How to Ace an Initial Interview With HR

November 28, 2022 in Career and Job Search Tips, Interview Tips



You got an interview! Now you typically need to prepare for the first-round interview with the company’s human resources department representative.

Landing the first-round interview is a huge accomplishment in your job search process. Overall, it means that you did something right when it comes to the application process. For instance, your resume was on-point, your experience is on-track, and your cover letter was well-written. But now it’s time to interview and prove that you are what they are looking for!

A first-round interview is usually done over the phone or by video call. It’s a screen that you have to pass in order to be truly considered for the job. It has its own set of best practices and precautions that should be acknowledged in order to make sure you’re putting your best foot forward.

Here Are Four Initial Interview Tips for Snagging That Second-Round Spot:

1. Prepare Answers for These Three Common Interview Questions.

There are certain questions that every interviewer will ask in one form or another, so you have to be ready to answer them regardless of which career path you’re trying to enter. The good news is, if you’re a great candidate for the job, coming up with an answer that will impress your interviewer should be easy.

These questions are:

  • Why are you interested in this role?
  • What are your strengths?
  • Why do you want to work at this company in particular?

2. Next, Exemplify That You Have Done Your Research.

There are three things you really need to learn about before your interview:

  • Learn about the company’s business and history. You should know what the business does (obviously) and how it started. Make note of things like acquisitions, major turning points, and the biggest wins (and losses) in its history. This kind of information can come in handy and—more important—is not something you want to be caught off-guard without.
  • Learn about your potential role. Understanding the business means understanding what you would add to the business. Thoroughly read the job description. After that, search the name of the role plus the name of the company to get more example-based definitions of the position. This will greatly inform your answers in regard to strengths, fit, and what you hope to gain.
  • Check the news. When was the last time the company made the news? You probably won’t want to bring up any scandals or PR disasters. But showing them that you not only keep abreast of current affairs but also have an eye on the company is a great opportunity to shine.

How are you going to show them you’ve done the work? Let the research inform your answers. It’s okay to be explicit and say, “For example, in my research, I learned…” They don’t expect you to be a lifelong expert on the company, just someone who can do their homework when called upon.

3. Express Enthusiasm and Gratitude Throughout the Entire Interview.

Already by applying, you’ve shown some interest in the position. However, to prove to the interviewer that this isn’t “just another job” to you, make sure to sound engagedenthusiastic, and grateful for the interviewer’s time and consideration. This is especially important over the phone, where your interviewer’s only impression of your attitude is the sound of your voice.

If you’re nervous, you should answer the phone with a happy, “Hi, this is ____.” rather than just a “Hey!” or “Hello.” Next, listen closely to what the interviewer says, thank them for their time, and be sure you’re showing your enthusiasm with thoughtful answers. It’s better to be over-enthusiastic than not at all!

4. Lastly, Have a Notepad and Printed Version of Your Resume in Front of You.

During the phone call, try to jot down quick talking points you want to hit later. This is especially important if they’ve sent you documents to look at on the computer or have asked you to follow a link. You can’t always use your computer to take notes and you don’t want to miss something important. 

Kinsa Group’s recruiters and our broad network of food industry executives are always looking for top talent and we’d like to help you find the best opportunity to match your skills. Submit your resume below and our recruiters will reach out as new roles open up!

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