Prepare for your Director of Total Rewards interview. Understand the required skills and qualifications, anticipate the questions you may be asked, and study well-prepared answers using our sample responses.
The interviewer may ask this question to assess your knowledge of employment law and how it relates to total rewards. Use your answer to highlight your understanding of these regulations, as well as how you plan to comply with them in your new role.
Answer Example: “I am very familiar with the Fair Labor Standards Act, as well as other federal laws that regulate employee benefits. In my current role as director of total rewards, I am responsible for ensuring that our company is in compliance with all applicable laws. I also actively participate in industry groups and associations that help me stay up-to-date on any changes or updates to these laws.”
This question can help interviewers understand how you plan to communicate with employees about changes in their benefits packages or other personnel issues. Your answer should include examples of how you’ve communicated with employees in the past and what strategies have been most effective.
Answer Example: “I find that having regular meetings with employees to discuss total rewards strategies is one of the best ways to keep them informed about changes in benefits or other personnel issues. I also like to use email newsletters and other digital platforms to share information with employees who may not be able to attend the meetings. Finally, I always try to answer any questions employees may have about changes in their benefits or compensation packages.”
This question can help the interviewer determine how you would handle a challenging situation. Use examples from past experiences where you helped an employee understand the company’s policies or how you helped them find other benefits that met their needs.
Answer Example: “In my last role as director of human resources, I had an employee who was not satisfied with our new paid time off policy. He felt that it did not allow him to take enough time off when he needed it. After discussing his concerns with him, I learned that he needed more time off because he was caring for his elderly parents. We changed the policy so that employees could take up to five days of paid leave to care for family members.”
The interviewer may ask this question to assess your knowledge of federal laws that affect employee benefits and compensation. This can be an important factor in determining whether you are qualified for the director of total rewards position. To answer this question, you can list some of the most important aspects of these laws and explain how they apply to employers.
Answer Example: “I am very familiar with the Fair Labor Standards Act, which requires employers to pay employees at least minimum wage for all hours worked. I also understand that employers must provide overtime pay to employees who work more than 40 hours per week. In addition, I am aware of the Family and Medical Leave Act, which allows employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year for certain reasons.”
Employers ask this question to learn more about your leadership skills and how you plan and organize projects. They want to know that you can manage the total rewards program for their company, including employee benefits and perks. In your answer, explain some of the strategies you use to ensure that employees are satisfied with their benefits packages. Showcase some specific examples of how you helped improve or change benefits for the better.
Answer Example: “I find that one of the best ways to manage employee expectations is by having regular meetings with each department to discuss what benefits are available to them. I also make sure to update the employee handbook regularly so everyone knows what perks are available to them. Another strategy I use is to have open conversations with employees about their needs and wants when it comes to benefits. This helps me understand what they’re looking for and how I can improve upon our current offerings.”
The Fair Labor Standards Act is a federal law that governs employee wages and overtime. Employers ask this question to make sure you’re familiar with the FLSA and how it affects total rewards. If you are, share an example of how you’ve applied it in your previous role. If you aren’t, consider asking the interviewer for more information about the FLSA so you can do some research before your interview.
Answer Example: “The Fair Labor Standards Act is a very important law that ensures employees are paid fairly for their work. In my last role as director of human resources, we had several employees who were not receiving overtime pay when they should have been. I worked with our payroll team to make sure everyone was properly compensated for their time.”
This question can help the interviewer understand your knowledge of the total rewards strategy development process. Your answer should include a few key steps in the process and how you use them to create effective total rewards strategies.
Answer Example: “When developing a total rewards strategy, I find it important to first understand the company’s goals and objectives. Then, I can create a plan that aligns employee rewards with those goals. Next, I like to survey employees about their current rewards and compensation preferences. This helps me understand what they value most in their benefits packages so I can provide them with what they want. Finally, I make sure to monitor the effectiveness of the total rewards strategy over time so I can make any necessary adjustments.”
This question can help the interviewer understand your communication skills and how you would explain complex concepts to others. Use examples from your experience that show your ability to simplify ideas and make them easy to understand.
Answer Example: “I would start by explaining what total rewards is—it’s the combination of all the rewards an organization offers its employees, such as salary, benefits, and incentives. Then I would explain why it’s important for companies to have a total rewards strategy in place. I would explain that it helps them attract and retain top talent by providing an array of benefits that meet their needs and wants.”
