Human resources specialists recruit, screen, interview, and place workers. They also handle employee relations, compensation and benefits, and training.
What they do
Human resources specialists typically do the following:
- Consult with employers to identify employment needs
- Interview applicants about their experience, education, and skills
- Contact references and perform background checks on job applicants
- Inform applicants about job details, such as duties, benefits, and working conditions
- Hire or refer qualified candidates for employers
- Conduct or help with new employee orientation
- Keep employment records and process paperwork
Human resources specialists are often trained in all human resources disciplines and perform tasks throughout all areas of the department. In addition to recruiting and placing workers, human resources specialists help guide employees through all human resources procedures and answer questions about policies. They sometimes administer benefits, process payroll, and handle any associated questions or problems, although many specialists may focus more on strategic planning and hiring instead of administrative duties. They also ensure that all human resources functions comply with federal, state, and local regulations.
The following are examples of types of human resources specialists:
Human resources generalists handle all aspects of human resources work. They may have duties in all areas of human resources including recruitment, employee relations, compensation, benefits, training, as well as the administration of human resources policies, procedures, and programs.
Recruitment specialists, sometimes known as personnel recruiters or “head hunters,” find, screen, and interview applicants for job openings in an organization. They search for applicants by posting listings, attending job fairs, and visiting college campuses. They also may test applicants, contact references, and extend job offers.
Some organizations contract recruitment and placement work to outside firms, such as those in the employment services industry or consulting firms in the professional, scientific, and technical industry.
How to become a Human Resources Specialist
Human resources specialists usually must have a bachelor’s degree.
Applicants seeking positions as a human resources specialist usually must have a bachelor’s degree in human resources, business, or a related field.
Coursework typically includes business, industrial relations, psychology, professional writing, human resource management, and accounting.
Some positions, particularly human resources generalists, may require previous work experience. Candidates can gain experience as human resources assistants, in customer service positions, or in other related jobs.
Many professional associations that specialize in human resources offer courses intended to enhance the skills of their members, and some offer certification programs. For example, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) offers the SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) and SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP). In addition, the HR Certification Institute (HRCI) offers a range of certifications for varying levels of expertise.
Certification usually requires passing an exam, and candidates typically need to meet minimum education and experience requirements. Exams check for human resources knowledge and how candidates apply their knowledge and judgment to different situations.
Although certification is usually voluntary, some employers may prefer or require it. Human resources generalists, in particular, can benefit from certification because it shows knowledge and professional competence across all human resources areas.
The median annual wage for human resources specialists was $61,920 in May 2019. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $37,180, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $105,930.
Employment of human resources specialists is projected to grow 7 percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations.
Companies are likely to continue to outsource human resources functions to organizations that provide these services, rather than directly employing human resources specialists. In addition, the services of human resources generalists will likely be needed to handle increasingly complex employment laws and benefit options.
Similar Job Titles
Corporate Recruiter, Employment Representative, HR Analyst (Human Resources Analyst), HR Coordinator (Human Resources Coordinator), HR Generalist (Human Resources Generalist), Human Resources Representative (HR Rep), Human Resources Specialist (HR Specialist), Personnel Analyst, Personnel Officer, Recruiter
Human Resources Manager, Management Analyst, Training and Development Specialist, Fraud Examiner-Investigators and Analysts, Publication Relations Specialist
The trade associations listed below represent organizations made up of people (members) who work and promote advancement in the field. Members are very interested in telling others about their work and about careers in those areas. As well, trade associations provide opportunities for organizational networking and learning more about the field’s trends and directions.
- Association for Talent Development - ATD’s members come from more than 120 countries and work in organizations of all sizes and in all industry sectors.
- College and University Professional Association for Human Resources - This organization serves higher education by providing the knowledge, resources, advocacy and connections to achieve organizational and workforce excellence.
- National Human Resources Association - NHRA is focused on advancing the individual career development, planning and leadership of human resource (HR) professionals.
- Society for Human Resource Management - As the voice of all things work, workers and the workplace, SHRM is the foremost expert, convener and thought leader on issues impacting today’s evolving workplaces.
Magazines and Publications
- Chief Development Talent Officer Magazine (CTDO)
- Talent Development Magazine (ATD)
- SHRM HR Magazine
- HR Professionals Magazine
Applicant interviews… labor negotiations… employee training… salary setting. Human resources specialists perform a wide range of tasks related to ensuring an organization has the employees it needs… to achieve its goals. Human resources—or HR—specialists meet with managers to determine the qualifications they need for new employees. Then they screen applicants and conduct job interviews with the top candidates. Once an applicant is hired, HR specialists conduct employee orientations, answer questions about policies, keep employment records, and provide information on employment benefits, such as health insurance or paid vacation. HR specialists also ensure the organization complies with government regulations. Many are HR generalists, who are trained in all human resources disciplines and perform tasks throughout all areas of the department. Others specialize in a particular area, such as administering benefits and compensation, or on training and development, strategic planning, or hiring. Human resources specialists generally work full time in offices during regular business hours. HR specialists work in all kinds of organizations, including employment services, government, healthcare, and manufacturing. Those who focus on recruiting new employees often travel extensively to visit college campuses and attend job fairs. Human resources specialists usually need a bachelor’s degree in human resources, business, or a related field. Related work experience is required for some positions.
Content retrieved from: US Bureau of Labor Statistics-OOH www.bls.gov/ooh,
CareerOneStop www.careeronestop.org, O*Net Online www.onetonline.org