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Payroll Administrator Sample Job Interview Questions

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Below are the top questions asked by today’s recruiters, high-profile employers, and human resource professionals. Use these questions to help you prepare for your next job interview.

Remember that a core part of the job is processing facility payroll in accordance with established policies and procedures, so make sure you have an example of when you explained complex payroll issues. If the interviewer asked why you left the last job be tactful since this is a test of your ability to maintain confidential information. Remember a large part of the job is maintaining the confidentiality of payroll data. Show the employer how you limit discussions and sharing of payroll related information to those with a “need to know” basis.

Most employers put an emphasis in preparing and submit accurate and complete payroll data within established time frames. This means you have to show the interviewer that you can meet deadlines. The best way is to speak to your track record in meeting deadlines given by your boss or regulatory reports. Lastly show the employer you have attention to detail, why? Because an important part of this role is to ensure each employee receives the correct amount of wages on each scheduled pay day.

What kinds of tax payments have you processed?

Tell me about your background with time and labor management, HR data maintenance and reporting.


You will organize and maintain all records related to payroll, human resources, and accounts payable in an effective, efficient, and financially sound manner for a large unionized employer. What was the most complicated payroll you are responsible for?

Describe your experience with the administration of electronic timekeeping. For example generating punch detail reports for department head approval on a daily basis. Or updating missed punches and enter leave requests into time system on a daily basis.

You will be responsible for updating employee data (excluding new hires, pay rate changes and benefit tables) in the HRIS system. How do you make sure that employee records are entered and accurately and on time?

What do you do to stay current with provincial, federal, state, municipal regulations?

What’s your experience level with Microsoft Excel and access? Describe your training in responding promptly to employee inquiries regarding benefit offerings, eligibility, and benefit concerns.

In this job, you will be reviewing the Employees Not Paid reporting each pay period to identify individuals who are out on leave or who have recently left the organization. Tell me about the most complicated report you have to prepare related to personnel.  For example, over time, these, headcount, retirement contribution and so on.

Payroll is run every two weeks, which means a lot of pressure to meet the deadline.  When have you had to work under pressure?

As our payroll admin you will be privy to employee information.  As such, we need someone who can exercise discretion and maintain confidentiality.  Give me example of when you had to maintain confidentiality and exercise extreme discretion.


You will need to be able to explain how to use the online payroll tools  to our clients. When have you had to give instruction or training  to someone?

We are looking for ways to improve the tracking and auditing of timekeeping records. How might you improve the way this is done?

Describe the employment laws that affect your work?

What kind of training and certification, do you have related to payroll?

Tell me about a time when you assisted employees in completing benefit applications/waivers for all benefits offered. How did you decide what to do?

Some parts of the work can be tedious like ensuring all invoices received are coded, approved and entered prior to the cutoff date established each month. Tell me about a time when your enthusiasm dropped after an especially long workday. When did it drop? What did you do?

Suppose you became aware that a fellow payroll admin was accessing information that he or she was not authorized to do so.  How would you handle the situation?

Describe the workflow of processing payroll from start to finish.

Think about some times when your work was above standard and when it was below standard in our job as Payroll Administrator. Think of several memorable examples. What were some reasons for the differences in performance?

The job requires reconciling benefit invoices on a monthly basis to ensure all employees who are eligible have been offered coverage. What training have you received in benefits as a Payroll Administrator ?

What’s your understanding of benefits plans?