List of HR Generalist Interview Questions

When you’re interviewing for positions in your human resources department like HR Generalist, it’s particularly important to be able to assess all candidates using the same data (or scoring). This is where structured interviews come in. In a structured interview, questions are determined in advance and consistent. In unstructured interviews, the questions are not set in advance or may come from a loose set of notes from a hiring manager.

How to Interview and Select your HR Generalist 

Based on the qualifications you’re looking for, your HR Generalist interview questions should be open-ended but also structured so that candidates may provide specific information that will distinguish them from the other candidates you’re interviewing for the position. Asking the right questions during the interview is crucial to selecting the right candidates to hire.

Typically a salaried position, human resource generalists may or may not oversee and supervise a staff of employees depending on the structure of your HR department. As generalists in their HR roles, these individuals often do a bit of everything including benefits, compensation, recruiting and handling employee relations issues on a daily basis. The responsibilities of an HR Generalist in this role are very broad, from location forecasting and budgeting, recruiting and interviewing, compliance to overseeing EEOC investigations and claims. Human Resource Generalists sometimes process payroll but are less administrative than coordinator or specialist roles. Often they are cross-trained in the administrative tasks for redundancy and in case of emergencies.

Interview Questions to Ask Human Resources Generalist Candidates 

Below are a list of Interview questions for Human Resources Generalist to get you started. You can access our downloadable resource called for more interview tips and downloadable interview forms to use during the hiring process.

1) Tell us a bit about your work background, and then give us a description of how you think it relates to our current opening.

2) Describe a process or system that you improved so internal customers/employees would be better served.

3) Describe your experience working with highly confidential information. How would you handle an employee who requests “confidential” information from you?

4) Based on what you know about our organization, how would you describe our company culture?

5) What do you think would be the biggest challenge for you in this role?

6) Can you tell us about your experience in creating or implementing new company policies or programs? Given the opportunity, would you have done anything differently?

7) When faced with a challenge like improving employee morale, what’s the first step you would take in developing a strategy to do so?

8) In your past experience, what top attributes did you look for when screening or interviewing candidates? How did you identify them?

9) Can you tell us about your experience with collecting data and creating reports on staff performance?

10) After learning about this opportunity, what made you take the next step and apply for the job?

Once the interviews for the job are completed, it’s up to you and your team to decide on which of your top prospects is the one that you are going to offer the job. The key when interviewing and selecting Human Resource Generalist candidates is to be sure of the job requirements and most important skills and abilities to ensure you are selecting the most qualified and capable person for the HR Generalist job you have an opening for.

Grab our downloadable HR Generalist Interview Guide along with a handful of other helpful human resources interview questions guides to help staff up your HR team.

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell (@jmillermerrell) is a workplace change agent, author and consultant focused on human resources and talent acquisition living in Austin, TX. Recognized by Forbes as a top 50 social media influencer and is a global speaker. She’s the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource and host of the Workology Podcast.

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