Employees are the most important asset for any corporation. Unless they are satisfied with their position in the company, the compensation for their work and the employee benefits, and with the communication they have with managers and executives, the business won’t thrive.

Working as an Employee Relations Specialist, you will try your best to create and maintain positive relationships with new employees, overseeing their journey in the company, and helping them to address any conflicts they may have with the management, from the start of their employment to the end of it.

Supporting the HR department, you will participate in the interviews, training process, and you will conduct exit interviews, collecting data, trying to understand what the employees liked and didn’t like while working in the company. Then you will give recommendation to both HR and management, trying to improve indicators that are relevant for your job.

Let’s have a look at the questions you may face while trying to get this interesting job in an interview.


Why do you want to work as an Employee Relations Specialist?

Try to find a good balance between what you can bring onboard, and what you want to gain from having this job.

You can talk about your outstanding communication and negotiation skills, excellent knowledge of employment legislation, passion for working with people, and degree from HR. Having the right skills and attitude, you believe to have what it takes to help your employer create and retain excellent relations with the employees.

What’s more, you love the variety this HR Specialty offers. You know that you will participate in everything which concerns new employees, starting with hiring and training, and ending with exit interviews. One can learn a lot in this job, and actually have a big impact on the success of the business–because there’s no success without satisfied employees.

You are motivated to have such a great job, and feel confident you will reach your goals (with your skills and attitude). That are the two main reasons why you decided to apply.


Can you tell us more about your previous working experience?

You can get this job without having previous HR experience, but it is definitely a plus if you did anything similar in the past.

Actually the variety of duties you’ll have in your new job is your advantage at this point. Because in almost any other job you had, you for sure took care of at least some duties related to interviewing people, solving conflicts, negotiating with management, etc. Try to find this connection and explain it to the hiring managers.

You should also prepare an answer to “Why did you leave your last job?” interview question.  I suggest you to avoid negativity when talking about your former employers and colleagues. At the end of the day, your goal will be to foster great employee relations. If you struggled to have such relationships with your colleagues, from a position of an “ordinary” employee, you would hardly succeed as as employee relations specialist…


How will you identify employees who need your counseling and help?

First of all, ensure the interviewers that you want to make all new employees aware of your presence, and role in the company. During the orientation or training, you will explain your role and how you can help them, and let them know where they can find you.

What’s more, you do not plan to spend all your days sitting in a comfy chair, sipping coffee, waiting for a phone call from one of the employees. You want to be present in the workplace, keeping your eyes open, talking one on one to different employees, trying o understand if someone needs your counseling.

Most companies want to hire an employee relations specialist with a proactive approach to work. Ensure them that you belong to this group.

How do you imagine your role in the hiring process of a new employee?

This question is a bit tricky, but you should say that you want to be involved. You certainly won’t create the interview template, or lead the meetings with the candidates–that’s the role of other HR pros.

But you may have your chair in the interviewing panel, or at least oversee the process from close distance, ensuring that everything is in accordance with the employment law and regulations. Once they make their decision and choose someone, it will be your role to do the paperwork, explain everything to the new employee, and take part in their orientation and training.

At the end of the day, job applicant can also say no at the end of the interviews. And it happens often, even in big companies, because they run their interviews poorly, ghosting applicants, not replying to messages, or doing anything else which does not throw the best light on the company.

In such cases you should intervene, and give suggestions. Because the relationship building starts already with the first communication during the hiring process…


What questions will you ask an employee during an exit interview, and what will you try to find out?

Talking about questions, we have a separate article dedicated to the topic: Exit interview questions. Check it out and pick from five to ten questions for your interview answer.

And what should you try to find out? A lot of things:

  • Whether they were satisfied in the company.
  • Their main reason for leaving.
  • How they feel about the relationships with their colleagues and superiors.
  • What they liked and disliked about the job.
  • What role did the compensation played in their decision.
  • If they understood all policies and regulations clearly.
  • ….

At the end, you should have a good idea about things that a company (or a certain manager within the company) can improve on, if they want to retain employees, instead of seeing them leaving the place. You will prepare a report, and discuss it with the HR team, or with the manager in question.


In your opinion, what role does administrative work and reporting play in a job of an Employee Relations Specialist?

You should give it high importance. It is impossible to remember what you said and did, and how they responded, when you work with dozens of employees, and have many meetings each day. Ensure the interviewers that you want to track everything, making at least a simple record of every meeting with an employee.

You can talk about a master database, or a separate file for each employee, something you can refer to anytime there’s a problem, or when managers ask you to intervene in their relations with the employees. Having all information properly categorized and stored, it will be easy for you to find the answers, and take the most appropriate action…


Other questions you may face while trying to get a job of an Employee Relations Specialist

  • How do you see your role in the company, when it comes to job fairs and campus hiring?
  • Tell us about a conflict you had with someone in your last job. How did you solve it?
  • An employee complains that their manager ignores their feedback, and does not reply to their messages. What will you do?
  • How would you perform a background check of a new employee?
  • Tell us about a time when you used persuasion to successfully convince someone.
  • Mark has been working for the company for ten years, but now, due to some changes in the organizational structure, we have to fire him. What will you say to Mark, in one on one meeting? How will you communicate the message to him?
  • Tell us about a time you had to comply with a policy or procedure that you did not agree with.
  • Describe a time when you experienced a conflict of your personal and professional interests.
  • What are your salary expectations?


Conclusion, premium answers to all questions

Interview for a position of Employee Relations Specialist belongs to difficult job interview. You need a variety of skills and abilities to excel in the job, and the hiring managers will try to assess your skills with a variety of situational and behavioral questions.

What’s more, jobs in HR are extremely popular. More often than not, you will compete with dozens other applicants for the position. But you should focus on the things that you can control. Try to prepare for the questions, try to stand out with your answers, and do a good research about your new employer.

And if you are not sure how to answer the questions from my list, or experience interview anxiety, have a look at our Interview Success Package. Up to 10 premium answers to basically all tricky scenario-based questions you may face in your employee relations specialist job interview (+ more) will help you streamline your interview preparation, find the right words in every moment of the interview, outclass your competitors, and eventually get the job. Thank you for checking it out, and I wish you best of luck in this difficult interview!


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Matthew Chulaw
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