38 HR Manager Interview Questions to Ask

HR managers are important members of your company. They deal with all the nitty-gritty details related to your people and ensure paychecks get paid, employees have health benefits, and that your people perform at optimal levels. Much of what they do often goes unappreciated, so it’s extra important that you find the right person when hiring for this role by asking the right HR manager interview questions. 

Here’s how to ensure you’re zeroing in on the best candidates when hiring an HR manager.

What does an HR Manager Do?

An HR manager is a go-to person for everything related to employees. This includes several responsibilities, such as recruiting, employee relations, talent management, performance management, training, and more.

They’re responsibilities often include:

  • Consistently recruiting best-in-class employees
  • Measuring the impact of new recruits and all employees
  • Choosing the onboarding system and process for new employees
  • Onboarding new employees
  • Work with management to resolve grievances and issues related to employees
  • Develop HR strategies that are in line with business goals
  • Create and maintain compensation and benefits programs
  • Build and foster a nurturing work environment
  • Create and foster the company culture and employee events
  • Ensure diversity goals are being met
  • Oversee and manage the performance review process
  • Develop training and employee development programs
  • Ensuring employees are aware of company policies
  • Ensuring legal compliance throughout the HR department and company
  • Handling workplace investigations, terminations, etc.
  • Reporting HR metrics to management and the C-suite 

HR Manager Interview Questions

Since the role of an HR manager can be broad, you’ll want to look for candidates that meet the specific requirements that your company needs. As you interview HR manager candidates, you’ll want to use the questions below to understand their various skills and experience across the different areas of human resources.

HR Manager Interview Questions for Payroll and Benefits

Payroll and benefits can be used to strategically build your company. Learn if your HR manager candidate has experience building compensation packages and diverse benefits programs that attract talent by asking the following questions.

  • How do you determine the optimal salary to be budgeted for recruiting?
  • Have you ever had to build compensation packages? How were these structured? Did they help in attracting top talent?
  • What kind of employee perks and benefits do you think are necessary to keep employees engaged and motivated?
  • Have you ever had to change payroll or benefits providers? What did you do to minimize the impact felt by employees?

HR Manager Interview Questions for Fostering a Diverse Environment and Culture Building

Building the culture of your company has become an increasingly important aspect of human resources. Here are questions you can use to learn about your HR manager candidates’ experience building diverse and engaging cultures.

  • What would be some ways you would help our company grow and scale while maintaining diversity?
  • Tell me about some of the initiatives you’ve put into place at other companies that have helped grow the culture in a positive way.
  • What does your ideal company culture look like? What would be your first step in getting us there?
  • Do you think there is a link between company culture and performance/output? Why or why not?
  • How do you ensure your company is sensitive and includes people of all cultures/backgrounds?
  • Have you ever had to handle a situation where someone or a group of people were insensitive to another employee’s race/religion/culture/background? How did you handle the situation? Would you handle it the same today or differently?
  • Do you think it’s important to include out-of-office activities to build a great culture?

HR Manager Interview Questions for Recruiting

Recruiting is a critical part of building a company. If you do not have an internal recruiting team, these tasks will fall under the purview of the HR manager. Use these questions to suss out whether a candidate has had experience working on the recruiting side of the talent lifecycle.

  • How do you ensure you present your hiring managers with the best possible applicants?
  • What technology do you think is most important to run an effective recruiting department?
  • Do you prefer to manage the entire recruiting function or leverage outsourced assistance?
  • Have you ever had to build an employer brand at your previous companies? What actions did you take to build a positive employer brand?
  • Describe the process you go through to ensure hiring managers and the recruiting/HR department are aligned in terms of workflow and requirements for candidate quality.
  • How do you ensure you find candidates that meet culture-add requirements and technical skills requirements?

HR Manager Interview Questions for Admin and People Operations

Administrative tasks make up a big enough portion of HR tasks that any candidate you decide to bring in for an interview should be experienced with them. Use these questions to learn how your HR manager candidate deals with the administrative and operational aspects of their job.

  • What is your preferred system to you use for talent management? Why?
  • With a combination of both strategic and day-to-day administrative tasks making up your work week, how do you prioritize your various tasks? 
  • How do you motivate yourself when faced with repetitive or tedious tasks?
  • If you were faced with an employee grievance that required your immediate attention, what would be your process for investigating and resolving the situation?
  • If a situation with a toxic employee was brought to your attention, what steps would you take to address the situation? And what would you do if a separation was inevitable?
  • Tell me about a time where office politics threatened to derail a project and you had to intervene. What did you do and what was the outcome?
  • What do you think are the most effective strategies for reducing employee churn?

HR Manager Interview Questions for Training & Development

Employee development programs are a great way to increase engagement and build long-term career paths at your company. Here are a few questions to help you learn how your candidates have used training and development to increase employee retention and productivity. 

  • Tell me about a time where you helped build a career path for an entry-level or junior employee using training and development programs. What was the outcome? 
  • What systems do you typically use to build training programs for employees?
  • Do you use training and development to reduce the impact of churn?
  • How do you measure the impact of employee training?

HR Manager Interview Questions for Performance Management

Managing performance appraisals and outcomes is part of the responsibility of the HR manager. Use these interview questions to determine if your HR manager candidates have the qualifications and experience to manage employee performance.

  • What steps do you take to make sure that different departments are measuring employee performance?
  • What systems or processes do you put in place to make performance reviews as easy as possible for different departments?
  • If an employee is underperforming, how would you handle that situation?
  • What strategies have you seen that link performance management and compensation packages that you really like? Would you try to implement something similar here?

HR Manager Interview Questions for Onboarding

Onboarding is a responsibility that falls on HR. Your HR manager must be able to dictate a proper workflow for new hires as they acclimate and get up-to-speed at your company. Providing a warm and effective welcome is central to getting a new hire productive quickly.

  • What do you do to ensure that new hires have an incredible onboarding experience?
  • What measures do you put in place to check-in with new hires within the first 90 days?
  • How do you measure the impact of onboarding? 
  • Describe your ideal onboarding experience.
  • Tell me about the worst onboarding experience you’ve ever seen or been a part of. Looking back, what would you do differently to improve the process?

Final Thoughts: HR Manager Interview Questions

HR managers are responsible for your company’s most important resource, its people. These HR manager interview questions are a great way to assess the areas of strength for your candidates, as well as their weaknesses.  Check out our webinar to learn how you can leverage your recruiting process to attract diverse talent and hire the best HR managers. 

Further reading