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HR Assistant Interview Questions

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  1. Can you tell me about your experience with human resource management systems? See answer
  2. How would you stay motivated while performing repetitive clerical tasks? See answer
  3. As an HR assistant, what experience do you have managing multiple calendars? See answer
  4. What methods do you use to maintain and uphold confidentiality? See answer
  5. How would you handle a situation in which employees consistently turned in their time sheets late? See answer
  6. Do you have experience helping other HR professionals hire and onboard new employees? Can you provide me with an example? See answer
  7. How would you describe your written communication skills as an HR assistant? What examples can you provide?
  8. An employee wants to opt-out of the 401(k) program, but the deadline to opt-out was last week. How do you approach the situation with them?
  9. What would you do if you notice recurring complaints about the same employee?
  10. Do you know what PTO stands for? How does it work?
  11. What is your proudest accomplishment as an HR professional so far?
  12. Do you have public speaking experience? Would you feel comfortable making presentations about changes to HR benefits or policies?
  13. Would you describe yourself as an outgoing person? How do you feel about interacting with new hires at employee orientations?
  14. What do you do outside of work to improve your skills and knowledge as an HR assistant?
  15. What experience do you have reviewing HR laws and regulations? Can you provide me with an HR law example?
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6 HR Assistant Interview Questions and Answers

Q:

Can you tell me about your experience with human resource management systems?

A:

Human resource management systems (HRIS) are used in HR departments to ensure that the team can efficiently manage and retrieve necessary information. Any HR assistant who assists managers and staff should be able to navigate this software. The candidate’s response should allow you to understand what programs they are familiar with and their proficiency level in each program. What to look for in an answer:

  • Level of expertise with specific human resource management systems
  • Examples of situations when the applicant has used these systems
  • Critical-thinking skills

Example:

“I have more than three years of experience using Oracle HRMS. I prefer that system because I can easily access payroll as well as performance management in one application.”

Q:

How would you stay motivated while performing repetitive clerical tasks?

A:

HR assistants typically perform the same duties every day, such as filing paperwork and assisting staff with general administrative questions. The ideal candidate will find ways to stay motivated while performing clerical tasks that can seem repetitive. The applicant’s response should allow you to gauge how much they enjoy office work as well as how they aim to improve their efficiency despite performing the same tasks each day. What to look for in an answer:

  • Self-motivation
  • Experience performing hands-on clerical tasks
  • Understanding of the importance of time management and efficiency

Example:

“In my past job as an HR assistant, I created daily goals for myself that kept me motivated. I try to find fun ways to improve my efficiency whenever I begin to feel like a task is getting repetitive.”

Q:

As an HR assistant, what experience do you have managing multiple calendars?

A:

In addition to managing their personal work schedule, an HR assistant will likely need to access multiple calendars throughout the company, such as when scheduling job interviews for people across several departments. The ideal applicant will have experience working with the schedules of multiple employees and office spaces to ensure that there is never a conflict when they set up a meeting. What to look for in an answer:

  • Confidence in oneself
  • Experience coordinating appointments and accessing multiple calendars
  • Excellent communication skills

Example:

“At my last job, I had access to each employee’s schedule along with the entire building’s calendar. I have six years of experience coordinating appointments within departments and scheduling meetings in conference rooms.”

Q:

What methods do you use to maintain and uphold confidentiality?

A:

HR assistants maintain sensitive files regarding visa and social security documentation, salary information and even banking information for direct deposits. They must quickly learn who has security clearance to access employees’ personal data. Does the applicant shred paperwork after it has been scanned into the computer? Identify the steps that the candidate takes to ensure that unauthorized individuals do not have access to employee files. What to look for in an answer:

  • Experience handling sensitive files
  • Ethical decision-making skills
  • Understands the importance of employee confidentiality

Example:

“In my last HR assistant position, I was in charge of maintaining new-hire documents, including social security numbers, addresses and full names. I would scan these documents into our HR management system before shredding them.”

Q:

How would you handle a situation in which employees consistently turned in their time sheets late?

A:

HR assistants must stay on top of the payroll, which sometimes requires having time sheets turned in promptly each week. The candidate’s answer will allow you to gauge how well they handle stressful situations and solve problems. It can also show their ability to communicate with employees. What to look for in an answer:

  • Demonstrates interpersonal skills
  • Ability to handle stressful situations
  • Experience creating incentives to motivate employees to submit paperwork promptly

Example:

“In this type of situation, I would work with management to create a bonus program for employees who submit their timesheets on time. The bonus will increase each week as they continue to submit their timesheets before the deadline.”

Q:

Do you have experience helping other HR professionals hire and onboard new employees? Can you provide me with an example?

A:

HR assistants are responsible for helping onboarding specialists and HR managers to evaluate job candidates, make hiring decisions and welcome new employees to the company. This question allows interviewers to gauge a candidate's level of experience in a key area of human resources. It also helps interviewers determine whether a candidate could contribute to successful hiring procedures.

A candidate's answer should emphasize:

  • Knowledge of onboarding procedures
  • Ability to perform a supportive role
  • Personability and teamwork

Here is one example of a quality candidate answer:

Example:

"Yes, I do have experience working with team members to hire and onboard job candidates. In my previous job as an HR assistant, I was responsible for writing, editing and posting job descriptions to job search websites. I also had the task of scheduling in-person interviews with candidates that the senior recruiter deemed qualified for the position.

Throughout candidate interviews, I had the job of greeting candidates in the lobby, giving them a tour of the office and introducing them to the HR manager. Once a candidate was hired, I arranged job training schedules with the new employee's department manager or supervisor."

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