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How to successfully navigate the HRD interview

HR is a complex area; department directors need to possess a very wide skill set to successfully manage the aspects of this role

HRD interviews can be challenging for candidates; however, with the right know-how and preparation, there is a good chance you will impress.

HR is a complex area; therefore, department directors need to possess a very wide skill set to successfully manage the many – and often conflicting – aspects of this role. When you attend an HRD interview, you will be intensely grilled on your skills and experience to confirm you have what it takes to run this vital department successfully.

Do not expect an easy ride

Make sure you go into the interview fully aware that you will be asked some difficult and challenging questions. The interviewers are not being mean; instead, they will ask these questions to assess whether you have the leadership capabilities required for the post and the ability to manage people and help to develop and achieve business objectives.

Striking a balance

Conflict is a feature of many HR departments; therefore, you will need to successfully balance dealing with different areas, issues and people. You will need to demonstrate that you have the required skill set to manage conflict and make the right decisions when it comes to establishing the most effective balance or outcome in a specific situation. Expect to be grilled on how you would achieve a balance between managing performance and supporting the workforce.

Dealing with technology

Technology impacts many aspects of working life and the HR department is not immune to this influence. In an HRD interview, there is a strong chance you will be asked how you would deal with technological change. It will be vital to demonstrate that you are aware of current technological trends affecting HR and how you keep your knowledge up to date regarding any changes.

Another impact on HR is social media, particularly with regard to changing organisational culture. Be prepared to be questioned on how you think social media could be effectively used to encourage employee engagement, promote innovation or share knowledge.

Dealing with difficult situations

Anything can happen in HR and one day could be completely different to the next. Interviewers will be looking to see how well you cope with managing changing situations and acting swiftly to solve issues as they crop up. Make sure you have lots of good-quality examples of past experiences and scenarios ready to pull out the bag when questioned.

Interviewers will be particularly keen to know how you have handled difficult situations in the past and what the outcome was; if you can detail what you have learnt from the experience, even better. This shows you are willing and open to learning, improving and change.

Think about a few potential situations that affect HRDs, as you will probably be asked tough scenario-based questions starting with ‘What would you do if…?’

Culture and inclusion

Building organisational cultures and inclusion within the workforce is part and parcel of the role of an HRD. Be prepared to be probed on how you have helped to develop effective cultures in an organisation, or influence them, while fostering a sense of inclusion.

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