Going for HR interviews can go very differently depending on where you apply. That’s because you never know whether the hiring manager would ask people-related questions or technical questions. HR business partner interview questions are tricky because it’s a senior-level position.
Every organization has a different HR structure, so there’s a good chance they won’t have every HR position. That’s why the HR business partner position is found in medium to large-sized businesses and enterprises.
In any case, regardless of the position, the HR business partner’s duties and tasks remain the same. It’s crucial to prepare for the HR business partner interview beforehand, regardless of how much experience you have. If you're interested in learning more via video, then watch below. Otherwise, skip ahead.
In this article, we’ll go over the most used and critical HR business partner interview questions, along with the ideal answer process.
Let’s dive right in.
8 HR Business Partner Interview Questions and Answers
Depending on the HR business partner job description, your interview questions may vary because of different organizational structures and industries.
If you already have an excellent HR business partner resume, next you must learn everything you can about the interview process and prepare for your answers beforehand.
Interview Questions About Your HR Career
Here are some questions interviewers ask potential candidates regarding their HR careers:
1. Why Are You Applying for the HR Business Partner Position?
When you go over the introductory phase of the interview, the first question the recruiter will ask you is why you’re applying for the position. This isn’t a trick question; it’s only asked to see your initial reaction and whether you’ve prepared for the interview, as is expected.
Answering this question is how you establish a strong base for the entire interview. That’s why it’s critical to start with why this opportunity and job are right for you. You must have convincing traits, so the recruiter believes you want the HR BP position in their company.
The ideal way to answer this question is to delve into your HR career and background. Start by mentioning the reason you got into HR as a career and why you decided to pursue it further. Since you’re already pretty experienced, you have to develop a solid base by giving strong reasoning for your decision to become an HR professional.
Going into the details of your HR career, talk about your first HR role and how your career path went on after it. Mention any career goals and business objectives you achieved and what else you aim for. After that, you should mention that the HR business partner position is the next logical step in your career path if you’ve gone through the senior manager phase.
Furthermore, it is better to mention that getting a position in that particular company is your ideal career choice.
2. Are You Currently Applying for Any Other Positions or Jobs?
Many recruiters want to know what other roles or jobs you’ve applied for to gauge how serious you are about the position. While you can choose not to answer this question, it’s best to do so with complete honesty. That’s because the answer helps the recruiter determine the following two things.
- The level of dedication you have to build your HR career further
- The level of dedication you have for building that career at their particular company
For example, if you’ve also applied for any senior marketing or finance position, that would tell the recruiter you’re not invested in HR. On the other side, if you’ve applied for other HR business partners, HR directors, or any similar positions, that’s always a good sign to them.
Moreover, at this level of your career, they will check what other industries or company types you’ve applied to. For example, if you’ve developed an HR career in the automobile industry, it is better if you’ve applied to other automobile companies for the same or similar position.
Furthermore, if you’ve applied to non-competitor companies, you should mention that too. That tells the recruiter you’re only focused on their company in that space.
Interview Questions About HR Business Partner Job Requirements
Here are some questions that HR professionals ask potential candidates regarding the HR business partner's job description and duties:
3. According to You, What Would a Typical HR Business Partner Position Entail?
The HR business partner role is an advanced role that goes way beyond typical HR roles because you’re working with senior management. Roles like the HR generalist, HR manager, and HR coordinator have a straightforward job description, but the HR business partner role can change depending on the organization.
At this point, all job descriptions and requirements are custom-developed by the HR team of the company. That’s because advanced roles like HR BP are direct and to the point.
In any case, as a human resources business partner, you should know all the relevant HR roles and what they do, including your own. That’s why you should have a clear idea of what the company needs from you as an HR BP; make sure you relay all that and explain how you would manage each task and responsibility.
It’s also helpful to research what other companies expect from HR business partners. It would help you develop a complete idea of the scope of the job. You could also explain to the recruiter about any extra duties you can and should do as an HR BP to impress them.
In any case, it’s crucial to display that you have an exact idea of what to expect with the job.
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4. Do You Think You’re Adequately Skilled to Become a Human Resource Business Partner?
The skills question is often asked to assess whether you believe you’re equipped for the job in a proper way. This is your chance to show the recruiter that you’ve prepared for this role – show them that you have the necessary knowledge and skills required to become an HR BP.
