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Become A Human Resource Specialist

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Working As A Human Resource Specialist

  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Getting Information
  • Staffing Organizational Units
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Deal with People

  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • Mostly Sitting

  • $60,523

    Average Salary

What Does A Human Resource Specialist Do

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


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. 

Placement specialists match employers with qualified jobseekers. They search for candidates who have the skills, education, and work experience needed for jobs, and they try to place those candidates with employers. They also may help set up interviews.

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.

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How To Become A Human Resource Specialist

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


Applicants seeking positions as a human resources specialist must usually 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

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

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).

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. 


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

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. 

Listening skills. Listening skills are essential for human resources specialists. When interviewing job applicants, for example, specialists must pay careful attention to candidates’ responses, understand the points they are making, and ask relevant followup questions. 

Speaking skills. All specialists need strong speaking skills to be effective at their job. They often give presentations and must be able to clearly convey information about their organizations and jobs within them.

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3,386 Human Resource Specialist jobs More

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Real Human Resource Specialist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Human Resources Specialist III Amazon Corporate LLC Seattle, WA Jan 08, 2016 $140,000
Human Resources Specialist Zenpayroll, Inc. San Francisco, CA Sep 29, 2016 $138,000
Human Resources Specialist Bravens Inc. Ridgefield, NJ Jul 13, 2015 $135,655
Human Resources Specialist Zenpayroll, Inc. San Francisco, CA Aug 14, 2015 $130,000
HR Operations Specialist III Nvidia Corporation Santa Clara, CA Jul 27, 2016 $125,000
Expert HR Specialist (Technical Trainer) Acxiom Corporation Redwood City, CA Sep 16, 2016 $119,870
Human Resources Specialist H Mart San Diego LLC. San Diego, CA Oct 09, 2016 $116,371
Human Resources Specialist H Mart Logistics Inc. Whittier, CA Oct 09, 2016 $116,371
HR Specialist Sysnet Technology Solutions South Plainfield, NJ Oct 19, 2015 $115,918
HR Operations Specialist Mongodb, Inc. New York, NY Oct 01, 2015 $110,000
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Top Skills for A Human Resource Specialist


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Top Human Resource Specialist Skills

  1. Human Resources Policies
  2. Personnel Records
  3. Payroll System
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Interpret and explain human resources policies, procedures, laws, standards, or regulations.
  • Entered and retrieved personnel records using an automated information system.
  • Collected employee time and payroll data and input on payroll system.
  • Provide general advice to managers and employees about the organization's benefit policies, procedures and guidelines.
  • Developed and communicated company policies to new and existing employees.

Top Human Resource Specialist Employers

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What Kind Of Companies Hire a Human Resource Specialist

  1. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  2. Army National Guard
  3. United States Army Reserves
  4. Aon Hewitt
  5. Xerox
  6. ADP
  7. Department of Veterans Affairs
  8. Sprint
  9. Wells Fargo
  10. Securitas Security Services USA
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Human Resource Specialist Videos

Career Advice on becoming a Human Resources Manager by Jennifer C (Full Version)

Day In The Life: Human Resources New Hire at P & G