The HR Interview

The behavioural interview

Jordan Chou

What is the HR interview?

This stage is typically done in two ways. A video interview, or a phone interview.

This is also often known as the behavioural interview, the recruiter interview etc. The goal of this stage of the interview is for the recruiter to get to know you as a person. They want to know what your motivations are, what made you apply to their company, and to answer any questions you may have about the company. They may also ask questions about your work rights, why you chose to study your course, any hobbies you may have. You may also get what are called STAR questions.

A topic that features a lot in these interviews are project questions. They will ask about any hackathons you participated in, what projects you have done outside of uni etc. It's important to be prepared!

STAR Technique

The STAR technique is a behavioural interviewing technique that provides a structure answer to a question.

STAR itself stands for Situation, Task, Action, Result.

An example of a STAR question is "Can you describe a time where you displayed teamwork?" Using the STAR technique you would then answer as follows:

  • Situation: Describe a project or work environment that you have been in
  • Task: Talk about the task you were assigned to do e.g. group assignment
  • Action: Talk about what you did to alleviate the problem
  • Result: Talk about the result of your actions

Generally the STAR technique provides strong structure for your answers. This is something that you need to practice.

What I suggest is to write down lists of your projects/assignments or work experiences and practice answering the questions.

Video Interviews

Usually these video interviews are not a Skype interview with a recruiter. These video interviews are usually on Montage or Sonru interviews which are online video interview platforms.

These video platforms involve a series of questions in which you speak to a webcam and the platform records your responses. These questions are often timed and you will be cut off after the time limit. You often get a minute or two to prepare an answer for the question.

  • Look into the webcam, eye contact is good!
  • Speak confidently, stay focused on the question
  • Try to keep the webcam at eye-level

Preparing for the HR Interview

Like all interviews it is important to prepare for it. The HR interview generally comes quite early in the recruitment process which means that it is a crucial weeding step for recruiters.

Always practice answering common questions and prepare a list of your experiences and projects to talk about. Practice speaking confidently and try to speak at a normal pace.

Another important preparation step is to prepare questions. At almost every interview you will be asked if you have any questions for the interviewer. You should always have questions for the interviewer. The purpose of these questions is to demonstrate your interest in the company and role and to satisfy anything you have been curious about!