All the applicants for an HR management role are going to be experts on interviewing. To stand out from the crowd and secure a second interview you have to demonstrate that you are the ideal candidate with the skill set and experience to meet the company’s hiring needs. You will need to demonstrate that your HR expertise will add value.
If you have CIPD, HR or business qualifications that show your expertise in a specific topic make sure you emphasise your experience. If you also hold professional association or board roles these will, hopefully, showcase you as an HR hotshot.
It is imperative to show that you understand business and have developed robust commercial awareness, especially for senior roles. Business awareness that enables you to be real strategic business partner, rather than just fulfilling a transactional role. People are our most important asset and employee engagement drives shareholder value. HR doesn’t work in isolation; people management is at the heart of business success. You need to demonstrate a professional level of understanding of business strategy.
Show the interviewer that you know HR isn’t a stand-alone operation. Research the company’s accounts, growth initiatives, and mission statement. Contact anyone you know inside the organisation to find out about ethos, culture, any big projects or achievements, and current business issues. Emphasise how your specific skills and knowledge will help the company address these issues. Be able to offer solid analytical and systematic insight to ideas and solutions which will resonate with your interviewer.
If you have spent time in a non-HR capacity, perhaps in a business unit leadership role or in a secondment to finance or marketing this will add weight to your application. Such experience not only equips you for an HR leadership role but, potentially, for business leadership positions too. Showcase key management abilities with a focus on topics like employee engagement, conflict management, and able to talk about management skills with real-life examples of situations you’ve handled.
This is not just a question of implementing management strategy but about being informed and qualified to shape strategy. It’s about being aware of your organisation, industry and sector and the economic environment in which they operate so as to help drive the organisation forward. A business orientated HR professional brings something meaningful to the table and is capable of dealing with other professional managers on an equal footing and from a comparable knowledge base that colleagues can take seriously.
Show the interviewer the value of your management skillset by offering facts and figures. Articulate the statistical impact your HR initiatives on turnover, or the ROI arising from your projects and use tangible examples.
When you get the opportunity try to ask questions that will allow you to expand on topics covered in the interview and steer the discussion to your areas of expertise.