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Employee relations interview questions focus on a candidate's knowledge and understanding of topics essential to strengthening the employer-employee relationship. These questions can be behavioral or situational and may address topics such as labor and employment law, processes for handling workplace investigations or the importance of employee recognition, and how to plan employee events.
Employee Relations Jobs
Jobs for human resources professionals with specialized expertise in employee relations are similar to jobs for HR generalists because they require knowledge of all the human resources disciplines. Seasoned employee relations specialists and managers are capable of handling employment matters that involve compensation and benefits, safety, recruiting or training, and development. Additionally, they are well-versed in identifying and resolving workplace issues stemming from unfair employment practices, discrimination and harassment. Many high-level employee relations specialists and managers are adept in designing strategic improvements in the workplace using employee opinion surveys and action plans.
Employee relations interview questions that help employers determine why a candidate has chosen this field and how his career goals evolved are questions such as “Describe what inspired your interest in employee relations,” “What do you like best about the employee relations discipline and what do you like least about it?” or “How did you first get involved in the employee relations section of your employer’s human resources department?” Candidates with experience and expertise in a variety of human resources disciplines are likely to have found an aspect of employee relations that’s suited to their personal interests, such as helping employers reach organizational goals through improving the value of human capital.
Some employee relations professionals gained entry to the field by default, meaning the department needed someone to fill a vacancy. The candidate may not have initially set her sights on a career in employee relations but the opportunity to volunteer in the area spawned an interest. Other employee relations specialists consciously set out to develop their expertise in the area through learning the application of labor and employment laws and how to improve workplace factors such as employee engagement. Interview questions about human resources certification, continuing education and professional training are essential for employers who require these credentials. They aid in determining employee relations expertise. A sample interview question about expertise is “Explain the activities or courses you completed for your most recent Senior Professional Human Resources recertification requirements.”
Labor relations specialists – responsible for negotiating collective bargaining agreements, handling management’s response to employee grievances and creating a productive relationship between management and labor – are often well-versed in laws such as the National Labor Relations Act. Interview questions for labor relations specialists focus on knowledge of labor-management rules, negotiation skills and knowledge of labor law. Labor relations specialists and employee relations specialists fulfill similar roles; however, they work in union and nonunion work environments, respectively.
Behavioral Interview Questions
Behavioral interview questions are an ideal way to determine how a prospective employee relations specialist handles workplace issues that require use of analytical thought processes and communication skills. Examples of behavioral interview questions for employee relations specialists are “Explain your process for investigating workplace complaints concerning possible sexual harassment,” and “How would you identify and resolve a workplace issue that involves discord among several employees in one department?” Responses from an experienced employee relations specialist give insight to the way she communicates with employees from different levels and her knowledge of human resources best practices for applying labor and employment regulations.
Ruth Mayhew has been writing since the mid-1980s, and she has been an HR subject matter expert since 1995. Her work appears in "The Multi-Generational Workforce in the Health Care Industry," and she has been cited in numerous publications, including journals and textbooks that focus on human resources management practices. She holds a Master of Arts in sociology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. In addition, she earned both the SHRM-Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP), through the Society for Human Resource Management, and certification as athe Senior Professional Human Resources (SPHR) through the Human Resources Certification Institute. Ruth also is certified as a facilitator for the Center for Creative Leadership Benchmarks 360 Assessment Suite, and is a Logical Operations Modern Classroom Certified Trainer . Ruth resides in North Carolina and works from her office in the nation's capital, Washington, D.C.