Without any doubt, people are the most important asset for every business. Without employees there wouldn’t be any employers, and without satisfied employees an organization can hardly achieve any success. HR plays a pivotal role in finding the right people, and in keeping them motivated and happy while they are in the company. Whether you apply for a job of an HR Generalist, Recruiter, HR Coordinator, Training Specialist, Payroll Specialist, HR Manager, or any other common role in human resources, you will often face the question: “Why do you want to work in HR?”, or one of the alternative variations with the same or very similar meaning, such as:
- Why did you choose HR as your career?
- Why are you interested in human resources job?
- Why are you interested in HR?
Let’s have a look at 7 sample answers. I purposely included some unconventional answers in my selection, for job candidates who’d like to stand out with their answers, saying something different than the rest of the pack will say. Do not forget to read also my notes below the list of answers, where I explain what you should focus on while trying to make a great impression on the hiring managers..
7 sample answers to “Why do you want to work in Human Resources?” interview question
- I just love to work with people. Considering my strengths and personality, I find HR a better match than finance or sales, for example. What is more, I would like to specialize in employee training down the road, so a role of an HR Generalist is the best starting point for me.
- I’ve been working in HR for the past four years already. Have my share of experience with recruitment, interviewing, employee orientation and training, as well as payroll. I must say that the four years I’ve spent in the field have convinced me that HR is the right choice for me, because I have not only enjoyed my job, but I also achieved some decent results for my former employer, such as reducing the employee fluctuation rate by 30%, or the overall training costs by 20% in average. Having said that, I am definitely not complacent and want to keep on improving. An HR Manager position in your company seems like an ideal opportunity to do so.
- I just understand the impact one can have in HR, especially as a recruiter. You know, companies aren’t made of buildings, and other tangible property. Great companies are made of great people. And whether you get such people onboard, and manage to keep them in the company, depends primarily on HR. I’d love to participate on this operation, and that’s why I chose HR for my career. And though I have to start from the very bottom, as an HR coordinator, I fancy my chances of climbing up a corporate ladder and eventually perhaps head the entire HR department one day. Why not?
- To be honest, I simply need a change. As you can see on my resume, I’ve been working as a programmer for over a decade. And though I certainly like my salary and everything, it’s been a lonely ride most of the time. I just do not enjoy it anymore. To me, HR is a perfect antithesis of programming. You meet people every day, participating in the interviews, helping new hires with orientation, having talks about salary raise, saying “goodbye” to people who leave the company. This is something I’d love to do, and I believe to have the skills required for the job.
- Speaking honestly, I do not have a particular preference. Fresh of the college, I’d like to try different job fields, perhaps staying one year in HR, one in finance, and one in marketing. I know such a rotation is possible in your company. After the three years I should understand which field is the best match for my strengths and preferences, and I can specialize in it down the road.
- I have a goal and the goal is to have my own recruitment consultancy one day. To be my own boss, and help companies from the area with their recruitment. Having said that, I know that I cannot just open a consultancy without any real experience. I’d love to work for a company like this one for at least five years, learn the ins and outs of hiring new staff and interviewing job candidates, and then perhaps progress with the realization of my dream. At least that’s the plan for now, and the reason why I am interested in this HR job. Of course, if you hire me and if I like it a lot here and progress in the hierarchy of the HR department, I may eventually stay for much longer than for five years.
- The most important thing for me is to get a job with your company. I really love your brand, the working environment, the employee benefits. Considering my education and working experience, I think I have the best chance of getting in applying for a role of an HR Generalist. That’s why I submitted an application for this position, and so far it is working, because I got the interview with you. But I do not see the job just as a means to an end, to perhaps having a completely different position with you in three years time. I like the job description, and I think that I can excel as an HR Generalist in your corporation. Having said that, I am definitely not fixated on the position, or on HR in general, and can imagine having variety of positions in this company…
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Focus on the future, not on the past
A common mistake job seekers do is talking too much about the past. They say that they want to work in HR because they’ve earned a degree in Human Resources. This isn’t a good answer, however. It indicates a must–you’ve already invested a lot of money, and a part of your youth, to studying in the field, so now you have to get a job in it. That’s not an attitude you want to show in this interview…
Focus on the present, and the future. You can talk about a particular role you want to have in HR in three years from now, or even about starting your own recruitment consultancy ten years down the road. Another great alternative is referring to your strengths, personality traits and abilities that make from you an excellent candidate for working in HR.
Changing a career for HR is nothing unusual in 21st century
If you’ve worked in a completely different field for years, it definitely isn’t a showstopper. Many people experience a burnout, sooner or later in their career, and changing their field of work completely is one of the best ways of dealing with the burnout.
You just have to explain the interviewers why you want to make a change, and ensure them that you do not mind earning less than you’ve been earning in your old job, since you’ll be starting from scratch in HR. As long as you explain these two things, you are good to go. HR is a great field, and many people who worked with computers, or is sales with ambitious and hard to achieve monthly goals (and a lot of stress that goes with it), become eventually interested in HR career. Maybe you belong to this group?
Department of the company doesn’t have to be the decisive factor for you
Maybe you do not really care whether you’ll work in HR, Finance, Marketing, or let’s say FP&A. You just want to get a job with one of the big 4 companies, or perhaps with one of the Fortune 500 giants, and job in HR is just one of the positions you are applying for.
This answer can definitely work in big corporations, as long as you elaborate on it. Give them some praise, explaining why it matters so much for you to work for them. Share your plan with the hiring managers. Perhaps you want to start in HR and then test the waters in two or three other fields, before deciding about your ultimate specialization. As long as you want to stay with the company, the interviewers will be satisfied with such an answer…
Ready to answer this one? I hope so! Do not forget to check also 7 sample answers to other tricky interview questions:
- Tell me about a time when you were forced to make an unpopular decision.
- How do you think I rate as an interviewer?
- HR Generalist interview questions – Check out the complete list of 25 questions for one of the most common positions in HR, and learn how to ace your interview.