the time to do this important interview follow-up step.
So, according to Buj, “taking the time to write (a thank-you note) is a great opportunity to leave a positive impression on the interviewer.”
Buj advises sending the note by email. Keep it brief and thank everyone for their time. Re-emphasize your interest in the job, and say how excited you are about the next step.
You could also mention in the note something that came up during the interview that indicated you are a good match for the job.
Also, if there was something important that you forgot to mention during the interview, the thank-you note is a great way to bring that up.
What to expect during your interview with HR after interview with hiring manager is about knowing the different role of the hiring manager and the HR interviewer.
The hiring manager interview fleshes out how professionally and technically qualified you are for the job.
The HR manager looks at how well you fit in as a team player and potential recruit to the company’s mission and culture.
You should prepare for both interviews by doing research on the company, polishing up your social media presence, and rehearsing answers to difficult and challenging questions frequently asked of candidates.
Also, be prepared to ask questions of your own, and don’t forget to send a follow-up thank you note after each stage of the interview.
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