Common reward analyst interview questions and answers

Written by
Changeboard Team

21 Jan 2020

21 Jan 2020 • by Changeboard Team

Take a fresh look at these typical reward analyst interview questions (and answers). This resource can help HR job candidates ace that  interview and recruiters choose the best fit for the role.

This resource will explore…

  • The key responsibilities and skill requirements of all reward analyst jobs
  • Example reward analyst interview questions (and answers) to help both candidates and recruiters have a successful outcome

Typical reward analyst interview questions:

  • What rewards experience do you have?
  • How do you respond to working independently?
  • Can you describe a time where you previously improved a rewards programme? How did you do it?
  • Can you describe a time when you overcame a challenge in your most recent role? What are your strengths?

Read on to discover typical answers to these common reward interview questions. Candidates - know how to answer. Recruiters - know what you're looking for in a candidate's reply.

What is a reward analyst? Defining the role

Your job as a reward analyst is to create and deliver a successful reward strategy. And what does a great reward or compensation strategy look like? It’s one that tallies with company investments and successfully attracts, inspires and retains the right employees. Don’t forget – you may be called upon to support with developing policies and implementing new processes, too.

The first step to preparing for common reward analyst interview questions is to understand what the role entails.

Become familiar with typical reward analyst skills and competencies

To be (or to find) a must-hire candidate is to understand what skills and competencies are a good fit for the role.

CANDIDATES: Tailor your CV, cover letter and interview answers to draw upon your relevant strengths. Familiarise yourself with the role’s requirements and key must-haves and nice-to-haves in the job posting.

RECRUITERS: Sculpt your interview questions to help candidates reveal instances where they’ve displayed the reward analyst skills and knowledge you’re looking for.

Example skills and competencies for reward analysts

Critical thinking

As a highly data-driven analyst, you’ll apply data insight to form conclusions or make recommendations. This means you need to base your decisions on logic, maintain a fresh perspective, and challenge assumptions. Yes, that includes challenging your own assumptions. Data is only as valuable as the effectiveness of the insights drawn from it.

Planning and organisation skills

You’ll often be working under pressure and prioritising work in order to meet deadlines. You may have multiple projects on the go, such as performing competitive marketplace positioning and participating in salary surveys while supporting the reward manager on employee benefit and incentive related tasks. On top of this, you’ll be helping to deliver existing benefit and incentive schemes and still keeping up with a general administration workload.

The ideal reward analyst candidate will be able to act on their own initiative without being micro-managed. This level of self-management is a key element of effective planning and organisation. If you’ve managed a project or had sole responsibility for a project or task, it’s worth bringing up in an interview.

Communication skills

Not everyone you talk to at work is an analyst. You might be expected to form solid relationships with the wider business and interact with key stakeholders. You’ll almost certainly be expected to simplify big swathes of data so that colleagues at all levels can understand the insights you’ve drawn from data analysis.

Accuracy and an eye for detail

The devil is in the details – and the successful reward analyst has an eagle eye for data on a micro level as well as a macro level. You’ll need to accurately analyse data (salary data, for instance) and ensure compliance.

Decision making

As a reward analyst you may not be making key decisions yourself, but you need to support leaders in making the right decisions. You need to put yourself in their shoes. The organisation may need to factor ethics into decision making to ensure a reward strategy matches an organisation’s purpose and culture. When making data-driven recommendations, you need to be aware of the difference between problem-solving and decision making, too. As a reward analyst you’ll feel very close to the key pillars of the organisation and aim to familiarise yourself with business goals and leadership requirements.

Common reward analyst interview questions…

Q. How do you respond to working independently?

CANDIDATES: You are self-motivated, work well without supervision and can manage your time well. You prioritise tasks as needed to ensure delivery of key projects, reports, processes and recommendations. You are able to escalate issues or provide solutions to ensure deadlines are met. Give a relevant past example of working independently with a successful outcome. Outline a time you used your initiative, without handholding from managers, to successfully resolve a work-related problem.

RECRUITERS: Look for authentic confidence in the candidate. Determine if the candidate is able to use critical thinking and problem-solving to cope with the pressure of multiple tasks and deadlines.

Q. Can you describe a time when you overcame a challenge in your most recent role?

CANDIDATES: As with the question above, use this question as an opportunity to demonstrate your initiative and independence. Describe a challenge where you were able to keep a cool head and think critically in order to achieve a successful solution in good time.

Q. Can you describe a time where you previously improved a rewards programme? How did you do it?

CANDIDATES: Outline your methods and processes, and highlight the techniques/software you used. Your example will ideally show the recruiter that you are up to date with current technology and thinking. If you used legacy methods – perhaps due to the nature of the organisation – be sure to clarify that and either offer another example demonstrating your awareness of up to date processes, or outline what you would do differently moving forwards.

RECRUITERS: Use the candidate’s answer to determine if their methods suit your organisation. Their answer should help you determine if they are flexible and dedicated enough to work to new and better methods as the reward analysis process evolves.

Q. What are your strengths?

CANDIDATES: No doubt you have numerous strengths! However, shape your answer to tally with your strong database or analytic skills. The recruiter will expect you to be adaptable and productive with broad industry knowledge and an understanding of business requirements. They will almost certainly want you to show you have strong leadership and organisational qualities to help you be effective at project management. Finally, you may want to emphasise your communication and teamwork skills, to demonstrate your ability to work with all levels of the business.

RECRUITERS: You’ll know best the specific role’s requirements best. In general, look for candidates with good analytic/data-compatible skills who are adaptable and can see the big picture as well as the tiny details.

Q. What rewards experience do you have?

CANDIDATES AND RECRUITERS: The following experience would in most cases be desirable to mention/hear:

  • Developing/actioning/managing reward schemes
  • Experience in salary analysis and research
  • Benchmarking salary structures
  • Managing databases

When a candidate makes it to interview, they’ve already impressed the recruiter with their cover letter and CV. Familiarity with these common reward analyst interview questions and answers will help smooth the hiring process for jobseekers and talent acquisition professionals alike.

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