HR interview questions - April 16, 2013 at 05:50 PM by
HR interview questions and answers for senior executives
1. Assuming that you are selected, what will be your strategy for next 60 days?
If I am selected for this position, I’ll use my initial 60 days in understanding
my role carefully in terms of the contribution to the business and increasing
the overall profitability. I’ll sit with my line manager and other juniors to
understand what has already been done and what its impact has been. From there
on, I’ll formulate my strategy to growth in close conjunction with managers and
see that it is properly implemented.
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2. How would you improve upon our product/ company?
Since I’d be coming from an altogether new environment, I am bound to possess a
new perspective towards everything here including the company, product,
customers, environment, strategy etc. This will enable me to constructively
question things which anyone else here might not do. This will help in
improving the things and making the product & company better.
Having worked closely with product development team I understand how the
research for product development is carried out and how is customer requirement
analysed; I’d be able to provide a value addition there too.
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3. Don’t you think, you are overqualified for this position?
You might feel that I possess more degrees than you require for this position.
But, I believe that I grow everyday when I talk to my staff, customers and
superiors. So, basically the learning process continues through out the life –
I don’t think I am over qualified.
4. Have you ever had a problem with your peer? Can you give us an example?
Yes, it happened once. I was quite friendly with a colleague of mine from the
other department. While talking to him during the lunch hour, I casually told
him about the new marketing strategy that the marketing team was thinking
about. He mentioned it to his boss and that caused a lot of confusion between
the two departments. This taught me a lesson that you must not discuss any
departmental strategies with anyone from other department unless you have been
authorised by your boss.
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5. I see, there’s some gap in your work history. Why?
Yes, I was feeling exhausted after years of non-stop work. So, I decided to take
a break and spend some time with my family on a rejuvenating vacation. I am
happy to have returned fully recharged.
6. Can you tell us something about your previous boss?
All my bosses possessed some skills worth learning. I have always tried to learn
something new from them including my previous boss.
7. Is there anything that you do not like about your last or current job?
I was quite enthusiastic while joining my last job. Towards the end, the number
of challenges and opportunity to grow further started diminishing. A challenge
loving and growth oriented person like me doesn’t enjoy this.
8.Have there been instances, when your decision was challenged by your
colleague or manager?
Yes, there have been many such instances. I like people who challenge my
decisions rather than following me blindly. This keeps me ensured that I am
surrounded by thinking brains rather than just a set of dumb followers.
When someone challenges your decisions, you are bound to rethink over it and
the chances of reaching the best option are brighter.
9. If you are allowed to change one thing about your last job, what would it
I have been working at a senior level since last many years. These roles have
always needed me to make real time decisions. Sometimes the facts, figures and
other information in real time cases are not complete & still we have to
make a decision. In such cases, there exists a probability of making inaccurate
Knowing this, I usually run down my old decisions to see the outcome. It makes
sure that I don’t repeat a mistake ever again in future. While carrying out one
such exercise, I realised that the product promotion strategy that I
recommended would have been different, if I had had the complete data and
figures but there was no way to get them in real time.
10. How long can you commit to work with us?
I like new challenges and a chance to grow. As long I keeping getting these, I
don’t think I’ll need to switch over. I’d like to believe that this
relationship lasts for many years. However, I haven’t set a time limit as such.
11. You seem to be drawing a good salary. Will you be OK in taking a salary
I believe that at one point of time in career salary becomes secondary and self
actualisation become more important. While taking up any new job, it will be my
priority to ensure that the work culture, chances to contribute and grow are
sufficient along with the money I am paid. I also believe that any good company
who cares about its employees ensures that they are paid well.
12. What is your expected salary?
I believe that an ideal remuneration for any position recognises the ability,
rewards the performance and provides the employee an opportunity to indulge in
his hobbies and passions. I am sure that this company also takes care of these.
13. Would you like to ask us anything?
I would like to know about the career growth I can expect being with this
company. I am quite an ambitious person and this information will be helpful.
