Human Resources Specialists

Career, Salary and Education Information

Following is everything you need to know about a career as a human resources specialist with lots of details. As a first step, take a look at some of the following jobs, which are real jobs with real employers. You will be able to see the very real job career requirements for employers who are actively hiring. The link will open in a new tab so that you can come back to this page to continue reading about the career:

Top 3 Human Resources Specialist Jobs

  • Administrative Support Specialist - HR - Cork Supply USA - Benicia, CA

    Human Resources Director Job Summary: The Administrative Support Specialist must be passionate about people, focusing on fostering the employee/employer relationship and effectively communicating ...

  • HR Specialist - Altman Specialty Plants, LLC. - Vista, CA

    ... HR Specialist position in our fast paced department. ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES WILL INCLUDE: * Responsible for maintaining the highest level of confidentiality, customer service and ...

  • Human Resources Specialist - JBCStyle - New York, New York

    Human Resources Specialist Company: Apparel Brand Related Jobs: There are currently no related jobs. Please sign up for Job Alerts. Loading... Human Resources Generalist New York, NY Human Resources ...

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What Human Resources Specialists Do[About this section] [To Top]

Human resources specialists recruit, screen, interview, and place workers. They often handle tasks related to employee relations, compensation and benefits, and training.

Duties of Human Resources Specialists

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.

Work Environment for Human Resources Specialists[About this section] [To Top]

Human resources specialists hold about 547,800 jobs. The largest employers of human resources specialists are as follows:

Employment services 16%
Professional, scientific, and technical services 13
Government 12
Healthcare and social assistance 10
Manufacturing 8

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.

Human Resources Specialist Work Schedules

Human resources specialists generally work in offices. Some, particularly recruitment specialists, travel extensively to attend job fairs, visit college campuses, and meet with applicants.

Most specialists work full time during regular business hours.

How to Become a Human Resources Specialist[About this section] [To Top]

Get the education you need: Find schools for Human Resources Specialists near you!

Human resources specialists usually must have a bachelor's degree.

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Education for Human Resources Specialists

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.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation for Human Resources Specialists

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.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations for Human Resources Specialists

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.

Advancement for Human Resources Specialists

Human resources specialists who possess a thorough knowledge of their organization, as well as an understanding of regulatory compliance needs, can advance to become human resources managers. Specialists can increase their chance of advancement by completing voluntary certification programs.

Important Qualities for Human Resources Specialists

Communication skills. Listening and speaking skills are essential for human resources specialists. They must convey information effectively, and pay careful attention to questions and concerns from job applicants and employees.

Decisionmaking skills. Human resources specialists use decisionmaking skills when reviewing candidates' qualifications or when working to resolve disputes.

Detail oriented. Specialists must be detail oriented when evaluating applicants' qualifications, performing background checks, maintaining records of an employee grievance, and ensuring that a workplace is in compliance with labor standards.

Interpersonal skills. Specialists continually interact with new people and must be able to converse and connect with people from different backgrounds.

Human Resources Specialist Salaries[About this section] [More salary/earnings info] [To Top]

The median annual wage for human resources specialists is $59,180. 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 $34,770, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $101,420.

The median annual wages for human resources specialists in the top industries in which they work are as follows:

Professional, scientific, and technical services $65,850
Government 64,120
Manufacturing 61,660
Employment services 51,100
Healthcare and social assistance 50,580

Many human resources specialists, particularly recruitment specialists, travel extensively to attend job fairs, visit college campuses, and meet with applicants.

Most specialists work full time during regular business hours.

Job Outlook for Human Resources Specialists[About this section] [To Top]

Employment of human resources specialists is projected to grow 7 percent over the next ten years, about as fast as 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.

However, employment of human resources specialists will be tempered as companies make better use of available technologies. Rather than sending recruiters to colleges and job fairs, for example, some employers are increasingly conducting their entire recruiting process online. In addition, administrative tasks are more efficient with software that allows workers to quickly manage, process, or update human resources information.

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Job Prospects for Human Resources Specialists

Job prospects for human resources specialists are expected to be favorable, particularly in companies that provide human resources services to other organizations.

Overall, candidates with a bachelor's degree and professional certification should have the best job prospects.

Employment projections data for Human Resources Specialists, 2016-26
Occupational Title Employment, 2016 Projected Employment, 2026 Change, 2016-26
Percent Numeric
Human resources specialists 547,800 586,400 7 38,700

*Some content used by permission of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor.

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