Why you need to take your HR interview seriously


Professional interviewers can be broadly divided into two categories: hiring managers and HR managers. Hiring managers tend to be experts in the role you’re interviewing for, and will ask questions of a technical or operational nature. HR managers, on the other hand, are more interested in the company’s values and culture, so will be looking at things like team chemistry and transferrable skills. Sean Li, Associate Director of Robert Walters Shanghai will share with us why you need to take your HR interview seriously.

Why HR interviewers need to be taken seriously

In some companies, the HR interview takes place before the hiring manager’s interview. This means that HR can act as a powerful influence on the next round, especially where the interviewer is a senior member of staff of long standing and influence. 

In some institutions where the HR person is really embedded in the business and takes a very hands-on approach, they can actually have a power of veto on chemistry grounds over a candidate who is otherwise technically competent. 

Two different styles of questions to prepare for 

“HR interviews tend to be more driven by company values, while interviews with hiring managers are more operationally and skills focused,” says Sean, “So you need to take care to tailor your answers accordingly.” 

Finally, Sean advises not to try and use the HR interview to negotiate your package. “If you have any questions around compensation, bonus, job title, career progression, promotion and so on, you should always run these past your recruiter first so you’re both on the same page and the recruiter can serve your interests as best as possible. But do take the HR round seriously – it’s an opportunity to ask about culture and to show that you want to invest yourself in your future employer.”

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