Sample HR Generalist job description and interview questions

Maintaining organized human resources processes and policies is imperative in creating a safe and productive work environment for your employees. One member of the HR team that can help support that mission is an HR Generalist. HR Generalists are multi-skilled HR professionals that support a wide range of HR functions and build company HR policies.

If you’re looking to hire an HR Generalist for your organization, take a look at this sample HR Generalist job description to learn about the key job duties and required qualifications. You can also explore some useful questions for HR Generalist candidates during job interviews.

What is an HR Generalist?

A Human Resources Generalist, or HR Generalist, is an HR professional that helps manage employee relations activities including payroll processing, staffing, new employee onboarding, training, and more. They do not specialize in any specific area of HR and instead tend to be involved in all of the company’s HR processes.

The HR Generalist typically reports to the HR Director. They may oversee direct reports such as HR Assistants, interns, or other staff members

HR Generalist Job Description Template


The HR Generalist will oversee a variety of human resources tasks to contribute to the day-to-day operations of the HR department. The person hired will help develop HR policies and new employee training programs. The HR Generalist will also maintain employee files, participate in performance evaluations, and administer employee benefits. The ideal candidate will have excellent communication skills and prior employee relations experience.

Job Responsibilities

  • Facilitating the new hire onboarding process including onboarding paperwork and training coordination.

  • Support the performance management process by scheduling and conducting employee performance reviews and facilitating goal-setting.

  • Administer employee benefits and coordinate open enrollment.

  • Develop and update human resources policies.

  • Oversee payroll processing to ensure accurate on-time payments each pay period.

  • Manage employee time off policies and leave including FMLA.

  • Ensure all policies comply with the required labor laws.

  • Maintain a positive and productive work environment and contribute to the company’s culture.

  • Conducting exit interviews with employees that voluntarily leave the organization.


  • Bachelor’s degree in business administration, human resource management, or a related field.

  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills.

  • Two to three years of experience in human resources.

  • Strong problem-solving and time-management skills.

  • Proficiency with Microsoft Excel and HRIS systems.

  • Familiarity with HR labor laws and regulations.

HR Generalist Interview Questions

Here are some helpful questions to ask when interviewing candidates for an HR Generalist role.

HR-generalist-job-description-450x350pxPlease tell me about your past human resources experience. What areas of HR do you feel that you are most skilled in?

HR Generalists usually work across several areas of HR. Because the human resources processes and priorities can vary greatly between different organizations, it can be helpful to dive into the candidates’ past experience and learn more about the areas they are most knowledgeable or experienced in. For example, some organizations have a separate recruiting team and others have the HR team manage the recruitment process.

What factors do you consider when developing an HR policy? What is your process for creating and implementing new policies?

Creating human resources policies is a core function of an HR Generalist role, and it’s a task that can have a huge impact on the company. Some factors the candidate may touch on include how they identify the need for a new policy, their writing process, the research process, and who they speak with for feedback.

Ideally, the candidate should have a strong understanding of how the new policy should align with relevant employment laws and the company’s culture. HR policies are compliance tools and also contribute to the overall culture of the company. For example, a company’s flexible work policy or time off policy may reflect the company’s culture and values when it comes to work-life balance and flexibility for employees. These policies may also be relevant for employer branding and recruiting processes. The candidate should demonstrate that they consider all of these extra implications of a new policy.

Many HR Generalists take a collaborative approach by seeking feedback from department managers or even employees on proposed changes. They may also work with an employment lawyer to draft policies. They should also remain open to feedback and collaboration after the policy is drafted and shared with staff members. If the candidate doesn’t offer information on how they introduce a new policy or handle feedback in their initial response, consider inquiring about that with a follow-up question.

What HR software tools do you have experience with?

HR Generalists tend to interact with a number of different HR software tools. They may utilize human resources information systems (HRIS), payroll tools, time and attendance software, benefits portals, and more. Most employers seek to hire a Human Resources Generalist with strong computer skills and prior experience using tools similar to the ones currently used by the company.

How do you keep the employee onboarding process organized?

Providing a well-organized and welcoming new hire onboarding process is imperative. As such, it’s necessary to hire an HR Generalist that understands how to conduct a great employee onboarding process. Each HR professional has their own process, so there’s not one right answer, but it’s important they they have a process and some onboarding system.

Many HR Generalists use an onboarding checklist to track required paperwork and activities. Some use the 30-60-90 approach to organize and track all of the onboarding activities and check-ins throughout the employee’s first 90 days. Ideally, the candidate should also touch on how they work with the new hire’s direct manager and other relevant parties such as IT Managers or Training Managers to get everything set up and ready before the new employee’s first day.

How do you stay up to date on employment laws and trends in the HR field?

HR Generalists need to stay on top of a variety of employment laws. Since they are generalists, they should keep track of legislative updates related to all areas of HR including employee classification, pay, time off, and other pertinent areas of HR. If you hire an HR Generalist that does not make a concerted effort to stay up-to-date with legal changes, you may run into some compliance issues.

There are a number of ways for HR Generalists to stay up to date on relevant legal updates such as industry publications, HR or employment law newsletters, continuing education classes, or industry groups like the Society of Human Resources Professionals (SHRM).