HR SpecialistJob Description, Salary, Career Path, and Trends

HR specialists lead the human resources department by taking care of various administrative duties. To succeed in this role, HR specialists need to be organized and have excellent communication skills.

HR specialists are responsible for managing the human resources functions. They are in charge of setting up company policies, maintaining employee records, preparing compensation packages, training staff, and ensuring a healthy and secure work environment. It is important for HR specialists to understand labor legislation and guidelines to offer fair, yet competitive pay to future prospects.

This job opportunity is fantastic for anyone who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business administration or human resources. HR specialists will have several opportunities for growth in their roles, such as being promoted to human resources director or vice president.

Sample job description

HR specialists assist in the recruitment process, helping to find qualified job candidates, recruit applicants, review resumes, conduct interviews, and perform background checks. HR specialists may also perform onboarding activities, orienting new employees on organizational policies, procedures, and benefits. For these reasons, HR specialists need excellent interpersonal skills, excellent speaking skills, and sound judgment and decision-making skills. [Your Company Name] is looking for a great HR specialist to join our team and help out our company. If you have experience in recruiting, coordinating interviews, handling documentation for staff hiring, and conducting new hire orientation, you might be the right candidate for a role as an HR specialist. 

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Recruit and place workers
  • Help manage employee relations and related programs
  • Oversee employee performance reviews 
  • Help with employee compensation, benefits, and training
  • Keep up-to-date employee records

Education and experience

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

Required skills and qualifications

  • Excellent 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 in a fast-paced environment

Preferred qualifications

  • 3 or more years of work experience in HR
  • Strong organization skills and attention to detail/accuracy
  • Knowledge of human resources practices and procedures
  • Prior data entry, payroll, and/or HR Information System experience
  • Excellent communication skills both verbal and in writing
  • Intermediate knowledge of Microsoft Office (including Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, Word)
  • Ability to multi-task in a fast-paced, time-driven environment
  • Effective customer service skills and ability to interact professionally with all levels of the organization

Average salary and compensation

The average salary for a HR specialist is 57,400 in the United States. Position salary will vary based on experience, education, company size, industry, and market.

LocationSalary LowSalary High
Phoenix, Arizona$57,100$77,250
Los Angeles, California$64,400$87,150
Denver, Colorado$53,650$72,600
Washington, DC$65,400$88,450
Miami, Florida$53,450$72,300
Orlando, Florida$49,300$66,650
Tampa, Florida$49,750$67,350
Atlanta, Georgia$52,200$70,650
Chicago, Illinois$60,000$81,200
Boston, Massachusetts$64,900$87,800
Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota$51,700$69,950
New York City, New York$68,300$92,400
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania$55,600$75,250
Dallas, Texas$54,150$73,250
Houston, Texas$53,650$72,600
Seattle, Washington$62,450$84,500
National Average$48,800$66,000

Typical work environment

An HR specialist typically works in an office setting and spends much of the day working on a computer. They also communicate with job applicants and conduct interviews. HR specialists work 40-hour weeks during regular business hours. They may have to travel to attend job fairs, visit colleges, and meet with applicants.  

Typical hours

The typical work hours for a human resources specialist are from 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday, in an office setting. 

Available certifications

HR specialists are found in a wide variety of industries, and many institutions offer certifications that can help them build the knowledge and skills needed to further their careers. Here are some of the certifications available for HR specialists: 

  • Professional in Human Resources (PHR). The PHR is a professional credential offered by the HR Certification Institute. The course is designed for HR professionals who want to expand their knowledge and expertise in both the technical and operational aspects of HR management. The exam consists of mostly multiple-choice questions that test your knowledge of labor relations, business management, talent planning and acquisition, and more. Candidates must meet one of several conditions for education and/or experience to be eligible. The PHR certification is valid for three years, and you are required to earn 60 recertification credits to maintain your PHR credential, or you can retake the exam. 
  • Certified Staffing Professional (CSP). This certification is offered by the American Staffing Association (ASA) and certifies that HR professionals who work as staffing professionals have extensive knowledge of the essential rules for the workplace. The exam consists of 100 true-or-false and multiple-choice questions and focuses on federal and state labor and employment laws.

Career path

The career path for an HR specialist starts with obtaining a bachelor’s degree in human resource management, business administration, or a related field. Also, achieving certification as a Professional in Human Resources can help lay the groundwork to advance in an HR career. 

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 13-1071

2020 Employment674,800
Projected Employment in 2030748,200
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 10% increase
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift73,400 increase

According to SelectHub, the employee experience will become more central in the roles of human resources professionals; they will have to prioritize employee-centric culture and experience to recruit the best candidates. And while some automation and artificial intelligence (AI) may coexist with human resources jobs, they will serve as complementary technologies, helping HR specialists do their jobs more efficiently. 

Sample interview questions

  • What interests you about this position?
  • What is your greatest strength?
  • Why are you qualified for this position?
  • How would you go about creating a forecast of our hiring needs?
  • How would you help improve employee work/life balance via benefits?
  • What do you think a successful onboarding process looks like?
  • How do you calculate turnover rates?
  • What HR software and technology have you used?
  • How do you ensure employees are aware of company policies?
  • Can you describe a time when an employee didn’t conform to company policy? What did you do to resolve the issue?
  • What are your career goals?
  • How do you handle stress?
  • What is your greatest accomplishment?
  • What methods or systems have you used to ensure all employee records are kept up to date?
  • Can you describe a time when you were able to resolve a difference between an employee and management?
  • What would you include in a parental leave company policy?
  • Have you ever dealt with regulatory issues at work? What happened?
  • How do you keep up-to-date with labor law changes?
  • What is the most challenging project you have worked on as a human resources specialist?
  • What did you like most and least about your most recent position?

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