Why this matters:

Part of an HR generalist’s role may be to help with recruiting. They should understand how to review an applicant’s skill set and work history in order to determine if they are a good fit for an open role at your company. Additionally, an HR generalist should be able to determine if an applicant’s personality and workstyle aligns with your company’s culture.

What to listen for:

  • Proficient at evaluating skills and abilities
  • Familiarity with mitigating risks when hiring
  • Ability to understand the skills required for different roles

Why this matters:

The responsibility of terminating an employee may arise in an HR generalist's career. It is important for an HR generalist to have a strategy put in place that reduces the risk of the employee becoming irate, as well as proper responses if such behavior does arise. The candidate's answer should indicate that they understand how to handle these circumstances in order to avoid a liability for your company.

What to listen for:

  • Knowledge of employment and discrimination laws
  • Familiarity with the proper protocol for termination
  • Proficiency in mitigating risks

Why this matters:

HR generalists are responsible for onboarding new employees and integrating them with the team. They should have a solid understanding of the company culture and values, and be able to communicate that information to the new hire. An HR generalist should be able to help the new employee feel comfortable and act as a support for anything they may need.

What to listen for:

  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • Ability to understand and communicate the company culture
  • Empathetic nature

Why this matters:

This question is about the candidate’s ability to use their time efficiently. HR generalists can have busy days, as they are supporting senior management and ensuring that nothing is overlooked in the department’s daily operations. An HR generalist should be able to use their time wisely and stay calm in stressful situations.

What to listen for:

  • The ability to switch gears easily
  • Strong organizational skills
  • The ability to keep a level head in stressful situations

Why this matters:

HR generalists are in the business of people. As part of their job to uphold a positive environment for employees, they may have to mediate conflicts from time to time. This question addresses the candidate’s problem-solving skills, as well as their ability to communicate with empathy while also remaining firm.

What to listen for:

  • Strong problem-solving skills
  • The ability to be firm without escalating a situation
  • Strong listening skills

Why this matters:

Employees must feel safe in their work environment, and sexual harrassment should not be tolerated under any circumstamces. An HR generalist should understand applicable laws and how to protect the worker from retaliation. This is extremely important in preventing a hostile work environment and ensuring the safety of all employees.

What to listen for:

  • Understanding of how to enforce laws, regulations, and company policies
  • The ability to handle sensitive information
  • An approachable demeanor

Why this matters:

This is an opportunity for the candidate to showcase their own relevant strengths and other qualities. There are no right or wrong answers to this question. You are looking for the candidate to reveal their own values and approach to their career, which should align closely with your company’s mission and values.

What to listen for:

  • Values that align with your company’s culture and mission
  • Relevant strengths and other qualities that relate to the role
  • Examples of these qualities in action

Why this matters:

HR generalists know confidential information about employees, such as their contact details, salaries, performance, and other sensitive information. It is vital for HR generalists to know not only what constitutes information as confidential, but also what steps to take to ensure that it remains confidential.

What to listen for:

  • High level of discretion
  • Ability to determine what’s sensitive and what’s not
  • A firm understanding that gossip is not appropriate in the workplace

Why this matters:

The HR department has many legal responsibilities. This question shows how proactive the candidate is in staying informed about important news in their field. You are looking for the candidate to reference specific ways they would stay up to date with labor laws and regulations.

What to listen for:

  • An understanding of why it’s important to stay on top of industry news
  • A desire to keep learning
  • Examples of materials they read to keep up, such as HR publications or magazines
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