Human Resources Specialist Career

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A human resources specialist is responsible for a specific type of human resources work in an organization.

These specialists are far more common in large companies than in small ones, and also frequently work in HR consulting firms, such as Aon Hewitt or Deloitte Consulting.

An HR specialist's work depends upon the specialty, though there is often some amount of overlap.

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What Will You Do as a Human Resources Specialist?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lists five human resources specialties:

  • Employment and recruiting–Work with hiring manager to develop ideal candidate criteria, collaborate with private headhunters and peruse job boards to find employees, attract qualified employees and match them to jobs, coordinate relocation.
  • Labor and employee relations–Serve as liaisons between employees and management, negotiate with unions over contracts and grievances, resolve disputes, direct employee health and safety programs.
  • Training and Development–Organize and conduct new employee orientation, provide ongoing education for staff, determine what training is necessary, design materials and workshops for presentations.
  • Job Analysis–Identify and document job duties and requirements and their relative importance, use data to develop training materials and methods, determine compensation, develop job titles and descriptions and application materials.
  • Benefits and Compensation–Prepare benefits and salary packages, ensure benefits fit the needs of employees, design performance reviews, establish bonus and stock options plans, develop pay structure, serve as liaison with insurance carriers.

Human Resources Specialist Career Path

Entry Level Mid Level Senior Level
Types of Roles Benefits specialist, placement specialist, negotiations specialist Compensation manager, hiring manager, labor relations manager, training supervisor Director of employee benefits, employee relations director, director of human resources development
Getting There
  • Bachelor's degree in human resources
  • Course work should tie in to specialty: statistics and economics for benefits, social and behavioral sciences for negotiations.
  • All entry-level requirements
  • HR or general business master's or MBA, with associated post-graduate specialty training
  • Excellent people and communication skills
  • All mid-level requirements
  • Post-graduate specialty course work
  • Multi-faceted, creative problem solving skills

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