HR Generalist Interview Questions

HR Generalists run the daily functions of an organisation's HR department - including hiring, interviewing staff, administering pay and leave, and enforcing company policies and practices. Where HR Managers tend to be more responsible for pla ning and strategy, HR Generalists are often in charge of managing day-to-day duties like monitoring staff turnover and logistics.


Conflict resolution
Attention to detail
Strategic thinking
Question 1

We receive an email in our careers inbox from an applicant who is interested in applying for one of our job openings. Unfortunately, applications for the role had just closed and they were unable to submit their application in time. They ask you if they can still submit their application as they are really interested in the role.

How would you go about responding to the applicant? What would your recommendation be?

Question 2

You have been balancing a busy workload and receive an email from a hiring manager, explaining that they are unhappy it has taken too long to issue a contract to a new starter. How would you respond to them?

Conflict resolution
Question 3

A new employee is joining the team and you have contacted their referee for an employment reference. The referee has not responded to you and over a week has passed. Please outline the steps you would take in order to resolve this issue.

Strategic thinking
Question 4

It’s been a busy week and it’s now late on Friday. You have five things that you’ve yet to get to this week...

  1. A colleague has emailed the inbox this morning saying they are struggling with their mental health and wanted to know where the sickness policy is.
  2. There is an email from the line manager of a new starter asking you to arrange an HR induction with their new member of staff, this has been in the inbox since Wednesday
  3. This morning, your line manager has chased you for a salary increase letter for one of the Senior Directors to take effect from Monday. They originally asked you about this yesterday.
  4. A manager has emailed you to let you know that their member of staff has not passed their probation, and they have the meeting at the end of the day to deliver the news. They've asked for you what HR support is available.
  5. You need to put the finishing touches to a policy you are working on. You have promised the team it will be ready for your catch-up on Monday morning.

Imagine you only have time to do two of these tasks, which two do you choose and why? Explain your rationale and what actions you would take to minimise the consequences of leaving the other tasks incomplete.

Strategic thinking
Question 5

A line manager has approached you for advice on one of their direct reports who they have said is underperforming after only 5 months in the role. The line manager says that this person often join calls late and doesn’t contribute equally to project deliverables and that this is affecting team morale. What questions would you ask the line manager to develop a full picture and what aspects do you think are most relevant to consider?

Conflict resolution
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