HR Generalist Job Descriptions, Average Salary, Interview Questions

What Does an HR Generalist Do?

HR generalists are professionals who deal with a variety of human resource issues within an organization. A human resource generalist’s primary responsibility is to oversee the day-to-day operations of HR departments, ensure compliance with labor laws and regulations, and support the professional development of employees.

An HR generalist typically works closely with HR directors or managers, as well as other HR team members, to ensure HR policies and procedures are followed, and that employees receive the support they need. Assisting with recruiting and hiring, benefits administration and compliance are just a few of the duties of an HR generalist, which can vary by organization. Their presence can help to provide a productive and supportive environment for any organization.

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National Average Salary

HR generalist salaries vary by experience, industry, organization size, and geography. To explore salary ranges by local market, please visit our sister site

The average U.S. salary for an HR Generalist is:


HR Generalist Job Descriptions

When it comes to recruiting a HR generalist, having the right job description can make a big difference. Here are some real world job descriptions you can use as templates for your next opening.

Example 1

[Your Company Name] is looking for an HR generalist to join our human resources department. You must have an excellent basic and broad understanding of human resources. As an HR generalist, you must also understand interpersonal communication skills and be able to successfully communicate with the HR director, employees, and other staff. Your position will be full-time and you will work in our human resources department office. This means you will report to our director of HR, work closely with the director, and follow their orders and assignments. You may be required to deliver messages, deal with complaints and issues, research new tactics and technology to improve HR workflow, and many other things. If you are interested in this position, please apply.

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Administer HR plans for employees 
  • Develop and implement personnel procedures and policies
  • Assist in employee hiring, onboarding, and training
  • Facilitate various HR department processes
  • Help employees with their questions and issues
  • Work in the areas of employee health plans, safety, payroll, and benefits

Education and experience

This position requires a bachelor’s degree in human resources management, business administration, or a related field.

Required skills and qualifications

  • Excellent leadership, communication, and interpersonal skills
  • Professional and courteous with a positive attitude
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office Suite
  • Can work with minimal guidance and oversight
  • Expertise in customer service
  • Ability to multitask and organize

Preferred qualifications

  • Familiar with HR software
  • Bachelor’s degree in business or related field
  • Bilingual

Example 2

The HR Generalist will ensure projects are completed in a timely manner, manage resources (internal/external) effectively, and support the business by liaising with the individual departments to understand their objectives, propose solutions, and define HR projects to implement those solutions. The HR Generalist will also serve as a backup for the Human Resources Manager.

Duties and responsibilities

  • Lead sourcing and recruitment activities for the plant, including maintaining job descriptions, managing job postings, posting to internal/external job boards, screening talent, submitting background checks, managing online assessments, and managing final contract administration
  • Collaborate with the HR Manager to deliver training in accordance with the defined training program, including corporate programs, certifications, skills development, and Health & Safety requirements
  • Investigate and manage employee concerns, identifying trends and themes, and providing recommendations to resolve employee issues
  • Provide support to cyclical HR processes including performance reviews, compensation, benefits enrollment, and STIP administration
  • Support organizational planning based on facility needs, including monthly organizational chart updates, regular skills matrix updates, review of annual training requirements, etc.
  • Processing and review of human resources information for new hires, terminations, position and wage changes, and other PHI requirements
  • Collaborate with the HR Manager to build the leader’s capabilities to deliver coaching and disciplinary action according to established processes. Partner with plant leadership on documentation of discipline and development/execution of Performance Improvement Plans, as needed
  • Support the business in compiling termination documentation, attending termination meetings, and completing exit interviews
  • Administration of vacation, attendance management, and leaves of absence processes for the facility, including follow-up
  • Assist the HR Manager in the communication of HR and company-related matters to business unit employees
  • Liaise between employees and payroll/benefits regarding pay and benefits issues
  • Attend social committee meetings and provide any support needed
  • Other duties, as assigned

Education, experience, certifications, and skills required

  • Bachelor’s degree in Human Resources, Business Administration, Management, or a related field
  • 3+ years of Human Resources Generalist experience (including talent sourcing, recruiting, employee relations, compensation, and benefits administration)
  • Intermediate proficiency with Microsoft Office (Outlook, Excel, PowerPoint, and Word)
  • Intermediate proficiency with Kronos Time and Attendance platform
  • Valid U.S. Driver’s License

