HR Situational interview Questions

Situational interview questions are the most tricky part of any job interview. It becomes even more complicated when applying for an HR manager post.

HR manager situational interview questions offer employers insight into how you would deal with day-to-day HR management issues. They also assess whether you have the required skills to accomplish various responsibilities and duties of an HR manager or not.

HR managers have to handle different types of people and situations daily. They need to be able to find solutions to various problems and prevent potential conflicts. Situational interview questions and answers enable employers to assess whether you have the required competencies or not. So, if you want to pursue a career in HR management, you need to be prepared for such questions.

This blog post is a complete guide to situational interview questions for an HR position. It will provide you with a list of common questions asked in such interviews, along with sample answers. Read them to get an idea of how you should frame your answers. The situational questions we are going to discuss are related to:

  • Human Resource Management
  • Leadership
  • HR Analytics
  • Communication skills

Let’s jump into the article.

List of Situational Interview Questions for HR Position: Human Resource Management

Here is a list of situational interview questions that employers might ask you for an HR management position:

What would you do if you made a blunder that no one noticed? Would you admit it or let it go?

We all make mistakes as we are not an embodiment of perfection. The thing that matters is how we react to our mistakes. If you make a mistake at work and no one notices it, the best thing to do would be to take responsibility for it and fix it. Don’t try to hide your mistake, as it will only create more problems in the future.

If you find the circumstances not suitable for disclosing your mistake and everything is operating smoothly, you can take some time to maintain the status quo. You can share the situation with your team at a later stage.

For answering this question, share an incident from your past where you have made a mistake. Highlight how you handled the whole situation and told your team about that mistake. You need to show that you can learn from your mistakes and take responsibility for them. It will show your employer that you are sincere and honest.

How would you ensure quality work when working with multiple clients simultaneously?

It is another question related to management that allows employers to evaluate your ability to work with multiple clients. As an HR manager, you often have to work with multiple clients simultaneously.

Working with multiple clients at the same time is a perplexing task as you have to juggle between different tasks. You need to prioritize your work and effective time management. This question lets the interviewers know whether they can handle multiple tasks simultaneously or not.

To answer this question, you need to highlight that you are capable of multitasking. You also need to show that you can schedule various tasks and meet deadlines. Mention project management tools that you are familiar with and how they help you manage your work.

How would you accomplish a task you have never done before?

This question allows the interviewer to know about your ability to take on new challenges. No doubt new challenges are tough to face, but an HR manager must be competent enough to solve any issue. As an HR professional, you often have to face obstacles that you have never faced before.

Companies often have to go through changes, and they need HR managers who can confront obstacles associated with them. Candidates should have a positive attitude toward a change.

How to answer situational interview questions

Answering this question requires you to show that you are not afraid of new challenges. Share your experience of taking on a new challenge and how you coped with it. Describe the steps you took to accomplish the task. Mention the difficulties you faced and how your problem-solving skills enabled you to overcome them.

What would you do if one of your team members was not meeting your expectations?

This question allows the interviewer to know whether you can handle underperforming employees. HR managers need to ensure that all the employees perform well and meet the organization’s expectations.

Having employees that are not meeting the expectations is common in every organization. As an HR manager, you need to deal with such employees efficiently to achieve the business goals. You can also give employees a deadline to improve their performance. If they still don’t meet your expectations, you can take disciplinary action against them.

Explain to employers how you identify areas where employees need improvement and how you work with them to improve their performance. Tell them how you provide such employees additional training or support to compensate for the lack of skills or knowledge.

Here are some more questions related to HR management that you can expect in an HR manager interview:

  • What would you do if you failed to accomplish the required task?
  • How would you create a recruiting strategy to hire a qualified candidate?
  • What would you do to keep key employees who are crucial for a positive work environment?
  • How would you assess the interpersonal skills of candidates during the hiring process?
  • How would you get along with a difficult manager?
  • How would you promote a positive company culture?

List of Situational Interview Questions for HR Position: Leadership

Let’s move on to the leadership questions.

What would you do if you encountered disagreement within your team influencing your work?

This question assesses your ability to find solutions to disagreements without disrupting your work. HR professionals manage various daily tasks, and they need to be able to find answers to problems without getting involved.