There are a few things that every recruiter will expect, including great problem-solving, research, analytical, and good communication skills. That’s why you should talk about these skills while mentioning specific things, such as:
- HR functions and business operations you can do using your skills
- Overall competency
- Any assistance you’ve given in things like business strategy, people management, and more
- Understanding of various HR metrics and reports
- Developing HR agenda
- Using HR software
- Working on labor legislation
While mentioning the stuff above or other similar things, you should portray it in a way that shows your skills. Since you can’t provide an accurate representation of your skills, this is the next best way to showcase those skills.
In any case, avoid mentioning the skills and never talk about how skilled you are. Try to prove it by mentioning prior experience, projects you’ve worked on, and real-life case studies.
Interview Questions About the HR Business Partner Role
Below are some questions that interviewers ask job seekers regarding the HR business partner job role:
5. Do you Believe You’re Qualified to Become an HR Business Partner? Why?
This question is often asked to throw you off the balance if you’re answering the questions in a confident. It’s a pretty easy situation; you already know you’re qualified because otherwise, they wouldn’t have called you for the interview.
Therefore, you don’t have to worry about proving your worth all over again. First, start to talk about your overall qualifications in life and in your career. That includes your education and any certifications and courses you might have done over the years. You can also mention any certifications you’ve done in other subjects like social media, project management, and more.
After that, start to mention prior experience and what you worked the most on. For example, you can talk about talent acquisition, retention, employee relations issues, and more. Talk about any unique policy, issue, or professional task you worked on.
If you talk about tasks and duties that are also part of the HR BP job description, that’s even better. That way, you’ll provide them with proof that you know how to manage those duties.
6. Have You Worked on Any HR Strategy that was Designed to Support Organizational Business Strategies?
At this point, the recruiter will start to ask technical questions relevant to the HR BP role. It’s best to prepare for these questions beforehand by going through various topics, examples, and posts by other HR business partners.
This particular question gauges whether you have the appropriate experience and knowledge to jump right into the mix and start working. Furthermore, it helps the recruiters assess your process and how you manage to work on HR strategies.
The question here focuses on your understanding of business strategy in general and how it’s associated with HR. You should display a complete understanding of what business strategy is and how you can assist in developing it.
Furthermore, you should talk about the appropriate method for assessing existing strategies in the company. Using that information, you should talk about what the HR department can do more to further support the overall business strategy.
Moreover, mention the right way of measuring the results of said strategies.
7. Was there any Instance Where you Took an Unpopular Stance on Something You Believed was the Right Strategy for the Company?
This question aims to see what kind of a leader you are and how you express your opinions. Some people tend to keep their opinions and stances to themselves even if they’re right. If you’re one of the people who tend to give your opinion and take a solid stance, this is your opportunity to prove it.
Great companies value different opinions and strategies. Therefore, if there were any such situations where you had to take an unpopular stance based on your beliefs, explain that entire situation to the recruiters. Then explain why you kept your stance, why you believed it was right, and what you did about it. In the end, mention what happened at the end of the situation.
During this time, try to display a knowledge of key business, industry, and economic trends. Explain the importance of making data-based decisions and why it’s crucial when taking risks.
8. How Would You Manage the Work of an HR BP – Everything From the Strategic to the Tactical Side of Things?
This question is there so you can summarize what you’ve mentioned throughout the interview in one single answer. That’s because you’ll talk about the HR BP role, duties, your process, resources, and your overall career.
The best way to answer this question is by talking about a structured approach to work prioritization. That means setting up deadlines, following up, and managing time with the management team.
After that, you should talk about your creative method and how you use it to manage resources. Try to mention various resources like HR software, project management tools, and more.
Also, try to list down the differences between working reactively and proactively. In the end, talk about the importance of feedback on both ends.
How Do I Ace My HR Business Partner Interview? - Wrap Up
It’s easy to find general interview tips, questions, and answers online, but it’s hard to find information on the interview process for a specific job like HR BP.
To get a job offer today, job seekers need to go above and beyond in their interviews. It doesn’t matter if the job interview only has situational questions; you need to prepare for all sorts of questions.
It’s hard to find out what the interview will be about, but you can demand a rough idea from the hiring manager.
In any case, you have to show the recruiter that you deserve the HR Business Partner salary. Polish up on your HR skills and knowledge, and then look at the questions and answers above to develop appropriate responses.
After doing all that, you’ll know how to tackle HR Business Partner interview questions.
If you are new to Human Resources and are looking to break into an HR role, we recommend taking our HR Certification Courses, where you will learn how to build your skillset in human resources, build your human resources network, craft a great HR resume, and create a successful job search strategy.
Josh Fechter is the founder of HR.University. He’s a certified HR professional and has managed global teams across 5 different continents including their benefits and payroll. You can connect with him on LinkedIn here.