Preferred education, experience, certifications, and skills

  • Master’s Degree in Human Resources, Labor Relations, or Business Administration
  • Previous experience in a food manufacturing
  • PHR / SPHR Certification preferred
  • Experience with labor and employment laws
  • Ability to be confidential with personal information in various situations
  • An organized problem solver, able to prioritize effectively in a fast-paced environment
  • Ability to handle stressful situations and remain calm
  • Exceptional verbal and written communication with an excellent command of the English language

Example 3

What you will do

  • Perform HR Operational functions including but not limited to:
  • Payroll processing and maintenance
  • Benefits support and Open Enrollment
  • Leave of absence/FMLA compliance
  • Guide and coach managers in managing or counseling personnel with performance, personal issues, or discipline problems
  • In-Office HR representation
  • Support internal and external inquiries and requests related to the HR department such as basic benefits-related questions, unemployment, and work verifications
  • Collaborate with the HR team to continue improving processes and people experience


  • 3 to 5 years of professional HR experience in a business setting
  • Knowledge of employment laws and regulations, payroll and benefits laws and requirements
  • Ability to handle sensitive and confidential information with the utmost discretion
  • Ability to thrive in a rapidly changing environment with shifting priorities
  • An organic interest in continuous process improvement and effective project management
  • Experience working in a fast-paced environment; detail-oriented; not afraid to roll up your sleeves; and a customer-service spirit toward all employees

Example 4

Primary duties

  • Partner with line management to identify and develop business solutions that support company and center objectives. Manage related projects
  • Provide proactive counsel to management regarding all employment issues (such as performance, coaching, communication, discipline, training, etc.)
  • Manage performance management process
  • Act as point of contact for all distribution center personnel to resolve problems or provide consultative advice in the areas of employee relations, benefits, payroll, policies, and procedures, etc.
  • Manage the employment process resulting in high-quality hires, achievement of retention goals, and assuring compliance with OFCCP requirements for Affirmative Action. Assist all departments with applicant sourcing, job fairs, application review, and with the interviewing and selection process using Targeted Selection
  • Facilitate continuous improvement in key HR areas such as retention, performance management, employee satisfaction, strengthening of the front-line supervision, and HR processes
  • Maintain and update all personnel files and remit all changes to the corporate payroll department
  • Review all termination decisions prior to implementation to ensure all policies and procedures have been followed
  • Complete all facets of payroll processing
  • Coordinate employee events, maintain bulletin boards, coordinate employee communications, and maintain/update all job descriptions for the local facility
  • Maintain the compensation program and perform annual compensation analysis
  • Conduct new hire orientation, administer all benefit programs, and communicate benefit changes
  • Coordinate the annual open enrollment process

Education and experience

  • Minimum of 3 years of generalist HR experience
  • Bachelor’s degree preferably in Human Resources or equivalent is required
  • Strong employee relations and employment background are necessary
  • Candidate should possess solid relationship-building skills, familiarity with applicable Federal, State, and Local laws, and the ability to multitask and manage projects/action plans

Candidate Certifications to Look For

  • HR Management Certification Course. The HR management certification course is offered by HR University and is one of the leading human resources courses available for an HR manager, director, specialist, or generalist. This certification course teaches the general responsibilities of a human resources manager as well as other important things such as administrative tasks. This certification will be immensely useful for an HR generalist, especially if their position is in close connection to the HR manager or director.
  • Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP). Becoming a senior certified professional can be immensely beneficial for an HR generalist as this certification will demonstrate excellence in the position. This certification is one of the most widely recognized in the human resources industry and can be extremely beneficial to acquire for an HR generalist. In order to qualify for this certification, however, keep in mind that candidates will need over four years of experience in the human resources industry before applying. If they are eligible, however, this certification can prove to be immensely beneficial.

How to Hire an HR Generalist

Consider the following when hiring an HR generalist:

  • Recruiting: Do you have the internal resources and tools to source and recruit for this role successfully?
  • Complexity: Do you need a senior professional, or will mid, or even junior-level skills suffice?
  • Duration: Is this a one-time project, or an indefinite need?
  • Management: Can you effectively direct the work effort?
  • Urgency: Are there any deadlines associated with this need?
  • Headcount: Do you have the budget and approval for an internal employee, or should you consider alternate options?

