Source – Robert Half
You’re in the hot seat during job interviews. To avoid being tongue-tied on the big day, rehearse your delivery of answers to all the payroll interview questions you can think of. Here are some you may encounter:
Informational questions. Managers often start interviews with these queries as a way to get to know you and gauge your interest in the position.
- What can you tell me about yourself?
- Why did you choose payroll as a career?
- What interests you about this position?
- Why do you want to work for this company?
Functional questions. After finding out who you are, the next set of interview questions may deal with your knowledge base.
- Which payroll systems have you worked with?
- What are some differences between an employee and contractor?
- Can you describe Fair Labor Standards?
- What is FICA, and how is it calculated?
- What are some examples of voluntary deductions?
- What are some examples of involuntary deductions?
- What benefits are taxable?
- What Excel skills do you use as part of your payroll duties?
Behavioral questions. How you’ve handled work issues is a good indicator of future performance, so interviewers will want to know more about situations in your past jobs using behavioral questions.
- Have you ever had to deliver bad news to someone? How did you approach it?
- When have you make a mistake on the job, and how did you resolve it?
- How do you manage your time so that you meet payroll-related deadlines?
- Can you describe a time when your ethics felt challenged?
- How do you stay current on regulatory and compliance changes?
Situational questions. These are similar to behavioral questions, but with a hypothetical component.
- An employee is angry because payroll made a withholding error. What are your next steps?
- An employee asks for reimbursement for a questionable business expense. How do you handle it?
- What would you do if you discovered a mistake on a coworker’s year-end report?
- Due to something that is not your fault, payroll will be late this pay period. How do you deliver this news company-wide?
Questions about workplace fit. To avoid a bad hire, organizations want to make sure new employees will get along well in their corporate culture.
- How would your colleagues describe you?
- Do you prefer to work alone or as part of a team?
- What is your pet peeve at work?
- What do you do to beat stress in the payroll department?
- How do you prefer to communicate with colleagues? With management?
Curveball questions. Some hiring managers like to see how you think on your feet, which is the rationale behind questions that have nothing to do with the job itself.
- Which Hogwarts house would the Sorting Hat place you in?
- How many Peeps are made each year?
- If you could be any animal for a day, what would you choose and why?
There’s no good way to prepare for wacky questions, and that’s OK. Just relax and give a creative answer. A sense of humor can definitely help. The worst response is to go silent or get flustered.