Important Interview Questions Every Human Resources Director Should Ask

Human resources management is responsible for hiring new employees needs to determine if an applicant is a good fit to a position and a company’s culture and goals. Certain interview questions can help you make that decision by creating an interview experience in which the applicant feels comfortable enough to reveal different facts about themselves, including their personality, work ethic and goals.

There are building blocks and structure to an interview that will get answers, here are a few of the types of questions we suggest you ask:

Icebreaker Questions
Breaking the ice at the start of the interview helps a human resources director or hiring manager to ease the natural tension that occurs when meeting new people or dealing with stressful interactions. Icebreakers can cover a variety of topics, such as the weather or recent events. For example, if the scheduled the interview during a busy traffic period or your office is located in a hard-to-reach area, you might ask something as simple as, “Did you have any problems getting here?” Big games and mentions of the weather are all simple transitions to get both sides comfortable with talking.

Career Path Questions
A human resources and organizational leadership interviewer is also responsible for finding out the professional goals of an applicant so they can decide if these goals complement their own and if the position will fulfill the applicant’s needs and offer her a challenge. Additionally, these questions can help you learn if an applicant’s decision was position or salary-based only, or based on interest in the company. Your questions might include: “Why did you choose this career path?,” “Where do you see yourself professionally five years from now?” or “What prompted you to apply for this position specifically with our company?”

Decision-Making Questions
It is also important to determine if an applicant can handle various work situations that occur, and make the appropriate decisions dictated by company policy. These questions should also cover how an applicant handled certain situations in the past. For example, you might ask, “What do you do if a co-worker admits to taking paperwork from the premises that contains customer privacy information?,” “What do you do if you can’t meet the deadline for a project?” “If different opinions about work processes slow down the completion of a team-assigned task, how would you help resolve the issue?” or “How did you deal with a difficult job-based decision in the past? Can you outline what happened and your resolution?”

Surprise Questions
Lastly, you should attempt to place an applicant on the spot with a question that he likely hasn’t anticipated to determine how he handles surprises and stress or solves sudden problems. Additionally, answers to questions that seem strange can help display an applicant’s knowledge about a topic, or willingness to admit that he doesn’t know the answer or ask for help. For example, you might ask, “Do you think other planets have sentient life on them?” “If you could fix any major problem in the world, what would it be and how would you solve it?” or “What causes brain freeze headaches?”

Although there are many other types of questions a human resources and organizational leadership director can ask to make a hiring decision, think of these as the most fundamental the next time you sit down with an applicant. These questions can mean the difference between selecting a candidate who’s capable of making spur-of-the-moment decisions or selecting one who hesitates under pressure.

Trisha Vivona is a freelance writer and social media talent valuing innovation, hard work, and a relentless approach to creating value for clients and stakeholders. She can be reached on Twitter.