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asked questions during a personal interview
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Tell us something about yourself.
Why do you consider yourself a suitable
candidate for this position?
Why do you want to leave your present
job or company?
You have stayed in your current job for
quite a long time, why?
What do you know about us?
What do you do to improve your
Can you perform under pressure?
Tell us some of your strengths.
Tell us some of your weaknesses.
Are you comfortable working in a team?
How do you rate your communication
You do not have all the experience we
need for this position?
How would you compensate for the lack
of experience you have for this position?
If you were hiring for this position,
what qualities would you look for in a potential candidate?
Do you know anyone who works for us?
What is your style of management?
Have you ever fired anyone? How would
you go about firing a person, if required?
What irritates you about co-workers?
Is there any particular kind of person
you can not work with?
What qualities would you look for in
What motivates you at work?
Will you be happy to work in night
shifts or over the weekends?
Have you ever committed a mistake at
What position would you prefer while
working on a project?
What are the most important things for
you as a manager?
Will you be happy to re-locate, if
What kind of a salary are you looking
Do you have any questions for us?
Discuss the most stressful situation you
came across in your previous job.
For how long do you expect to stay with
Why should we hire you?
Discuss your strengths
Discuss your weaknesses and how do you
plan to overcome it
What is your idea of an ideal company?
Why are you leaving your previous job?
Tell us something about your
achievements at your previous job.
Tell us what do you know about our
Are you willing to relocate/travel?
Are you a good team player?
Can you work independently?
Do you have any questions for us?
Are you willing to work for long hours,
if the project demands that from you?
What is your current CTC and what are
Are you planning to go for further
Tell us something about yourself,
discuss 5 characteristics
Tell us something about your hobbies
What is more important to you money or
1. Tell us something about yourself.
This is the first question, you can expect during any interview you face. This
usually is a question to start the communication and set the ball rolling for
the interview. You can answer this question by providing some information about
your work experience, technologies you have worked upon, educational
qualifications. If you are a fresh graduate, you can provide some information
about your family also.
The trick is to put the full stop at the right place to provoke the next
question you want. For e.g. “Recently I developed a website using Drupal. It
was quite an interesting but challenging job which I enjoyed.”
2. Why do you consider yourself a suitable candidate for this
The answer to this question lies in the preparation you did before the
interview. It is extremely important that you research the requirements of the
position well and match them with your skills.
For e.g. if the position requires an Asp.net developer with good knowledge of
health care domain, tell the interviewer about your technical skills and your
Fresh graduates can talk about their technical skills, ability to learn and
grasp things quickly.
3. Why do you want to leave your present job or company?
You may want to leave your present job for any reason but make sure that you do
not talk bad about your manager, company or job. It reflects your complaining
Provide a sincere reason for e.g. “I think, I have grown up with my last
employer as much as I could. I want to grow further and I believe that is
possible with a new employer.”
4. You have stayed in your current job for quite a long time, why?
There are many people who do not change their jobs for years and when they go
out looking for a new employer, this is one of the most important questions
they are asked. Some people might look upon staying with the same employer for
long as “lack of ambition”.
A good answer to this question can be something like, “Yes, you are right. I
stayed with my last employer for almost 5 years but I was continuously growing
in the company, doing new things, handling bigger challenges. So, I was quite
happy working with them for these many years.” You can then talk about how you
grew with your last employer.
5. What do you know about us?
Research the company and its business a bit before appearing for the interview.
Also, find out a bit about the technologies they work upon. You don’t need to
know everything inside out but having a fair idea about the company makes you
appear interested in the position, to be taken seriously.
For e.g. I see that your company does a lot of projects based on OpenSource
platforms like Joomla, Drupal, Magento which is quite interesting as I have a
similar kind of experience.
6. What do you do to improve your knowledge?
The field of IT is very revolutionary. It is extremely important to keep
yourself abreast with the new technological developments and this needs you to
take some time out of your work schedule so that you can keep sharpening your
To answer this question, you can tell the recruiter about the forums which you
keep visiting, blogs which you keep reading. It will be an advantage if you are
a member of some local user group.
