So you have a banking interview with human resources (HR)? What should you expect? Is it time to celebrate or to be concerned?
A lot will depend on the level of role and exactly how the employer uses HR in the interview/recruitment process. However, this is how I would be thinking about it if I was you.
HR will only typically get involved at the start or the end of an interview process. The business will take the middle part.
If this is the first outreach or response you’ve had from the employer, then it’s highly likely the contact is coming from an in-house recruitment team that will perform a first level phone screen. This can only be regarded as a good thing, but it’s also nothing to get excited about. There are plenty of hoops to jump through yet.
If however you’re now beyond this point and have met multiple people in the business including the hiring manager, and you’re told you need to speak to HR then things are clearly hotting up, and it’s reason to be hopeful.
In my experience, the meeting with HR will typically fall into one or other of these three types:
The 'closing interview'
This is more likely to be with someone in talent acquisition and will be about checking in with you regarding your level of motivation (excitement) and extracting the information they need to formulate an offer. It’s also an opportunity for you to ask questions.
The 'final approval'
More often or not, this will be with the relevant HR Business Partner or HR Director (depending on the size of firm). Either the business leader will have asked them to run the rule over you, or they will have invited themselves to do the same:) Either way, it should feel semiformal and a two-way conversation and will be about whether you fit the culture. At this point I would say the job is yours to lose.
The 'make or break'
This type of interview will feel friendly but formal. They will have some competency questions to run through with you, and there will also be a deeper dive on culture fit. There is every chance the hiring manager has asked HR(and it could be talent acquisition or the HR BP) to focus in on one or more areas of concern. If you experience this, then I would suggest things are in the balance. You’re on a shortlist of candidates that they're still considering (perhaps two or three)
So what should you prepare for? The obvious answer is the third and last option, of course. However, the relevant Recruiter(internal or external) should be able to give you more insight on what to expect, too.
Ultimately, if you prepare for the worst, you won’t have to hope for the best and won’t be shocked and disappointed if you’re put through your paces.
Dan Whitehead is founder of City Career LAB (a career coaching company) and a 20+ year veteran of recruitment and corporate Talent Acquisition in Financial Services.
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