HR Situational Interview Questions

Are you looking for HR situational interview questions? You are at the right place.

Situational interview questions are the most tricky part of any job interview. It becomes even more complicated when applying for an HR post.

HR situational interview questions offer employers insight into how you will deal with day-to-day HR issues. They also assess if you have the required skills to accomplish various responsibilities and duties of an HR manager or not.

HR professionals handle different types of employees and situations daily. They find solutions to various problems and prevent potential conflicts. Situational interview questions and answers enable employers to assess your situational handling competencies.

This article provides you with a list of scenario-based situational interview questions and answers. Read them to get an idea of how you must frame your answers in an interview for a job opportunity. The situational questions discussed in this article are related to:

  • Human resource management
  • Leadership
  • HR analytics
  • Communication skills

If you’re interested in learning more via video, then watch below. Otherwise, skip ahead.

Human Resource Management Relevant Situational Interview Questions

Here is a list of situational interview questions that employers will ask you regarding your management skills. Recruiters often ask these situational questions from a candidate appearing for a management position.

What will you do if you made a blunder that no one noticed? Will you admit it or let it go?

Everyone makes mistakes since you are not an embodiment of perfection. The thing that matters is how you react to your mistakes. If you make a mistake at work and no one notices it, the best thing to do is to take responsibility for it and fix it. Don’t try to hide your mistake, as it will create more problems in the future.

If you find the circumstances not suitable for disclosing your mistake and everything is operating smoothly, take some time to maintain the status quo. But make sure to share the situation with your team at a later stage.

For answering this question, share an incident from your past when you made a mistake. Highlight how you handled the whole situation and told your team about that mistake. Show that you can learn from your mistakes and take responsibility for them. A smart answer will reflect your sincerity and honesty, which all employers appreciate.

How do you ensure quality work when working with multiple clients simultaneously?

It is another question related to management that allows employers to evaluate your ability to work with multiple clients. As an HR professional, you work with multiple clients simultaneously.

Working with multiple clients at the same time is challenging as you juggle between different tasks. You must prioritize your work and have effective time management. Interviewers ask this question to understand your management style. They assess if you can handle multiple tasks simultaneously or not.

To answer this question, highlight that you are capable of multitasking. Show you can schedule various tasks and meet deadlines. Mention project management tools that you are familiar with and how they help you manage your work.

How will you accomplish a task you have never done before?

Interviewers ask such questions to know about your ability to take on new challenges. No doubt new challenges are tough to face, but an HR professional must be competent enough to solve any issue since you often face obstacles dealing with people and employees.

Companies often go through changes, and they need professionals who can confront obstacles associated with those changes. HR professionals are responsible in case of change management. Thus you must exhibit a positive attitude toward change.

How to answer situational interview questions

When answering this question, show that you are not afraid of new challenges. Share your experience of taking on a new challenge and how you coped with it. Describe the steps you took to accomplish the task. Mention the difficulties you faced and how your problem-solving skills enabled you to overcome them.

What will you do if one of your team members did not meet your expectations?

This question allows the interviewer to know whether you can handle underperforming employees. HR professionals must ensure that all employees perform well and meet the organization’s expectations.

Having underperforming employees who do not meet expectations is common yet troublesome. As an HR professional, you deal with such employees to achieve business goals. You provide employees with a deadline to improve their performance. If they still don’t meet your expectations, you have the right to take disciplinary action against them.

When answering this question, explain to employers how you identify areas where employees need improvement and how you work with them to improve their performance. Tell them how you provide training or support to employees to compensate for their lack of skills or knowledge.

Here are a few more questions related to HR management that you can expect in an HR manager interview:

  • What will you do if you failed to accomplish the required task?
  • How will you create a recruiting strategy to hire a qualified candidate?
  • What will you do to keep key employees who are crucial for a positive work environment?
  • How will you assess the interpersonal skills of candidates during the hiring process?
  • How will you get along with a difficult manager?
  • How will you promote a positive company culture?

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Leadership Relevant Situational Interview Questions

Let’s move on to the leadership questions.

What will you do if you encounter disagreement within your team influencing your work?

This question allows recruiters to assess your ability to find solutions to disagreements without disrupting work. HR professionals manage such situations by conducting meetings with both parties, listening to their perspectives, and trying to find a middle ground. They also consider the company’s policies and procedures while handling such situations.

Know that you, as an HR professional, will encounter situations where you must handle disagreements between employees. You will be responsible to resolve them without taking sides. For this, take a step back and look at the situation in an objective way. Once you identify the root cause of the disagreement, take measures to resolve it.

