Interviews conducted by human resource recruiters are meant to verify that a candidate possesses the basic skills necessary for the job and to get a feel for whether or not the candidate will fit into the organization's culture. If the candidate makes it through the HR interview, an interview with the candidate's potential manager will be arranged. The questions asked during the HR interview are similar no matter the organization, so preparing for such an interview means practice, practice, practice ... and a few other things.
Gather information about the organization you are interviewing with. Search the Internet for names of company leaders and their philosophy to make sure you're a good match for the organization and to give you an idea of your interviewer's perspective. Read about the organization's accomplishments and setbacks, its finances (see its annual report), and what it sells and to whom. Take note of what excites you most about the organization so you can reference this during the interview.
Check out the organization's competition to get a broader view of the industry. The more confidently and intelligently you can talk about the organization and the industry, the better your chances are of impressing the HR recruiter and getting an interview with your potential manager.
Practice answering typical HR interview questions, such as: "Tell me about yourself." "Do you work best by yourself or with others? Why?" "What are your strengths and weaknesses?" "Describe a time someone criticized your work and your response." Lists of potential interview questions and sample answers are available online. See the links below.
Ask a friend to role-play an interview scenario with you. Provide him with a list of questions, from which the "interviewer" may choose 10.
Prepare questions that YOU want to ask the recruiter about the position and the organization. For example, ask what the recruiter likes best about working there; ask him to describe the working environment at the office; and ask how soon they plan to fill the position you're seeking. Write down your questions and take them with you to the interview so you don't forget.
Dress professionally for the interview if meeting the recruiter in person. Aim to look qualified, competent and successful.
If interviewing over the phone, gather your resume, information about the company and the position you're interested in, a notebook and a pen. Then situate yourself in a quiet room away from barking dogs, music, TV sounds and children.
Don't underestimate the importance of an HR interview -- just because you are not meeting with your potential manager doesn't mean you don't need to impress the interviewer. In fact, the very opposite is true. In order to meet with your potential manager, you MUST impress the HR recruiter.