Job applicants have a tendency to underestimate interview questions that sound simple. I mean, everyone has their own point of view on the society they live in, so why to hide it in an interview?
Similar “simple sounding” questions include: “Name three characteristics of this company.”, “What would you say about your former boss?”, or “How would you describe your former colleagues?”.
Interviewers ask these questions for two reasons:
- To see whether you can assess skills, nature, and abilities of other people. You will need this ability in HR.
- To see your attitude, and your way of thinking about the others.
Your attitude matters
Now I would like to elaborate on the second point, as you really need to understand it, to form a good answer. Let’s have a look at two alternatives of an answer to the original question (three characteristics of Americans):
Option 1: I think they are lazy, over-confident and many times hard to deal with.
Option 2: I would say people in the United States are friendly and talkative, have huge potential, and a healthy level of self confidence, which is needed to be successful in today’s world.
Now imagine an HR worker with the attitude expressed in Option 1. Such a person always looks at bad things in people, and they consider it difficult to work with them. They will never be good at HR, simply because it would be difficult for them to build good relationships with the employees. They would struggle to see the good in the workers and help them to develop it further, in order to bring value to the team.
Oppositely, a second person sees American citizens as people who are ready to achieve what ever they want to achieve. They consider them friendly and talkative. That would be a good HR worker–looking for positives and seeing the good in each of us….
Speak nicely about the others
You should follow the second example, especially if you are interviewed for this job. It does not matter if they ask you about your former colleagues, bosses, class mates, or about people in general. Be positive, look for the good in people, and speak with enthusiasm about the others. Showcase the right personality and attitude for HR generalist/manager.
- How would you motivate people in our company, without offering them a raise?
- Imagine you should choose a new general manager for our company. What steps would you take?