When answering this question, share a real-life example of such a situation with the interviewer. Describe the situation and how you handled it. Mention the steps you took to resolve the disagreement. The key point here is to show that you exhibit skills to find a solution without getting involved in the disagreement.

Here are some more situational interview questions related to leadership skills:

  • How will you motivate employees to achieve better results?
  • How will you develop a training program for new employees?
  • What will you do if an employee does not follow your instructions?

HR Analytics Relevant Situational Interview Questions

Here are some questions related to HR analytics that employers often ask in situational interviews:

  • What will you do to measure success metrics for any project?
  • How will you develop a strategy to reduce employee turnover?
  • How do you use data to assess the effectiveness of training programs?
  • What performance indicators will you track to gauge the effectiveness of the HR department?
  • How do you collect useful data for making informed decisions?
  • How do you analyze the data to find the root cause of employee absenteeism?

Cross-Functional Teamwork Relevant Situational Interview Questions

Here are some common HR manager interview questions related to cross-functional teamwork:

How will you manage teams from different departments working on the same project?

Employers want to ensure that the candidate they hire exhibits conflict management skills and carries a broad point of view to get the job done. Without the skills to understand the big picture and manage a broad range of employees, the project can stall or even fail. HR professionals are responsible to find a way to get everyone working together in an efficient way.

HR generalist skills

While answering this situational interview question, you must describe various ways to promote collaboration among project team members. For example, discuss how you will establish common goals for the project and ensure that everyone is aware of the objectives.

Talk about how you will encourage communication between team members and facilitate regular meetings to ensure that everyone is on the same page. Talk about conflict resolution strategies and how you will handle team members who are not working well together.

Here are some additional human resources interview questions related to the team working among teams of various departments:

  • How do you handle employee disputes?
  • What will you do when team members are not working together in an effective way?
  • How will you encourage collaboration among team members from various departments?

Communication skills Relevant Situational Interview Questions

Let’s take a look at some situational interview questions related to communication skills:

How will you satisfy an angry customer’s complaint?

This question enables employers to learn about your communication capability. Communication skills are the most fundamental skills for HR professionals since they deal with and communicate with different types of people daily. They are responsible to diffuse tense situations, listen, and understand what the other person is saying. They also explain things in a clear and simple way.

When answering this question, you must describe how will you handle an angry customer. Talk about listening to the customer’s complaint and understanding their perspective to grasp the issue better. Also, explain how you share the company’s policies and procedures in a simple way with the customer. Discuss how you will offer a satisfactory solution to the problem to compensate and satisfy the customer.


Situational questions are tricky that recruiters ask to test your intelligence and how you will behave in a certain situation. When answering such questions, take your time to understand the situation, problem, and issues created due to the problem. Once you get the problem statement, then propose the smartest and most economical technique to handle the situation. Go through a few scenario-based interview questions and sample answers before the interview to get an idea about how to answer situational interview questions.

Read the job description carefully to understand the job requirements. Then research the situations you will have to take for the seat. Practice answering situational questions with one of your friends to get a better grasp on proposing smart answers.


Here’s a list of FAQs about situational questions:

How do you answer a situation-based question in an HR interview?

You can use the STAR method to answer a situation question. When following the star method, you must understand the situation that the interviewer is trying to assess. Without understanding the situation, you cannot answer the question.

After understanding the situation, describe what will you do to handle that specific situation. Then, list the actions you will take to resolve the issue and what positive outcome you desire to achieve. Share the possible outcomes and the actions you will take when things do not go as planned. You can also share your experience of handling a similar situation.

What is a situational interview in HRM?

A situational interview is a technique in which the interviewer asks the job candidate to describe how they will handle hypothetical workplace situations. Situational questions are often used in HR interviews to assess candidates’ ability to think, handle difficult situations, and make sound decisions.

What are HR behavioral questions?

Behavioral interview questions evaluate a job applicant’s behavior to see if they are a good fit for the HR job. These questions assess how a candidate will handle work situations and give the employer insight into the candidate’s problem-management and situation-handling skills.

If you are new to human resources and are looking to break into an HR role, we recommend taking our HR Certification Courses, where you will learn how to build your skillset in human resources, build your human resources network, craft an excellent HR resume, and create a successful job search strategy.

Josh Fechter
Josh Fechter is the founder of HR.University. He's a certified HR professional and has managed global teams across 5 different continents including their benefits and payroll. You can connect with him on LinkedIn here.