What Does an HR Specialist Do?
HR specialists assist the human resources department by taking care of various administrative duties. HR specialists are responsible for managing various human resources functions. They help with 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 as they will frequently act as subject matter experts.
Frequently people in this role will be required to have a degree in business administration or human resources. HR specialists have several opportunities for growth in their roles, such as being promoted to human resources manager, director, or beyond.
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National Average Salary
HR specialist salaries vary by experience, industry, organization size, and geography. To explore salary ranges by local market, please visit our sister site zengig.com.
The average U.S. salary for an HR Specialist is:
HR Specialist Job Descriptions
When it comes to recruiting a HR specialist, 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.
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
- 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
Provides service to customers
- Greets all walk-in customers (applicants, employees, guests, etc.) and responds to routine requests in a timely and professional manner
- Answers Human Resources department phone lines in a professional and friendly manner
- Takes messages and refers calls to appropriate staff members promptly
- Retrieves, responds to, and/or appropriately directs Human Resource voicemail messages accordingly
- Distributes Human Resources information and forms to customers
- Review submitted forms to ensure that all information and signatures are complete
- Assists in communicating benefits information and interpreting human resources policies and procedures
- Responds to employment verification requests following Hospital policy
- Prepares and mails employee anniversary cards monthly
- Collects and distributes mail. Order, receive, and distribute routine supplies for the department
- Coordinates maintenance and upkeep of departmental machines (i.e. copier, fax, etc.)
Assist with recruitment functions
- Prepares and mails application acknowledgments bi-weekly
- Administers skill tests to applicants
- Schedules newly hired employees for pre-employment processing and Hospital Orientation
- Distributes, collects, and reviews all employment-related documents
- Verifies employment eligibility and completes I-9 forms
- Coordinates reference and criminal background check processes
- Photocopies supporting documentation (i.e., licensure)
- Issues hospital identification badges
- Prepares official personnel files
- Maintains master files for applications, I-9 forms, and other human resource documents
Assist with various departmental-related duties
- Coordinates the retrieval and return of terminated employee files as needed
- Enters New Employee Orientation (NEO) attendees in the Health Stream System application
- Maintains and enters employee parking information in the access
- Prepares check requisitions and purchase orders
- Assign lockers and issue uniform vouchers
- Completes special projects and performs other related duties as assigned
Knowledge and skills
- High School Diploma required
- Five years of customer experience required; specific human resources experience preferred; OR any similar combination of education and experience
- Excellent interpersonal and customer service skills required
- Proficient in Microsoft Office Suite is required and prior experience with an HRIS database preferred
Duties and functions
- Manage and handle corporate and field HR audits and works with HRIS on the audit of system-related data. Runs various of audit reports within HR; coordinates with various team members to ensure data integrity
- Provide support with the execution of the compliance program by ensuring HR policies and procedures are developed and implemented across the organization
- Deliver information to various audiences through written (executive summaries, etc.) and spoken (presentations, trainings, etc.) forms of communication
- Attend webinars, seminars, and other trainings to stay up to date on laws and best practices
- Manage and maintain wage and hour compliance including but not limited to:
- Gather and analyze data in the areas of the meal and rest period requirement compliance, and report findings to HR Leadership. This includes reviewing various platforms and time management systems including those reporting time on paper timesheets to ensure proper rest and meal breaks are taken and taken at the correct time within the work shift
- Gather and analyze data and ensure compliance that the correct manager approval was completed and reporting back any findings along with any corrective actions that need to be completed with managers and employees
- Work with payroll teams to ensure that based on findings of the audit are reported and that any premium payment is processed as applicable and required
- Works with Employee Relations Specialists to develop corrective action plans and identify opportunities for education and system roles for greater compliance
- Provides training on timesheet compliance and meal and rest period compliance to employees, managers, divisions, departments, contract support personnel, and others are required
- Recommends follow-up for areas that show patterns of missed break periods and/or excessive overtime
- Provides regular reports to the HR Director, Head of Employee Relations, and VP of HR on analytic findings and recommendations
- Complete numerous projects for Internal HR and the Compliance department and other duties as assigned by the supervisor
Education and experience
- Bachelor’s degree in business administration, human resources, or a related field
- Advanced Microsoft Excel skills
- Experience in communicating with varying levels of audiences
- 3 or more years of experience in human resources, auditing, or data analytics
- Demonstrated ability to analyze and interpreting data
- Ability to assess and research policies/laws, through online and various sources to gather full understanding of pertinent information. Must be able to compile information summaries in a concise manner and communicate/distribute to colleagues
Knowledge, skills, and abilities
- Excellent verbal and written communication skills and interpersonal effectiveness at all levels in the organization and across cultures
- Ability to conduct extensive research and analyze various different types of data
- Ability to make recommendations to effectively resolve problems or issues by using judgment that is consistent with the standards, practices, policies, procedures, and federal, state, and local regulations
- Ability to prioritize and efficiently execute a high volume and broad scope of tasks within tight deadlines, competing demands, and changes in the work environment
- Ability to deal with frequent interruptions, changes, delays, or unexpected events
- Strong sense of business ethics including the ability to appropriately handle confidential information
- Strong organizational, analytical, and problem-solving skills
- Demonstrated ability to learn quickly
- Ability to collaborate with others
- Demonstrated ability to consult effectively with all levels of management with multiple conflicting priorities
- Ability to establish credibility, be decisive, and be able to recognize and support the organization’s preferences and priorities
- Responsible for the payroll at all locations including time-keeping review and data transfer and payroll processing
- Submit payroll reports as needed to the Director of HR, Accounting Office, and others as required
- Provide assistance for the administration of benefits including enrollment forms, data input into the payroll system, and communication with the Director of HR and insurance agents on claim and billing issues
- Perform customer service functions by answering employee requests and questions
- Prepare new employee files and conduct New Hire Orientations as required
- Verify/Submit I9 and E-verify information as required
- Assist with reporting requirements
- Assist with the processing of hires and terminations
- Assist with the preparation of performance counseling and reviews
- An associates degree or higher in HR, business administration, or a related field is preferred
- Two or more years of experience is preferred
In addition to meeting the qualifications above, the ideal candidate will embody the following characteristics and possess the knowledge, skills, and abilities listed below:
- Interpersonal Skills – must maintain confidentiality, remain open to other’s ideas and exhibit a willingness to try new things
- Oral and Written Communication – must speak clearly and effectively in positive or negative situations; must demonstrate group presentation skills; must be able to effectively write and edit written communications (i.e. – letters, email, signs); must be able to read and appropriately interpret written information; must be able to present numeric data effectively
- Planning/Organizing – must be able to prioritize and plan work activities, use time efficiently, and develop realistic action plans
- Problem Solving – must be able to identify and resolve problems in a timely manner and gather/analyze information appropriately
- Dependability – must be consistently at work and on time, follow instructions, respond to management instructions, and solicit feedback to improve performance
- Adaptability – must be able to adapt to change in the work environment and to manage competing tasks
- Quality – must demonstrate accuracy and thoroughness; must monitor own work to ensure quality requirements are met
Candidate Certifications to Look For
- 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 a candidate’s 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 they are required to earn 60 recertification credits to maintain their PHR credential, or they 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.
How to Hire an HR Specialist
Consider the following when hiring an HR specialist:
- 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. When hiring an HR specialist, 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
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 when hiring a HR specialist:
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.
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
- Why did you go into human resources?
- 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 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?