Tags: Career Guidance, HR, career-guidance-hr...

The interview is booked. All that is standing in the way of your next HR job is the interview….

When applying for any HR job, no matter what level you’re at, you’re bound to be asked some competency based questions.

With over 12 years of experience specialising in HR recruitment, I have compiled a list with my team of the most frequently asked competency based interview questions for HR interviews.

Our 9 favourite competency based interview questions for HR

  1. “Name an instance when you have had a negative reaction from one of your procedures and policies that you have implemented and what did you do to rectify the situation?”

  2. “Give an example of a time you have dealt with a conflict between employees and what did you do in this situation?”

  3. “Tell me about a time when you have dealt with a complex Employee Relations case, and what was the outcome?”

  4. “Tell me about a time you have had to have a difficult conversation with a manager?”

  5. “Tell me about a time when you have had to influence a manager round to your way of thinking”

  6. “Tell me about a time when you have had to manage a busy workload and meet expectations on delivery.

  7. “Tell me about a time when you have helped another group entity in a consultative way to shape a proposal or decide on an issue.”

  8. “How do you measure HR’s actions and how do they influence a commercial outcome?”

  9. "Tell me about a time when you have had to negotiate a salary change with a manager, what was the outcome?"

How to answer competency based interview questions

We recommend that you follow the 4 step STAR technique.

You may be familiar with the STAR method as it is the most tried and tested method for answering competency based interview questions effectively. Here’s an explanation of how the STAR technique works.

STAR is used to structure your answers into 4 core steps.

S - Situation – Describe the situation.

T - Task – What was your task? What were YOU responsible for?

A – Action – What action(s) did YOU take.

R- What were the results?

For further information on the STAR technique, including the #1 tip to make you stand out at the interview, check out our blog.

Need some further advice for preparing for your next interview?

So, you’ll have the competency based interview questions for HR nailed on - but what about the rest of the interview?

Preparing people for interviews is something that we do every day. According to CV-Library there were 16% more applications made in 2019 than in Q3 2018 and this is estimated to increase in 2020. With this in mind, we thought we’d share our top tips for how to prepare for a job interview. Give yourself the best possible chance of landing your dream job and a brand new challenge for 2020.

Download our comprehensive guide to preparing for your next job interview.

We also have a short blog outlining 4 steps you can take today to prepare for your interview.


Now, are you ready to put those polished interview skills to the test? If you’re seeking a new start in 2020, check out our wide range of HR jobs.

Browse HR Jobs

About the author 

Mark has over 12 years of experience in HR recruitment. Based in our Leicester office, he recruits HR professionals across East and West Midlands, Milton Keynes and Cambridgeshire.

He regularly places people in HR jobs at all levels from HR Administrator through to HR Director.

If you’d like to speak to Mark about jobs in HR, then contact him here.

If you live elsewhere in the UK then don’t hesitate to get in touch with our colleagues across the UK in Glasgow, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and Brighton.