Answering these questions will help determine the best course of action for your current hiring need. Fortunately, various great options exist for every scenario, no matter how unique. For hiring an HR generalist, we recommend the following options:

1. Use 4 Corner Resources (or another professional recruiting firm)

The heavy lifting is done for you when working with a top-tier staffing company like 4 Corner Resources. We source, screen, recruit, and deliver only the most qualified candidate(s), saving you significant time and effort throughout the hiring process while you remain focused on your core business. Understanding your needs and ensuring the right candidate for the position is the key to our success.

This is the best route to take when:

  • You need to fill the position quickly
  • You want access to a vast talent pool of high-quality, prescreened candidates
  • Your position is suited for temporary hiring services, contract staffing, or contract-to-hire recruiting, and you intend to direct the work activity.
  • You are hiring an employee as a direct placement but aren’t able to recruit effectively or efficiently with your internal staff. 
  • You aren’t familiar with current salary rates, market trends, and available skill sets
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2. Advertise your opening on a top job board

Your best option may be to advertise your opening on a proven job board. There are many widely used job sites out there that draw visits from qualified candidates. If you have someone internally who can dedicate the time and energy to sort through applications and screen individuals effectively, this can be a great choice. 

We recommend using a job board when:

  • Your internal recruiting team has the knowledge and experience to assess candidate qualifications
  • You are hiring a direct employee and have time to manage the entire recruiting effort 
  • You have a process for receiving, screening, and tracking all resumes and applications
  • You are prepared to respond to all applicants

We recommend CareerBuilder for HR generalist openings:


CareerBuilder has been a trusted source for hiring since 1995. Reach 80+ million unique, diverse U.S. job seekers annually by posting your jobs through their talent acquisition channels. Through CareerBuilder, you can engage candidates and drive them into your sourcing pipeline. We recommend using CareerBuilder for hiring when you have the internal resources and processes to review, screen, and reply to all applicants.

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3. Leverage your internal resources

You can utilize your own website, social media, and employees to assist in your search for top candidates. 

A company website posting should be the first step in notifying prospective candidates that you are hiring. Social media can also be a powerful tool for spreading the word about your new opening. As far as exposure is concerned, this option can be as good as some job boards when you have a large enough following across various platforms, like LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and Twitter.

Current employees are every organization’s greatest asset. Encourage your internal team to promote job openings to their network by offering cash and other incentives.

We recommend these options when:

  • Your brand has great name recognition
  • You can consistently monitor and respond to candidate activity through your website and social media accounts
  • You have a process in place to quickly and broadly communicate job openings and requirements
  • You have an effective employee referral program in place

If you aren’t sure which path is best, schedule a discovery call today with our seasoned recruiting professionals. The 4 Corner team is on standby to help you find the best option for your unique hiring need.

Sample Interview Questions

  • Can you tell me about your motivation for pursuing a career in HR, as well as what skills and experience you bring to the HR Generalist role?
  • What steps do you take to ensure that employees are informed and engaged about employee benefits, including enrollment changes and communications?
  • How do you ensure that employees receive the skills and knowledge they need to perform their jobs effectively through employee training and development programs?
  • Do you conduct employee evaluations and develop performance improvement plans as part of your performance management process?
  • Have you ever had to resolve a conflict or issue between employees, and how did you resolve it?
  • How do you ensure new employees have a positive experience during recruitment and onboarding?
  • What procedures do you use to make sure that all relevant laws and regulations related to HR, including labor, safety, and discrimination laws, are being followed?
  • Have you ever handled employee files and records, processed payroll, or provided general HR administrative support?
  • As a HR professional, what are the most important trends and challenges you see ahead, and how will you deal with them?
  • Could you tell me about a time when you had to adapt to a new HR software or system, and what steps you took to learn and become proficient?

Need help hiring a HR Generalist?

We match top professionals with great employers across the country. From filling urgent job openings to developing long-term hiring strategies, our team is here to help. Review our staffing solutions, browse our award-winning Staffing Corner blog, or call today. We look forward to connecting with you soon.

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