HR Specialist

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What does an HR specialist do?

HR specialists support various activities within the HR department, especially the initial stages of the employee experience. This role mainly focuses on creating an optimal experience for both candidates and employees at the interviewing, onboarding, day-to-day and offboarding stages. To ensure the success of each hire, HR specialists gather employee records and track essential HR metrics. Depending on the workload of an HR department, HR specialists can also assist with benefits, payroll, employee questions, recruiting and other needs that may arise.

How do you become an HR specialist?

  • After completing a bachelor’s degree, HR specialists often need to acquire one to two years of relevant work experience.

Aspiring HR specialists should pursue a bachelor’s degree in a related field before entering the workforce. While human resources is an ideal major for learning about topics like employee benefits, many HR professionals also showcase backgrounds in areas like psychology, communications and business.

Graduates who finish a four-year degree must then accumulate one or two years of relevant work experience to be fully qualified for an HR specialist position. Entry-level roles like HR assistant allow newer professionals to become familiar with remote onboarding plans and other real-world responsibilities HR departments are tasked with. Graduates can also learn HR-related skills in a customer service position before transitioning into an HR specialist role.

What skills does an HR specialist need?

  • Besides the ability to interview, onboard and perform other HR tasks, HR specialists should also possess financial knowledge and an analytical mindset.

For many organizations, HR specialists must take the lead on recruiting tasks like locating and attracting top candidates. This process involves screening candidates, conducting interviews, onboarding new employees and explaining company policies. However, HR specialists are primarily responsible for maintaining benefits and payroll programs, curating a productive workplace and ensuring employees are being held to appropriate standards, so qualified individuals will balance critical HR expertise with financial capabilities and more.

In addition, HR specialists are the main onboarders of new talent, so they should be able to analytically weigh the potential costs of hiring a candidate against the benefits they bring to the team and the reduced cost of promoting an existing employee. Developing an analytical framework enables HR specialists to determine the true cost-per-hire and make thoughtful decisions when filling open roles.

What is the salary of an HR specialist?

  • HR specialist salaries range depending on performance, experience and company policies, however, the average HR specialists in the U.S. make a base salary of $73,280, according to the Built In salary tool.

For those who exceed expectations, an additional $7,951 of average cash compensation raises the total average compensation for an HR Specialist to $81,231. Because this role is crucial to filling open roles and maintaining company productivity, experienced senior HR specialists may earn a salary as high as $200K.