Employers ask this question to see if you have experience with employee satisfaction surveys and how you use the results. They want to know that you understand how important it is to listen to your employees’ feedback and use it to improve their total rewards packages. In your answer, explain what type of surveys you’ve used in the past and why they were effective.
Answer Example: “I have used employee satisfaction surveys in my previous roles as director of total rewards. I find that these surveys are an effective way to get feedback from employees about their experiences with the company’s benefits package. After receiving the results, I work with my team to create new policies and programs that will improve satisfaction. For example, last year we received feedback that employees wanted more flexibility with their health insurance plans. So, we started offering more plans with different deductible levels.”
The interviewer may ask this question to learn more about your conflict management skills. They want to know how you handle disagreements between employees and managers, as well as how you resolve them. In your answer, try to describe the situation, what you did to resolve it and what the outcome was.
Answer Example: “In my last role as director of human resources, I had an employee who was unhappy with their salary. They felt like they were not being paid enough compared to other employees in their position. I met with them to discuss their concerns and offered to look into their salary information. After doing some research, I discovered that they were right—there were other employees who were making more than them. I worked with our team to create a new pay scale that would ensure everyone was being paid fairly.”
This question helps the interviewer assess your planning skills and how you would apply them to the role. Your answer should include a step-by-step plan for developing a total rewards strategy for the company, including any research or consultation you would do prior to developing the strategy.
Answer Example: “My first step would be to meet with senior leadership to discuss their goals for total rewards. I would then create a timeline for when I would complete each step of the process, including researching current practices in the industry, creating a draft total rewards strategy and implementing changes based on the strategy.”
The interviewer may ask this question to assess your knowledge of the industry and how you would respond to a challenge. Use examples from your experience to show that you are willing to research competitive benefits packages and make recommendations for improvement.
Answer Example: “If I discovered that our current benefits package was not competitive with other companies in our industry, I would first do some research to find out exactly what makes other companies’ packages more appealing than ours. I would then meet with the hiring manager and other leaders to discuss our options for improving our benefits package. Together, we could decide which benefits are most important to us and which ones we could do without in order to afford more generous offerings.”
The interviewer may ask this question to assess your experience with vendor management and compliance training. This is an important role in the total rewards department, as it ensures that employees are receiving their benefits in a timely manner and according to company policy. In your answer, explain how you’ve handled vendor management in the past and what steps you took to ensure compliance training was effective.
Answer Example: “In my previous role as director of total rewards, I worked with several vendors who provided our employees with benefits such as health insurance, 401(k) plans and pension plans. To ensure that we were compliant with all federal regulations, I held regular meetings with our human resources team and vendors to discuss changes in policy and procedures. We also had an employee hotline where employees could call if they had any questions about their benefits.”
This question can help the interviewer determine your knowledge of total rewards and how you apply it in the workplace. Use examples from past experiences where you helped employees gain equity in the company, or explain when it’s not appropriate to offer this type of compensation.
Answer Example: “I believe it’s important to offer employees equity in the company when they’ve been with us for at least five years. This gives them time to prove their value to the organization and shows them that we value their loyalty. It also helps motivate them to work harder because they have something to gain from their efforts. In my last role, we offered employees stock options after three years of employment.”
Employers ask this question to see if you have experience improving employee retention rates. They want to know that you can use your skills and knowledge to help their company retain employees longer. In your answer, explain how you would use your expertise to develop a strategy for improving employee retention rates.
Answer Example: “I would first assess the reasons why employees are leaving the company. Then, I would create an action plan based on the reasons I found. For example, if I discovered that many employees were leaving because of their salary, I would work with the HR team to create a compensation plan that’s more competitive.”
The interviewer may ask you this question to assess your process for conducting performance reviews and how you use them to determine an employee’s compensation. Use examples from past experiences where you used a specific process or methodology to conduct a performance review.
Answer Example: “I start by reviewing the employee’s goals and objectives for the year, then I assess their performance against those goals. Next, I compare their performance against their peers to ensure they’re receiving fair compensation. Finally, I meet with the employee to discuss their performance and provide them with their final salary increase for the year.”
Employers ask this question to learn more about your qualifications and how you can contribute to their company. Before your interview, make a list of all the skills and experiences that qualify you for this role. Focus on what makes you unique from other candidates and highlight any transferable skills or knowledge you have.
Answer Example: “I am passionate about helping employees achieve their goals and objectives. I believe in providing a rewarding work environment that encourages growth and development. In my previous role, I implemented several initiatives to improve employee satisfaction, including flexible scheduling and increased bonuses. My team saw an increase in productivity and morale.”