7. Can you perform under pressure?
Most of the times, the job of software development is that of working under
pressure. Sometimes, it will be the pressure of delivering on time while it can
be that of a bug that has sprung all of a sudden in your code.
So, expect pressure in everything you do. It is important to maintain your
performance and develop strategies to deliver under pressure. You can then go
ahead an talk about your way of dealing with pressure and performing under it.
8. Tell us some of your strengths.
Again, it is important to study the requirements of the position before you
appear for the interview. List out your strengths and offer the ones that this
For e.g. if you are appearing for the position of a Tech Lead – VB.net, talk
about your VB.net skills, any extra knowledge which you have about coding with
VB.net in comparison to other candidates, your team management skills etc.
9. Tell us some of your weaknesses.
You have to be careful while answering this question. Do not offer a weakness
which will directly affect your selection but at the same time saying that you
do not have any weakness will not be right too. Every human being has
weaknesses, so it is perfectly OK for you to have some too.
The best way to answer this question will be to turn one of your strengths as a
weakness and say that others accuse you of having this weakness but you think
it is important to work in this manner. For e.g.: “My colleagues accuse me of
paying to much attention to syntaxes but I believe it is important when you are
writing the code to avoid spending too much time on finding and fixing the bugs
Another way to answer this question is to offer a totally un-related weakness
for e.g. “I have been staying alone for so many years now but I still can’t
10. Are you comfortable working in a team?
The whole work of software development or IT is a team work. So, the only answer
to this question can be: “Yes, I am comfortable working in a team.” If you have
any problems in working as a team, it is important to work on them and develop
yourself as a team player.
11. How do you rate your communication skills?
Again, IT is about dealing with people within and out of the company. So, it is
important to have good communication skills. By good communication skills we
mean, ability to understand and explain in a common language. So, if you
believe that your communication skills are weaker, you need to work on them.
Anything less than average or good is not acceptable here.
12. You do not have all the experience we need for this position?
It is not possible for a candidate to have all the experience an employer
requires. Even if you match yourself up to the expectations on technical front,
there will be some difference in the work environment. And, it is absolutely
The best way to deal with this question is to analyse the requirements of the
position well and match your skills as close to them as possible. If something
is still left untouched, offer your quick grasping power and ability to learn
quickly as a solution & back it up with an example from the past.
13. How would you compensate for the lack of experience you have for
As we discussed in the last question, your ability to understand and pick up new
things quickly should be able to compensate for the lack of work experience you
14. If you were hiring for this position, what qualities would you
look for in a potential candidate?
Closely understand the qualities and skills a person holding the position would
need and match them with the qualities you have.
If you believe that you are missing a big quality required for the position
under discussion, say that, “I understand that this is an important quality
required in the person holding this position but given a chance, I will
inculcate it in me.” Back it up with a confident body language.
15. Do you know anyone who works for us?
Offer some one’s name if they really know you well and can offer a positive
feedback about you.
16. What is your style of management?
In today’s scenario, everything needs customization, so here also, one size
can’t fit all i.e. one management style won’t work in all situations. So, offer
“situational” as your style of management.
17. Have you ever fired anyone? How would you go about firing a
person, if required?
The basic purpose of asking this question is to check your EQ and see if you
have the guts to make tough decisions. If you have fired anyone in the past,
discuss your experience and approach. If you have never done so in the past,
discuss the approach you would take to make and implement such a decision. Keep
the focus of your answer on the fact that you would try to do your best to
ensure that your team performs to its best but if a particular member is not
able to perform even after you taking all the steps to help him, you would make
the tough decision to ensure that the project doesn’t suffer.
18. What irritates you about co-workers?
The purpose of this question is to see how well you can fit into a team.
Basically, you should not have a problem with a person, although you can have a
problem with the style of working.
