Human Resources (HR) Officers are in charge of the hiring, career development and well-being of employees. This involves running or arranging specific training and monitoring performance.
As with so many jobs, the size of the company will dictate exactly what an HR Officer will do. It might be a broad role that covers all elements of hiring and employment or you might have an HR job that is more specific. Specialisms include employee well-being, careers coaching, health and safety and headhunting.
Smaller companies may only have one HR Officer who would manage all of the responsibilities, while larger businesses will have HR departments, including HR Assistants. Particular industries could have in-house lawyers and accounts team who would support on areas such as contracts, salaries and benefits or bonuses. In this case HR Officers would work closely with the different departments and need a knowledge of how they work.
Although we are referring to the title of HR Officer in this article, positions/job titles within HR also include HR Director, Head of HR, HR Business Partner, HR Manager, Talent Manager, Resourcing Manager, Learning & Development Manager, Compensation & Benefits Advisor, Recruitment Advisor, Talent Coordinator and HR Administrator.
In most HR jobs, typical responsibilities will involve:
- Staff training and development
- Pensions and benefits
- Performance and attendance
- Employment law, policies and procedures
- Negotiating salaries
- Writing and overseeing contracts
- Redundancy and dismissals
- Maternity and paternity leave
- Working conditions
- Health and safety
Qualifications & Experience:
A degree in a relevant subject is usually required for HR roles. Law, business management, project management, economics, finance or psychology would all be appropriate courses for someone who wants to get into HR. Equally, applying for an HR role that specialises in an industry related to the degree you've studied may increase your chances of securing a job.
Some universities or colleges offer foundation degrees in Human Resource Management. This is the equivalent to two-thirds of a degree, which will give you a vocational qualification that will help when applying for HR jobs – particularly in the public sector.
You could also study at postgraduate level, with most courses accredited by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). Even if you don't undertake a Masters in HR at this point, it's likely you'll need some form of CIPD qualification in your career.
Membership with the CIPD will help with your professional development and shows your commitment to HR. You can become a member by obtaining a CIPD qualification or through experience assessment. In this instance you would need three years’ experience in HR to gain professional recognition.
Along with a specialised qualification, work experience will help you get a foot in the door. Personal qualities, awareness of how businesses run and the development of practical human resources skills in areas such as budget management, coaching and teamwork are regarded as essential in HR professions. Therefore, most types of work experience or a part-time job in an office or administration role can impress employers.
Working in HR often requires skills similar to those needed for sales, marketing and PR jobs, so experience in any of these areas would also be useful.
HR Jobs are wide ranging in terms of the skills needed. On the one hand you will need to be business savvy, good with numbers and a strategic thinker. However, interpersonal skills are also key and being able to understand human behaviour, communicate clearly and manage people is also key.
- Emotional intelligence
- Ability to form relationships with people at all levels
- Business acumen and commercial awareness
- Excellent communication skills
- Attention to details
- Strong IT skills
- Ambition and confidence
- Strategic thinking
To apply for HR and HR assistant jobs or to start your search for an HR officer please contact one of our recruitment consultants on 020 7468 0400.