17 Senior HR Business Partner Interview Questions and Answers

Learn what skills and qualities interviewers are looking for from a senior HR business partner, what questions you can expect, and how you should go about answering them.

The human resources profession is constantly evolving. As the needs of businesses change, so too do the roles and responsibilities of HR professionals. A Senior HR Business Partner is a strategic partner and advisor to an organization’s leadership team, providing counsel on all aspects of human resources, from talent acquisition and development to employee relations and benefits.

If you’re looking for a Senior HR Business Partner job, you can expect to be asked a range of questions in your interview that assess your experience, HR knowledge, and ability to think strategically. To help you prepare, we’ve compiled a list of sample Senior HR Business Partner interview questions and answers.

Are you familiar with the various laws and regulations that apply to human resources professionals?

The interviewer may ask this question to assess your knowledge of the legal requirements that apply to human resources professionals. Your answer should include a brief overview of the laws and regulations you’re familiar with, as well as how you ensure compliance in your current role.

Example: “I am very familiar with the various laws and regulations that apply to human resources professionals. In my previous role, I was responsible for ensuring our company complied with all applicable federal and state laws regarding equal employment opportunity, discrimination, wage and hour laws and more. I also ensured we were compliant with any local ordinances or industry standards that applied to us.”

What are some of the most important qualities that an HR professional should have?

This question can help the interviewer determine if you possess the qualities that are most important to them. It is a good idea to review the job description before your interview and identify which skills, qualifications or experience they are looking for in an ideal candidate. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention two or three of these qualities and explain why they are important.

Example: “The most important quality I think an HR professional should have is empathy. In my experience, employees often come to HR with questions about their benefits, concerns about their work environment or other issues that may be causing them stress. Having empathy allows me to understand where they’re coming from and how best to address their needs. Another quality I feel is important is flexibility. As an HR professional, I need to be able to adapt to changing circumstances and provide solutions that meet the needs of both the employee and the company.”

How would you handle a situation where an employee was not complying with a new policy that you helped create?

An interviewer may ask you a question like this to assess your conflict resolution skills. Your answer should demonstrate that you can help employees understand policies and procedures, while also encouraging them to comply with company standards.

Example: “If an employee was not complying with a new policy I helped create, I would first meet with the employee one-on-one to discuss their concerns about the policy. If they still did not comply after our meeting, I would schedule another meeting with the employee and their manager to discuss the situation. In both meetings, I would encourage the employee to comply with the policy by explaining why it is important for the organization.”

What is your experience with developing and implementing new policies or procedures related to employee benefits or compensation?

This question can help the interviewer understand your experience with creating and implementing new policies or procedures that affect employees. Use examples from previous work experiences to highlight your ability to create effective policies and procedures, as well as your communication skills when working with management teams.

Example: “In my last role, I helped develop a new employee onboarding process that included training on company benefits and compensation plans. This was an important part of our HR strategy because it allowed us to ensure all new hires were aware of their benefits and how they could use them to support their professional development. Additionally, I worked with management to implement a new policy for performance reviews that focused on providing more constructive feedback to employees.”

Provide an example of a time when you provided guidance and support to a manager who was having difficulty managing their team effectively.

An interviewer may ask this question to learn more about your leadership skills and how you can help their organization’s managers. When answering, it can be helpful to describe a situation in which you helped the manager understand what they were doing well and what areas they could improve on.

Example: “In my previous role as an HR business partner, I worked with one of our senior managers who was having difficulty managing his team effectively. He would often become frustrated when employees didn’t follow through on tasks or projects he assigned them. After meeting with him several times, we determined that he needed some additional training on delegation techniques. We created a plan for him to attend a seminar on delegation strategies and provided him with resources to practice these new skills.”

If hired, what would be your priorities during your first few months on the job?

This question helps the interviewer determine how you plan to make an impact in your new role. Your answer should include a list of goals and objectives that show your commitment to helping the organization succeed.

Example: “My first priority would be to learn as much as I can about the company culture, including what makes it unique. I’d also like to get to know my team members so I can understand their strengths and weaknesses. This will help me create development plans for each employee based on their individual needs. Finally, I’ll want to review all HR policies and procedures to ensure they’re up-to-date.”

What would you do if you noticed a pattern of employees leaving the company around the same time?

This question can help the interviewer determine how you would handle a sensitive situation like this. You may be asked to describe your approach to handling employee departures and how you might use your HR business partner skills to address any issues that arise from these types of situations.

Example: “If I noticed employees leaving around the same time, I would first try to find out why they were leaving. If it was due to an issue with management or company culture, I would work with my senior manager to create a plan for addressing the problem. For example, if we had a high turnover rate in one department, I would meet with managers in that department to discuss what could be done to improve morale and reduce turnover.”

How well do you communicate verbally and in writing?

The interviewer may ask this question to assess your communication skills. They want to know how well you can explain complex ideas and concepts in a way that others understand them. Use examples from past experiences where you had to communicate with others about HR policies, procedures or other important information.

Example: “I have always been good at communicating verbally. I find it easy to speak clearly and confidently when presenting information to large groups of people. In my previous role as an HR business partner, I often presented company updates to the entire staff during our weekly meetings. I also regularly communicated with employees one-on-one about their concerns or questions.

