Final placement interviews are almost here. Decisions that you make now are very crucial, as this will have a significant impact on the career choices that you make in the future. If you are currently picturing yourself as an HR manager, then you should start preparing your CV and be interview-ready. In order to rock an HR interview one needs to have conceptual knowledge of the HR world and how it functions. In this article, we will give you detailed information on roles in HR, basic concepts that you should know, the research you need to do to stay fully prepared for the interview and more. Read on...
There are a plethora of job roles for MBA students who want to pursue a career in Human Resources Management. Some of the popular ones are:
- HR Generalist: They are entry or mid-level HR managers. They do a variety of things like collecting job applications, evaluating resumes, planning recruitment drives, employee engagement activities, etc.
- Global HR Specialist: They manage HR roles on the international level. This includes recruiting, interviewing, placing current employees overseas, helping them in the transition, etc. For this, you must have linguistic skills, tax and legal skills, cross-cultural fluency and be business savvy.
- Talent Acquisition Manager: The job title and even the use of the term Talent Acquisition, is relatively new. Talent Acquisition Manager’s work entails attracting, sourcing, recruiting, interviewing, pre-boarding and on-boarding employees to an organization. It is a part of the corporate recruiting process and works within the HR department.
- Staffing Director: They are high ranking HR managers. They take crucial decisions for the management of current employees. They play an important role in forming promotion policies, recruitment needs, transfers, training etc.
- Employee Relations Manager: They are responsible for maintaining a conflict-free relationship between employees, trade unions and company management. They have to also organise meetings for suggestions and feedback from employees and trade unions regularly. In these meetings, they address complaints, grievances and settle disputes among managers, employees or even the company internally.
- Training & Development Manager: They are generally medium or top-level managers, who are responsible for designing, structuring and delivery of training to both new and existing employees. They make sure that the training and development sessions that are being conducted in the organisation are useful and productive for the participants. They make sure that the ROI of these trainings are beneficial to employees and profitable for the company in terms of productive and engaged employees.
- Compensation Manager (Benefits Specialist): They are middle-level HR manages who makes plans, analyses and figure out the salary of existing and new employees in the company. This includes salary, bonus, etc. They also ensure that employees continue to stay motivated by their pay, are satisfied with their benefits (both monetary and non-monetary) and regular salary increases while maintaining costs on wages.
Knowledge and in-depth understanding of the following concepts is a must to crack an HR Interview -
Labour Laws: As a future HR manager, it imperative that you know and understand all the applicable employment laws that protect the rights of employees. It is your duty to make the employees aware of their rights while helping the companies avoid lawsuits, fines and legal expenses. Hence, before the interview, try to revise all the labour laws specifically the ones related to discrimination and harassment, worker health and safety, industrial disputes, contract labour, factory act (1948), payment (including wages), health and retirement and unpaid leaves. Most common questions that are asked by interviewers are:
- Which establishments are covered by the Industrial Employment (Standing Order) Act, 1946?
- Does a workman receive any compensation if he is suspended, pending enquiry?
Organisational Behavior: One of the most underlying yet important jobs of an HR is to drive employee engagement and providing employees with the good employee experience. As an HR, it is your role to help managers to effectively manage their employees. For this, the HR Department might also have to come up or design various employee engagement activities that inspire and motivate them to work with higher efficiency and increase productivity at work. The theories that you need to brush up for this are - Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, McGregor’s Theory X and Theory Y, Herzberg’s Motivation theory and Vroom Expectancy theory. However, knowing just the theories will not do the trick. You need to know their practical implications too. Some of the most common questions asked on this are:
- Where does a factory worker and a CEO fall in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs?
- If you are a leader in one of the departments of your college, tell us how will theory X or theory Y play out for you when you are leading them?
- Why does the IT sector experience such high attrition rate? Explain using the theory of motivation.
- Map Vroom’s Expectancy Theory for the IT support staff of Cisco system (or any big IT firm).
Compensation: Good compensation and benefits programs attract top talent and help in retaining valued employees. Hence, the work of HR in this area is crucial. The role involves benchmarking, ensuring current documentation, and strategizing compensation and benefits with performance. So, you need to know everything related to reward criteria, compensation philosophy, job analysis, etc. Some of the commonly asked questions based on this concept are -
- Enumerate steps involved in creating a compensation system.
- Explain how stretch goals play a role in motivating an employee.
Learning and Development: HR’s job is to plan, administer and find prospect programs that ensure that employees have the required skills and knowledge to compete with the outside world while meeting the organization's business objectives. For this, you need to truly understand the concept of behaviourism (classical and operant conditioning), TNA and Kirkpatrick Model. The kind of questions they might ask you are -
- Our marketing department handles a lot of merchandise on a daily basis. We get this merchandise made for our trade partners, clients and contest winners. However, employees have a tendency of trying to trick or flick some of these merchandise without even mentioning. How do you eradicate such behaviour?
- Explain how you will go about conducting TNA for our business. We want our accounts department to go digital.
- What are the different levels of training evaluation?
- How can you determine if a training program should be conducted or not?
- On the very basic level, brace yourself with questions related to the points you have mentioned in your resume. Try to focus on your profile and past work experience. If you have an interesting hobby, mention it. Highlight your extracurricular activities and definitely have a mindblowing answer for, “So, tell me about yourself?”
- You need to know your concepts. They will expect you to be well-versed with the HR concepts like - Labour Laws, Organisational Behavior, Compensation (Benefits) and Learning and development.
- Be up-to-date with the latest news and developments that are happening in the HR domain. You need to analyse these changing trends and their impact on an HR professional. For this, you need to read at least one business newspaper daily.
- Lastly, you should do thorough research on the company you are applying for. Do a little more digging online or talk to a person (alumni) in the company and get a broad understanding of their work culture, CSR initiatives, etc.
Following are the online resources that you need to read regularly, along with periodicals and business newspapers, specifically for those pursuing HR specialisation:
For more understanding, check out this short course that will help you prepare holistically for your HR interviews.