As the HR Manager, you have donned the hat of an interviewer way too many times. Perhaps have also conducted workshops on Interviewing skills for your line managers. You would have received accolades too on your art of conducting interviews. Recruiting candidates is a routine job for HR Manager, and interviewing candidates must be your second nature. Line managers seeking your expertise to assess a candidate’s potential may also be a frequent phenomenon in your typical work day.
What happens when you are taking and interview? When you cross over and sit across the table, eyeing your next career jump, in front of interviewer?
Do you feel the same comfort as conducting Interviews? If you do, you must be a seasoned interviewee and must have had numerous experience of giving interviews. You don’t need to read further on in this article.
HR interviews can be quite tricky and there is a reason why I make this statement. When HR folks interview each other, both are aware of the expertise HR professionals possess. All those “Interview skills’ manuals, interview tips, probably both sets of people are aware of. Hence, the interviewing process of HR candidates makes for an interesting story.
Recently, I interviewed a lady for an HR position and I was so impressed with her ability to communicate, articulation of thoughts, meticulous preparation about the company and fantastic representation of the portfolio of her work. Her interview etiquette was striking. I was impressed and how! I almost felt I have found the candidate and was calculating the next steps in my mind.
Thanks to one of my previous employers, who had nominated me for the Behavioral Event Interviewing Skills workshop, I decided to probe the candidate who had impressed me terrifically in the first fifteen minutes of the interview.
I am still deliberating whether it was a good decision to do the probing exercise.
Was it responsible for my not being able to take the selection process further?
Was it the candidate’s inability to substantiate the portfolio of work that she described while introducing herself?
Is it how “well prepared” most candidates are for their HR interview and actually not that “effective” in their jobs?
That prompted me to re-look at my specifications and what I was looking for in the candidate. To my mind, the following qualities are critical for any HR Manager to crack the HR interview
Employers are looking for real “work portfolio” and not “ideal work portfolio”
You may not be the one to hold a ‘glamorous HR role”; communicate what “you are doing” and not what your colleague is doing and you wish to do. Do not accentuate your role in your organization, rather emphasize on the effectiveness of your work in your organization and how it has impacted the overall HR team.
The three things every employer will look out for in an HR Manager during the interview:
1. Your current HR work-graphy:
Employers want to know what have you been doing over the last one year. This is critical to establish suitability of your candidature to the your prospective employer has to offer. Bragging about your HR Role of distant past will not lead you anywhere. You should be adequately prepared to establish linkage to what you have been doing and how that could benefit your future employer’s requirement. Communicating success stories of your previous roles is a real time waster here. Once you have communicated your current state of affairs and established comfort with the interview panel, you can share your past laurels to add the necessary stars to your profile.
What your current role in your organization is and how effective you are in that role is the foundation to your interview discussion progressing further.
2. Credibility as an Human Resource Manager:
One of the most critical HR Manager attribute is to be a credible HR Resource. Every employer or hiring manager would look out for an HR candidate who has an established credibility in his/ her current organization. During the HR interview, it is absolutely mandatory for a candidate to establish this point across during the interview discussion. While it may sound like a simple competency, communicating how credible you are as an HR Manager can get tricky. It is advisable to cite examples and incidents where you have stood up for causes, reasons and principles as an HR Manager to support your organization and stake holders.
What work you do in your current organization is the foundation to establish yourself as an eligible candidate for an HR Manager position, how you do your work will help you create an edge over other HR Candidates for the prospective job.
3. Stake Holder Management or Customer Delight:
During the course of the regular job, often HR managers tend to overlook the primary delivery of the HR function. HR is a service function and one of the mandatory HR deliveries is to create customer delight through HR Services and HR Interactions. It is critical to communicate such service orientation during the interview and substantiate this behavior through narration of specific incidents and the way those have been managed. For example, HR Managers working on the design side of the HR function (L&D PMS, Talent Management etc) should take the efforts to correlate their work profile, effectiveness of their work with the requirements of their customers (employees, organization, business heads etc) during the HR Interview discussion. Hiring managers or interview panelists while interviewing HR candidates are most likely to get impressed by HR candidates who understand and value the critical linkage of HR work to the overall impact on the organization.
While the above three attributes will get you an edge over the other candidates, it is to your benefit that you drive the interview discussions such that you become the only choice as a candidate for the HR job on offer. So, brush up your HR competencies and build an attractive HR work portfolio to get your next dream HR job! Set your HR career soaring!!