Human Resources Interview: Mistakes To Avoid

Carl Mueller

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The Human Resources interview is often the first step in the job interview process.

It’s also one of the steps that job searchers tend to look at as being unimportant. Job searchers who treat the HR interview as being unimportant risk losing out on jobs.

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been helping a job candidate prepare for a job interview and have had to convince them that the Human Resources interview that they are preparing for is one that they actually need to take seriously.

Many people seem to think that they are smarter than the HR person they are going to interview with and think that they can confuse them with technical jargon and bluff their way past HR to get to the hiring manager.

If you are not making it past the HR interview stage for various jobs you are applying for, you need to understand the differences between interviewing with an HR interviewer and the hiring manager.

HR is brought into the interview process to represent the company and to determine whether or not you are a fit for the organization.

Here are some things you should consider when preparing for a Human Resources interview.

    1. Human Resources can prevent you from getting hired.

    I’ve seen cases where the HR representative prevents the hiring manager from hiring someone who the hiring manager wanted. HR can have significant input into the hiring process in some companies and in some cases can be the final say as to whether or not you get hired regardless of whether you interview with them first or last and regardless of how badly the hiring manager wants you.

    2. The Human Resources interview will assess your suitability to join the company.

    Before a company invests potentially tens of thousands of dollars (or more) by hiring you, they are going to ensure you will fit within the organization. If you can’t answer questions about yourself, why you want to join the company and other HR-type questions why would they hire you? The questions may seem trivial to you but they aren’t to the HR person interviewing you, trust me.

    3. Understand how Human Resources can help you get the job.

    I’ve seen some HR reps who tell me on the phone that they particularly like one candidate over another and basically tell me that they are going to try to steer the hiring manager towards that candidate and away from the one they don’t like as much. They aren’t necessarily playing favorites, they’ve simply decided that one candidate suits the company better than another. HR can be your advocate if you take them seriously.

    4. People hire people who they like.

    All things being equal, a company will someone they like over someone who they don’t like as much. When two candidates are equal in all areas, a company will hire the person that they feel will be a better fit in their organization. It’s really that simple. Performing well during the Human Resources interview can only help your chances at getting the job.

    5. Don’t assume the HR rep doesn’t know what you know.

    Unless you know the Human Resources person interviewing you or unless you’ve seen a copy of their resume, how you can tell what they know and what they don’t know? Don’t assume that they won’t understand your business or profession or that you’ll confuse them by using technical jargon. For all you know, they may have done your job in the past and be very familiar with your job. They may interview people with your skills regularly so believing that you can confuse them by mentioning technical terms and phrases might end up costing you when they see right through it.

Carl Mueller is an Internet entrepreneur and professional recruiter who wants to help you find your dream career.

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