Looking for HR intern interview questions to help you break into human resources? You came to the right place. During the job searching process, selecting and applying for opportunities is not enough. You have to also face the hiring process and ace it to achieve what you are striving for.
Interviews are an integral part of every hiring process, and you need to prepare smartly to satisfy the interviewer's queries. However, understanding the interview process becomes more critical when it comes to an opportunity like a human resources intern role. After all, you need to know how the recruitment team conducts interviews to gain the position and to become proficient at taking interviews one day yourself.
The HR intern role is an entry-level role that helps individuals break into the human resources field. It allows the individual to understand how the HR department functions and what duties it handles. As an HR intern, you won't be handling major responsibilities. Instead, you help with small tasks around the department and receive crucial mentorship from senior HR roles such as HR managers and HR executives.
This article will take you through the hiring process for an HR intern position, the different categories of questions an HR intern is asked, and how each category assesses a particular aspect of the candidate.
What Does the Interview Process for an HR Intern Role Look Like?
During the initial screening process, hiring managers and recruitment specialists go through all the submitted applications. The selected candidates are then called for interviews.
The process for hiring an HR intern and the interview procedure is briefly described in the following steps.
Step 1 - Interested individuals send job applications accompanied by essential documents like cover letters and experience letters to the organization's human resources department.
Step 2 - Recruitment specialists and hiring managers go through the applications and review essential details of potential candidates like prior experience, education background, and skills. Then, they select applications with the most relevant background and skillset based on the job description.
Step 3 - The recruitment team sends invitations to shortlisted candidates for a brief interview to know more about them and behavioral assessments.
Step 4 - Recruitment specialists conduct interviews with candidates and assess them based on factors such as work ethic, lessons learned from prior professional experiences, and management beliefs. Then, they shortlist a few that would go ahead in the process.
Step 5 - Hiring managers conduct an on-site technical interview with shortlisted candidates to assess each individual's skills and technical knowledge.
Step 6 - Once all candidates have gone through the interviews, important stakeholders such as HR executives and hiring managers gather to select the most eligible candidate based on performance throughout the hiring process and factors like professional competence, salary expectations, and aptitudes.
Step 7 - Once finalized, the recruitment team reaches out to the finalized candidate and sends them the final offer on behalf of the organization.
HR Intern Interview Questions
The HR intern role is the most basic position within the human resources department. Since it is the first role individuals occupy at the start of their journey as an HR professional, interview questions revolve around their education, interpersonal skills, managerial abilities, and communication skills. Additionally, some questions focus on technical HR knowledge if the interviewee has done certifications.
Many platforms can provide you with interview questions that recruitment teams at popular organizations ask for the HR intern position. For example, Glassdoor allows users to submit interview questions they asked or faced during interviews themselves. Additionally, many HR professionals keep blogs that guide newcomers to the field by providing them insight into the interview processes.
Some of the most common questions asked during interviews for the HR intern role are given below. They are categorized based on their nature, and each category is briefly explained.
As an HR professional in the making, you need to possess solid leadership abilities. After all, an HR intern goes on to occupy senior human resources roles and has to lead essential initiatives while handling their everyday duties. Therefore, the interviews try to assess if you have a leadership mindset and how you would take on initiatives.
In an HR intern interview, they ask questions to see if you have ever been in a leadership position. Additionally, they try to understand your motivations to lead and what strategies you use to ensure an effective team. Since the HR intern role is the most entry-level human resources position, most of these questions would be from experiences from previous internships or during your time at education institutions.
The questions can also present imagined scenarios and ask how you would react, address, and handle the situations. Some common interview questions belonging to this category are given below.
- How do you ensure that your team knows the aims and outcomes of the project?
- What factors do you assess a team member on?
- How do you strategize on projects with limited resources like time or staffing?
- What collaborative frameworks would you use to ensure that the team is streamlined?
- How would you encourage your team members when you sense their morale declining?
- How would you react if a team member didn't perform as expected?
- How do you describe your leadership style?
- Do you feel that verbal communication is more effective than written?
- What values are essential for you as a leader?
- Do you prefer taking up projects you don't have any experience with?
Once you confidently answer questions like those above, you can come off as an individual the department can trust with bigger duties. In addition, such questions assess your ability to prioritize outcomes and adjust your planning to deliver the expected results.
Problem-Solving Related Questions
Even as an HR intern, you have to deal with many different problems during an average workday. Additionally, you would have to deal with larger organizational issues through strategizing and planning. Therefore, the interviewer would want to judge your problem-solving skills and how you analyze situations and form a solution based on constraints and resources.