HR professionals manage such situations by conducting meetings with both parties, listening to their perspectives, and trying to find a middle ground. They also consider the company’s policies and procedures while handling such situations.

As an HR manager, you will often encounter situations where you have to handle disagreements between employees. You need to be able to resolve them without taking sides. You also have to show that you can take a step back and look at the situation objectively. Once you have identified the root cause of the disagreement, you can take measures to resolve it.

You can share a real-life example of such a situation with the interviewer. Describe the situation and how you handled it. Mention the steps you took to resolve the disagreement. The key here is to show that you were able to find a solution without getting involved in the disagreement.

Here are some more situational interview questions related to leadership skills:

  • How would you motivate employees to achieve better results?
  • How would you develop a training program for new employees?
  • What would you do if an employee won’t follow your instructions?

List of Situational Interview Questions for HR Position: HR Analytics

Here are some questions related to HR analytics that employers often ask in situational interviews:

  • What would you do to measure success metrics for any project?
  • How would you develop a strategy to reduce employee turnover?
  • How would you use data to assess the effectiveness of training programs?
  • What performance indicators would you track to gauge the effectiveness of the HR department?
  • How would you collect useful data for making informed decisions?
  • How would you analyze the data to find the root cause of employee absenteeism?

List of Situational Interview Questions for HR Position: Cross-Functional Teamwork

Here are some common HR manager interview questions related to cross-functional teamwork:

Talk about how you would manage teams from different departments working on the same project?

Employers want to ensure that the candidate they hire can manage conflicts and different points of view to get the job done. Without the ability to see the big picture and manage a broad range of employees, the project could stall or even fail. HR professionals need to find a way to get everyone working together efficiently.

While answering this question, candidates should describe various ways to promote collaboration among project team members. For example, you can discuss how they would establish common goals for the project and ensure that everyone is aware of the objectives.

You can also talk about how you would encourage communication between team members and facilitate regular meetings to ensure that everyone is on the same page. Talk about conflict resolution strategies and how you would handle team members who are not working well together.

Here are some additional human resources interview questions related to the team working among teams of various departments:

  • How would you handle employee disputes?
  • What do you do when team members are not working together effectively?
  • How would you encourage collaboration among team members from various departments?

List of Situational Interview Questions for HR Position: Communication skills

Let’s take a look at some situational interview questions related to communication skills:

How would you satisfy an angry customer’s complaint?

This question enables employers to learn about the candidate’s communication capability. Communication skills are a must for HR professionals since they will be dealing with different types of people daily. They need to diffuse tense situations, listen carefully, and understand what the other person is saying. They also need to be able to explain things clearly and concisely.

When answering this question, candidates should describe how they would handle an angry customer. You should talk about listening to the customer’s complaint and understanding their perspective to grasp the issue better. You should also explain how you share the company’s policies and procedures clearly and concisely to the customer. You can also talk about how you would offer a satisfactory solution to the problem so the customer feels valued.


Here’s a list of most FAQs about situational questions:

How do you answer a situation-based question in an HR interview?

You can use the STAR method to answer a situation question. When answering a situational interview question, you need to understand the situation that the interviewer is trying to assess. Without understanding the situation, you will not be able to answer the question correctly.

After understanding the situation, you need to describe what you need to do to handle that specific situation. Then, you should describe the actions you would take to resolve the issue and what positive outcome you would hope to achieve. Share the possible outcomes of the situations and what you would do if things did not go as planned. You can also share your experience of handling a similar situation in the past.

What is a situational interview in HRM?

A situational interview is a technique in which the interviewer asks the job candidate to describe how they would handle various hypothetical workplace situations. Situational questions are often used in HR interviews to assess a candidate’s ability to think on their feet, handle difficult situations, and make sound decisions.

The interviewer is looking to see if the candidate has the appropriate skills, knowledge, and attitude to excel in the job. Such interviews also help employers to assess the management style of the candidate.

What are HR behavioral questions?

Behavioral interview questions are designed to evaluate a job applicant’s behavior to determine if they are a good fit for the HR job. These questions assess how a candidate has handled various work situations in the past and give the employer insight into how the candidate might handle similar situations in the future.


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 an excellent HR resume, and create a successful job search strategy.


Josh Fechter
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.