In addition to verbal communication, I am confident in my writing abilities. I have experience drafting employee handbooks, policy manuals and training materials for new hires.”

Do you have experience creating employee handbooks?

An employer may ask this question to see if you have experience creating employee handbooks and other HR policies. They want to know that you can create these documents on your own, as well as review them with managers and executives for approval. In your answer, explain how you would go about creating an employee handbook or policy document. Explain what steps you would take to ensure the process was efficient and effective.

Example: “I’ve created employee handbooks in my previous role as a senior HR business partner. I first met with management to discuss their expectations of employees and outline any company policies. Then, I worked with legal counsel to make sure all policies were legally compliant. After that, I reviewed the handbook with senior management again before sending it out to employees.”

When is it appropriate to use disciplinary action?

When working as an HR business partner, you may need to address employee misconduct. Employers ask this question to make sure you know when it’s appropriate to use disciplinary action and how to do so effectively. In your answer, explain the steps you would take to determine if disciplinary action is necessary. Share a situation in which you used disciplinary action successfully.

Example: “I think it’s important to first try to resolve issues with employees before using disciplinary action. I have found that talking through problems can help employees understand why their actions are inappropriate. If they still don’t change their behavior after speaking with them, then I would consider disciplinary action.

In my previous role, I had an employee who was consistently late for work. After speaking with her about her tardiness, she didn’t change her behavior. So, I documented all of her absences and gave her a written warning. She continued to be late, so I eventually fired her.”

We want to increase our use of social media as a recruitment tool. What social media platforms should we use?

This question allows you to show your knowledge of the current trends in HR and how they can be applied to a specific company. When answering this question, make sure to mention platforms that are relevant to the industry or company you’re interviewing with.

Example: “I think social media is an excellent tool for recruitment because it’s free and accessible to everyone. I would recommend using LinkedIn as your primary platform since it has the most professional users. You should also use Twitter and Instagram to reach younger professionals who may not have a LinkedIn account yet. Facebook is another good option if you want to target older professionals.”

Describe your experience with using applicant tracking systems.

This question can help the interviewer determine your experience with using technology to complete HR tasks. Use examples from previous jobs to describe how you used applicant tracking systems and highlight any skills or knowledge you gained while using them.

Example: “In my last role, I was responsible for managing our company’s applicant tracking system. This included creating job listings, posting open positions on job boards and reviewing resumes submitted by applicants. I also had access to a database of candidates who were interested in working at our company. I could search through this database to find qualified candidates for open positions.

I learned how to use the applicant tracking system to its full potential so that I could streamline the hiring process and save time when searching for new employees.”

What makes you stand out from other candidates for this job?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your qualifications and how you can contribute to their company. Before your interview, make a list of the skills and experiences that qualify you for this role. Focus on what makes you unique from other candidates and highlight any transferable skills or certifications you have.

Example: “I am highly organized and detail-oriented, which is why I’ve been able to successfully complete projects ahead of deadlines in previous roles. In my last position, I managed an HR team of five employees, so I’m familiar with the responsibilities of this job. I also understand the importance of maintaining confidentiality when handling sensitive information. These skills make me a strong candidate for this role.”

Which HR certifications do you hold?

Employers may ask this question to see if you have the necessary certifications for the role. If they haven’t specified which certifications are required, it’s a good idea to research what certifications their HR team has and mention any that you hold.

Example: “I currently hold my PHR certification as well as SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP certifications. I am also in the process of completing my SPHR certification.”

What do you think is the most important role that HR business partners play within an organization?

This question helps the interviewer understand your perspective on what HR business partners do and how you view your role in an organization. Your answer can help the interviewer decide whether you are a good fit for their company by showing that you have similar values to those of the organization.

Example: “I think the most important role that HR business partners play is helping organizations achieve their goals through human resources. I believe that HR professionals should be involved in every aspect of the organization, from hiring new employees to developing training programs. By being involved in all aspects of the organization, we can ensure that our department is supporting the rest of the business.”

How often should employee benefits packages be reviewed?

This question can help the interviewer determine your knowledge of current HR practices. Your answer should include a specific time frame and how often you recommend reviewing benefits packages to ensure they are up-to-date with current laws and regulations.

Example: “I believe employee benefit packages should be reviewed at least once per year, but I prefer to review them twice per year. This allows me to check for any changes in state or federal law that may affect our company’s policies. It also gives me an opportunity to make sure all employees have access to the same benefits.”

There is a negative trend in employee morale. What would you do to address the issue?

This question can help the interviewer understand how you would handle a challenging situation. Use examples from your experience to show that you have what it takes to lead and motivate employees in a time of need.

Example: “I’ve worked with several companies who experienced low morale among their employees, which is why I developed my own method for addressing this issue. First, I would assess the company’s culture to see if there are any issues or concerns that may be causing employee dissatisfaction. If not, then I would look at the company’s leadership team to see if they’re providing adequate support to employees. If both of these areas check out, then I would focus on improving communication between management and employees so everyone feels heard.”


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