19th February 2020
As an HR professional you will be able shape the organisation’s culture and provide support, training and development for employees and departments company-wide. HR is a rewarding career path, which involves varied work, helping and nurturing others, competitive pay and a robust job market. Below we cover many of the questions we get asked about HR jobs such as the qualifications needed, the types of roles on offer and the importance of HR to the wider organisation.
A career in HR is a really exciting one with a variety of different roles out there covering every industry sector. Not all businesses will cover every position – HR teams in some smaller companies may condense several roles such as HR Manager and Recruitment manager – but the list below outlines some of the titles you may see in your job search.
Heading up the HR team, the C-level role of HR director leads and manages the HR team. Directors are responsible for developing a clear people strategy for the organisation, delivering strategic and innovative leadership and leading on people, culture and organisational development strategy for the company.
The role of an HR manager leads the HR team in developing and implementing the HR policies, training and engagement programmes for the company. They work alongside the senior management and directors to assist on grievance and disciplinary cases and are the voice of HR in senior management meetings.
A recruitment manager is responsible for developing and supporting the company’s resourcing strategy and processes, in partnership with the HR teams and the business leaders. It is an opportunity to lead; support and project manage key recruitment projects. This role can be in-house or for a dedicated recruitment agency such as CMA.
Sometimes a part time or contract based role; HR advisors give operational and strategic support to the senior management team. The role involves case management of employee relations cases and providing advice and guidance for disciplinary and grievance investigations and associated hearings. This role involves working with department heads to understand and give recommendations for the training and development opportunities including succession planning and talent management.
As an HR Assistant you will support the HR Manager and the HR team, by ensuring that HR procedures, systems, processes and controls are maintained to a high level of accuracy and by providing support and guidance to managers and employees on a range of people-related topics or queries. An assistant may also be responsible for the recruitment and on-boarding process.
Administrative duties relating to many aspects of the HR department including dealing with incoming paperwork and enquiries, payroll requests, reference checks and maintaining databases. Depending on the type of role it can also extend to managing recruitment campaigns, co-ordinating interviews and offer requests and other new hire admin. This a great entry-level role.
An exciting role with opportunities to really drive change within the organisation; business partners contribute to the development and delivery of strategic HR plans and initiatives. This senior position usually covers driving and delivering the people plan and providing consultancy service to the business on; employee relations, reward, Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations (TUPE), acquisitions and change programmes.
HR careers can take many roads, but it’s really possible to start at entry level and work up to director level with the right dedication. An HR career could see you working in-house for a specific company or for an HR agency that provides its expertise for businesses without a dedicated HR department. HR careers offer flexibility with the opportunity to provide consultancy with short term or fixed term contracts for those who wish.
Entry-level roles such as an HR administrator are a great place to get a foot on the ladder, gaining experience of many aspects of the HR department such as hiring and payroll. Gaining experience can lead a HR professional to become an HR Assistant, which offers more responsibility and requires more experience than an administration role. As your career progresses you may see yourself gain management experience as a recruitment manager before heading up the HR team as HR manager.
From here there are opportunities to join the boardroom as an HR director or support the senior management in a consultancy or partner role designing and leading training or learning and development programmes.
HR plays a key role in developing, reinforcing and changing the culture of an organisation, making it an essential department for successful businesses. HR professionals are responsible for many different integral elements including pay, learning and development, recruiting and on-boarding, performance management and maintaining/reinforcing company values.
The level of qualification is dependant on the role you are applying for; many employers ask for a degree-level education or equivalent CIPD qualification – usually CIPD Level 5 Qualification or above. It’s worth noting that not all roles require a degree or qualification, as experience is also an important consideration.
Experience plays a key part for HR roles as HR managers need experience of dealing with different levels of an organisation and promoting and influencing the people development agenda. Verbal reasoning, leadership and communication skills are also essential.
Salaries in HR vary dependent on role, experience, industry and location, however as a generalisation you could expect up to 24K for entry-level administration or assistant roles, while managers may expect up to £45K, with top level positions demanding up to £250K.
Understanding the types of questions you may be asked ahead of an interview for an HR job ahead of time is a great tip to helping you standout from other candidates. With the HR department being integral to workplace wellbeing and company culture you can be assured that some of the questions will cover this and your approach to the workplace. Interviewers will also want to get an idea of your communication skills, how you handle difficult situations or conflict resolution and your ethics.
How would you deal with an unethical situation? Can you think of a situation where you witnessed unethical practices and had to stand up to wrong doing? Being in HR means taking action to do the right thing, so if you don’t have a relevant anecdote then make sure to brainstorm a hypothetical one beforehand.
What trends will we see in HR over the next five years? Interviewers want to see that you are aware of the wider industry and its impact on the company. Reading relevant publications, websites, news and keeping up with trends is a good habit to get into whatever your level.
Describe your ideal workplace. This is an opportunity to show how you fit into the company’s culture and what you need to thrive in a role. It is the perfect talking point to expand on how you would shape the company’s workplace culture in the role.