How to Get a Job as a HR Specialist
The field is growing again, Cohen says, but it's very much a buyer's market for HR positions these days. Many companies downsized during the recession, and as they staff back up, they have the luxury of looking at lots of qualified candidates. Cohen says the most attractive candidates are very focused. "In the past, people could get into HR on purpose or sort of fall into the job," she says. "Today, you need specific qualifications. The field is not just about liking people. It's really about knowing the technical side of the job," including HR laws and the employer's business objectives.
It's also about having a strategic grasp of how HR can help the employer meets its goals. "The ticket for entry is knowing your nuts and bolts," Cohen says. "But it's also showing the business acumen and showing the ability to work as a strategic partner in advancing the interests of the organization."
Interview Questions Submitted by Real HR Specialists
"How can you contribute to our team and the success of our organization?" - LexisNexis Human Resources Candidate (Dayton, OH)
"What is your least favorite type of person to work with?" - Advantage Sales and Marketing Human Resources Generalist Candidate (Location Unknown)
"What tangible value can we expect you will create in the first year?" - Navarre Director of Human Resources Candidate (Location Unknown)
What is the Job Like?
Jobs vary widely by the size of the employer and the business sector it's in. Most jobs are in office settings with stable work hours. But field world and longer work weeks are common, especially at companies with seasonable employment fluctuations, labor unions, and project work for large clients. "HR workers are not clock pushers," Cohen says. "They're not people who get there at 9 and leave at 5. If there's a problem, you need to deal with it now. So, it's a job that's demanding." The jobs are, not surprisingly, people-intensive. Small employers tend to have a single HR professional who fills every duty. Positions at larger employers are more specialized.
Real Reviews From HR Specialists
+ "Challenging work supported by great coworkers. Great work-life flexibility." - Cisco Systems, Inc. Human Resources Manager (Location Unknown)
+ "Roles are very large scope and roles expand very quickly." - Bank of America Human Resources Manager (Location Unknown)
- "Work/Life Balance. Limited Opportunities. Lower End Pay. Can be very political." - Accenture Human Resources Representative (Location Unknown)
- "High pace and changing environment. It requires a lot of efforts, priorities might be shifted often." - EMC Human Resources Specialist (Location Unknown)
Review information and interview questions supplied by Glassdoor.