So, to answer this question you can simply say, “I understand that IT is about
team work, so we can’t afford to problems with co-workers but if someone is not
serious about their work or does a low quality work affecting the whole
project, I definitely do not like it”
19. Is there any particular kind of person you can not work with?
For the reason given in the above questions, the answer to this question should
be a “No”. This is basically a different way of putting up the last question.
20. What qualities would you look for in your senior?
You can mention some generic qualities like intelligence, good sense of humour,
dedicated to his team etc., which all the managers think that they have in
21. What motivates you at work?
To answer this question, you can mention things like – new challenges, good
environment which all employers think that they offer.
22. Will you be happy to work in night shifts or over the weekends?
You need to answer this question taking into consideration what is suitable for
you. Say that you can work in the night shifts, only if you can really do it.
23. Have you ever committed a mistake at work?
To err is human. So, it is perfectly OK if you committed a mistake at work but
before answering the question analyse the magnitude of mistake you did and the
effect it had on the company.
What is more important is – what did you do to rectify the mistake and make sure
that you don’t do it again?
So, mention the mistake you committed and keep the focus of the answer on the
steps you took to rectify it.
24. What position would you prefer while working on a project?
This question is for you to answer based on the skills and qualities you have.
If you have the capability to handle different positions, discuss that also in
25. What are the most important things for you as a manager?
The two things which should be most important for a manager to succeed in his
a.) His team should be happy and keep performing
b.) The project he is working on with his team is successfully finished with
26. Will you be happy to re-locate, if required?
Again, a question for you to answer based on your position. If you are
anticipating this question in the interview, it is better to discuss this with
your family also before you go to face the interview.
27. What kind of a salary are you looking for?
Try to put the ball back in interviewer’s court by asking him about the salary
they offer for a position like this. Most of the big companies will have a
fixed remuneration for each level.
However, if this is negotiable, you will have more negotiation power if you have
some work experience. So, know your lower limit (amount below which you can’t
go) and also know the maximum salary in the industry for the position then put
forward a figure which is not very exact. It is better to mention a range. For
e.g. if you are expecting something around 55 K, say that you expect something
in mid fifties. Don’t keep the range to broad otherwise you will be offered
something towards the lower end.
If you are a fresher, most of the times you will have to accept the company’s
offering for the position. However, if you find it too less, you can definitely
discuss that during the interview.
28. Do you have any questions for us?
This is usually the last question you can expect during an interview. It is
extremely important to have some intelligent questions to ask the interviewer
otherwise you may just sound dull and un-interested. Research the company a bit
and discuss if they have been in news recently. You can also discuss about the
growth prospects for you within the company etc.
29. Discuss the most stressful situation you came across in your
Here you should discuss a stressful situation that you were able to overcome and
keep a positive tone, do not say you never came across a stressful situation.
Typical answers can be:
-Our team’s targets were increased three fold and initially everyone was
overwhelmed by the number, but we discussed it with our manager and he was
co-operative and understood the situation. But he wanted us to give it a try
and was ready to reduce the targets to a more realistic number.
-You can also talk about a very demanding project where you worked for long
hours/2 shifts and had to sacrifice on family time, but once the project was
done you got recognition for the hard work and you were over the stress.
30. For how long do you expect to stay with our organization?
You should ensure that you give an impression that you will pay back more than
what you take from the company:
-You can say I will stay here as far as I see an opportunity for growth, as I
am looking for a stability in work place
-If they stress on number of years say 3-4 years, and more if I can explore new
31. Why should we hire you?
-Here you should discuss the profile you have applied for and your
strengths/experience with which you can add value to the job
-Discuss your achievements at your previous job, and say that I have developed
my skills to suit my current profile, but I want to develop myself futher and
face new challenges, and for that I need to change my job.
- I will always be willing to change roles share responsibilities to suit
32. Discuss your strengths
Discuss strengths that show your professional expertise, some of the answers
-Multi tasking: Say I have been working on mulitple project and I am required
to keep tabs on each project and co-ordinate with a lot of teams, and I am able
to do it efficiently.