Interviews with a problem-solving component assess your general methods of handling challenges. Apart from asking for previous experiences, interviews present you with some common problems a resources department faces regularly. Alternatively, the interviewer gives questions where they present the problem and solution. In such questions, the candidate for the HR intern position has to present their criticism of the solution.
Problem-solving questions are a crucial part of an HR internship interview, and it is integral for you to understand and prepare for them. Here are some common questions a candidate faces in an HR intern interview.
- How do you identify a problem within a process?
- What is your approach to analyzing a problem and formulating a solution?
- Describe a situation where you pinpointed an issue and then led its resolution.
- How would you assess departmental efficiency and effectiveness within a human resources department?
- Would you want to take a solution's implementation to its very end and then gauge its effectiveness? Or would you instead monitor it throughout and restrategize if possible?
- How do you choose from multiple solutions based on certain constraints like budget, time, and human resources?
- What does your immediate reaction to roadblocks look like?
Such questions show your analytical mindset and if you can compare different approaches to decide on the best one. First, however, you should gain relevant human resources knowledge to sharpen your problem-solving skills as an HR professional.
Interpersonal Skills Related Questions
Every human resource professional must regularly interact with employees from the department and outside it. Therefore, HR interns to have basic interpersonal skills that they can further hone with further professional experience. The interviewer will ask you questions about how you interact and communicate with others and how you address social situations.
Interviewers wanting to assess your interpersonal abilities ask questions about team projects you have worked on or your other collaborative initiatives. The questions focus on whether you possess a collaborative mindset and your opinion on strategizing teamwork. Additionally, the interview may present scenarios and ask how you'd behave under them.
Interpersonal skills are essential for every human resources position, and the HR intern role is no different. Some of the different questions you may face during an HR intern interview are given below:
- How would you react if a colleague reaches out to you and discusses a problem they have with your behavior?
- How do you take criticism and learn from it?
- How do you mediate conflict in the workplace? Would you take part in its resolution or stand back?
- If you have trouble collaborating with a colleague, how do you make the situation work?
- How well do you think you are communicating any reservations to a more senior authority?
The above questions help establish whether you can handle different social situations with colleagues and how patiently you deal with them. You should read about HR best practices beforehand and form your answer according to what you learn. Additionally, you should participate in extracurricular activities and sharpen your soft skills.
Technical Skills Related Questions
An internship gives you the necessary professional experience, and part of the experience includes becoming familiar with relevant software and digital tools. However, an HR intern needs to possess basic technical skills to start from simpler tasks and move on to bigger duties as they learn more serious tools. Therefore, the interviewer will assess if the candidate has the necessary technical experience.
Interviewers will ask about your familiarity with tools for different purposes such as data management and text processing. Furthermore, the questions would see if you can choose the right tools and make important decisions when facing a certain challenge. Additionally, they can give you a scenario and ask what strategy you would form to solve it.
Possessing broad technical skills opens the door to many HR internship opportunities for you. Some standard technical questions you can expect in an HR intern interview are below.
- Do you have any experience with drafting emails with different templates and formats?
- What do you know and understand about data confidentiality?
- What do you think an ideal human resource management strategy looks like?
- Are you familiar with or have any working experience with database management systems?
- What do you know about local labor laws?
The above questions gauge your technical prowess and what your professional growth trajectory should look like once you get in as an HR intern. Therefore, you should learn to use diverse technical tools, especially within a human resources context. Such a learning opportunity and experience are invaluable for an HR intern.
Once you go through the interview questions for an entry-level position like the HR intern role, you can prepare more confidently. Additionally, the questions clarify what professional skills you would need to strengthen to achieve your career goals. After you have understood the interview process, look for ways to build your qualifications and skills so you can stand out among a pool of candidates as a potentially productive member.
Apart from going through interview questions, you should also ensure that you appear confident during interviews. Additionally, you should ensure that every answer is straightforward and clear. Since the recruitment team is interviewing multiple candidates at a time for the HR intern role, they look for traits that can make the particular interviewee stand out. By preparing intelligently, you can ensure that you are that individual.
Apart from individuals looking for a human resources intern position, the interview questions are helpful for HR professionals too. They would help them form better interview strategies that help assess a candidate better. Asking the right questions during the hiring process improves its quality and saves the recruitment team from wasting time and effort.
If you are new to Human Resources and are looking to break into an HR intern 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 an excellent 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.