37 Questions to Ask an HR Business Partner (With Sample Answers)
An HR business partner is a high-level human resources worker who also knows a lot about the company where they work. HR professionals who want to move up in their careers and make more money often do this. Because an HR business partner usually has a lot of technical business knowledge and a lot of HR experience, it can be helpful to think about how to best show off your skills in a job interview. In this article, we look at 37 possible interview questions for an HR business partner. Seven of them have sample answers.
Here are some common interview questions that might be asked of an HR business partner:
- What makes you want this job?
- What do you already know about our company?
- What are some of the best and worst things about you?
- What are your short-term work goals?
- Do you prefer to work alone or with a group?
- What do you value in a company’s culture?
- Please tell us how your business works.
- What are your long-term goals for your job?
- How much do you want to make?
- Do you have any questions for us?
Questions about work and history from the past
Here are some possible interview questions about an HR business partner’s experience and background:
- How long have you worked in human resources?
- How much do you know about HR software?
- Please talk about one of the HR jobs you’ve held in the past.
- How far did you get in your schooling?
- Have you ever had to make decisions about something?
- Tell me about a time when you tried to solve a problem but it didn’t work.
- Do you have any professional certifications?
- How big were the groups you’ve led before?
- What kinds of companies have you worked for before?
- How have you helped HR departments at your past jobs get better?
Here are some detailed questions an HR business partner can answer during an interview:
- What do you plan to do first if we hire you as our HR business partner?
- Do you have any ideas about how to get people to do more?
- How do you keep up with changes in labor laws?
- When you’re too busy at work, what do you do?
- Tell me about a time when it was hard for you to implement a new HR policy.
- How do you handle a disagreement between more than one employee at work?
- How do you make sure you know everything that’s going on in a company?
- How has your past work in human resources (HR) made you ready for this job?
- Please tell us how some of your skills will help you do this job.
- How do you start a project that will require more research?
Sample questions and answers for an interview with an HR business partner
Here are some examples of how an HR business partner can answer common interview questions:
1.How well do you know the rules and practices of business in your field?
This question could be asked by the interviewer to find out how much the candidate knows about business. This is important for an HR business partner because they usually need to know a lot about the business world and the procedures that are common in their industry. To answer this question, you can say that you know how businesses work and list any specific credentials, like education, that show your expertise.
Example: “I’ve been in charge of three sales-focused businesses, so I know a lot about how they work. I also have a master’s degree in business administration, which has taught me a lot about how businesses run.”
2. Which HR metrics do you use most often?
With this question, an employer can find out how well a candidate knows how HR works. Since an HR business partner is a high-level employee in the department, employers often make sure they know about important industry concepts. To answer this question, list the HR metrics you’ve used in the past that worked well.
Example: “I have a lot of experience measuring success and progress with HR metrics like quality of hire and cost per hire. Because we were growing quickly at my last job, I used employee turnover and the time it took to hire people the most.”
3. Please tell me how you handle conflicts at work.
This question can show how well a candidate can deal with workplace conflicts, which is a key part of working in HR. It’s important for a high-level HR professional to know how to solve problems and get employees back to work. You can talk about a method you use and give an example of a problem you solved at work in the past when answering this question.
Example: “When I disagree with someone at work, I always start by listening to each person carefully, one at a time, so I can fully understand the situation. At my last job, for instance, two people couldn’t agree on who was supposed to make a certain call. After talking to each employee, I realized that the conflict started because only one employee got an email update, which led to a misunderstanding. I told both sides about the information, and the problem went away.”
4. How do you choose which programs to use to train new employees?
This is a question an interviewer might ask to find out how a candidate deals with HR. HR departments often have to train new employees, so how a candidate answers this question can show how qualified they are. You can answer this question by telling what you want from a training program.
Example: “I have a lot of experience running training sessions, and I always pick programs that use demonstrations and get everyone involved. I think that learning by doing is one of the best ways to learn, so I like programs that give candidates the chance to learn their jobs by doing them.”
5. What do you think are the best ways to keep workers?
Employers can ask this question to find out what a candidate cares about and how well they understand how a business works. This is because an HR business partner usually looks for ways to make a company better, like making plans to keep employees. You can answer this question by telling us two or three ways you keep employees working for you.
Example: “Giving money and pay raises on a regular basis is one of my favorite ways to keep employees. I think this is one of the best ways to show your staff how much you appreciate them and keep them happy. At my last job, I helped set up a system where employees who met or beat their sales goals got cash bonuses. The number of people who stayed with the company was the highest it has ever been.”
6. Tell me about one of the hardest things you’ve had to do in human resources.
This question can show how well a candidate can handle stressful situations, which can be a big part of working in HR. The answer a candidate gives can also show how much experience they have, since people who have dealt with harder problems may have been in the field longer. Talk about a problem you helped to solve to answer this question.
Example: “When my old company had a high turnover rate and couldn’t figure out why for months, it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in my HR career. I talked to a few employees about how happy they were with their jobs to figure out what to do. I found that our company paid people in a certain job much less than the average for the industry. After looking at the budget, we were able to raise the pay for that job and see that people stayed with the company longer.”
7. What do you expect from the company’s top people and the heads of other departments?
This is a question an employer might ask to see how good a candidate is at being a leader and talking to people. This is because HR business partners often work with the heads of other departments and can sometimes use what they learn to improve HR and business operations as a whole. To answer this question, you can talk about how you want to work with other company leaders and how you have worked with other company leaders in the past.
Example: “In my past jobs, I always met with department heads often to get feedback on how HR worked and ideas on how to make it better. At my new job, I want to make sure that all of the HR tasks I take care of are in line with the business’s current practices and strategies. To do this, I plan to keep all of the department heads’ doors open.”
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