-Problem Solving: You can say that in my current job role I have spent a good
time to know how to solve problems. My team members see me as a go-to person to
Support each point with your examples
33. Discuss your weaknesses and how do you plan to overcome it
Discuss weaknesses in positive light always discuss how you plan to overcome it,
some of the answers could be:
-I am always willing to take up additional responsibilities, but I end up being
over worked so now I am realistic about what I can do, so that I do work to the
-If you lack certain technical skill, which is not crucial for the job you can
state that and say you are planning to take up a training course/certification
to get over it
-If you do not wish to discuss your weakness, you can say, I cannot compete
with Rajnikant :P
34. What is your idea of an ideal company?
Do not go over board and ask for , it might give an impression that you are too
demanding, some of the answers could be:
-An ideal company provides maximum opportunities for growth of employees.
-They provide comfortable and flexible work environment, so that employees can
perform at their best and work towards company’s benefit.
-A company that encourages learning
-A company that encourages open culture
35. Why are you leaving your previous job?
Do not go around defaming your company, it will give a bad impression about you.
Give reasons such as:
-Change in profile
-Planning to relocate (if applicable)
-With time I found my job was becoming monotonous and I didn’t want this to
have any impact on the job I was doing for my employer
-I am not actively looking for a job change but, I saw this opening and it
36. Tell us something about your achievements at your previous job.
-Talk about your professional acheivements, if you were recognised as a high
performer or you got good feedback from your manager
-You can also discuss you annual ratings
-Discuss your promotions/appraisals
37. Tell us what do you know about our company
-Browse through the company website and make sure you know what the company does
and make sure you do so in short
-Discuss the positives aspects of the company, the interviewer should feel that
you have done your home work
10. Why do you want to work for us?
-Start by discussing the profile you have applied for and go on to say that the
organization would provide an opportunity to enhance your knowledge and help
you to grow professionally
-Discuss how you would be of use to the organization and how you plan to
develop your professional competencies
38. Are you willing to relocate/travel?
-Always say yes if you need the job
-You can ask whether they will compensate for relocation costs
39. Are you a good team player?
Companies look for team players as well as those who are self starters and can
work independently, so you need to be versatile:
-You should show that you enjoy working in a team. Say that you are open to
suggestions from team members and seniors.
-It is always good to work in a team as one can get the support of other
members and in times of crisis everyone can work together to achieve the goal.
40. Can you work independently?
-Yes, I can work independently without supervision or support from a team
Do not emphasize on working independently as that will be seen as an inability
to work with others.
41. Do you have any questions for us?
Always have a question ready to answer this one:
-You can ask whether the company allows for lateral and vertical role changes
-You can also ask whether the company encourages learning and development of
-Ask whether the company has plans for expansion
-You can also discuss your role in detail
42. Are you willing to work for long hours, if the project demands
that from you?
-Discuss situations when you must have done so to fulfill project requirements
in the past
43. What is your current CTC and what are your expectations?
-Be honest about your CTC, as you will have to produce you salary slip as a
proof of emplyment
-Be realistic when you state your expected CTC, you can ask for a 30-40% hike
-If you are underpaid at your current company you can look for the standard
salary paid for the experience you have and ask for that amount
44. Are you planning to go for further studies?
Be transparent in your answer.
-If you are pursuing further studies, say so. Tell them why you want to go for
-If you are taking up a distance education course or a part time course, they
should know, as you will need to take leaves when you appear for exams
45. Tell us something about yourself, discuss 5 characteristics
List down points that will help you professionally:
-Add your characteristcs
46. Tell us something about your hobbies
Answer it with honesty, as they can go deeper into this discussion. You can
-Browsing the internet
-Listening to music,
-Chatting with friends
47. What is more important to you money or success?
This is tricky question, as money and success both are important and you cannot
outweigh the importance of one over the other. Personally you might prefer
money over success or success over money, but it is better to be neutral when
answering this question in an interview:
You can say, that money and success both are important for you, but if you have
to choose you would choose success. The reason being, if one is successful
money often follows and you need not focus on money over success..
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