become a human resource specialist

What does a Human Resource Specialist do?

A human resource specialist will screen, interview, recruit, and place workers. They guide employees through human resources procedures and ensure that employees understand them. They are involved in other human resources work that relates to compensation and benefits, employee relations, and sometimes training.

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How to Become a Human Resource Specialist

human resources specialist

Human resource specialists typically need a bachelor’s degree in business, human resources, or a related field. Students would have coursework in professional writing, business, accounting, human resource management, and psychology. Some employers look for previous work experience which you may be able to gain as a human resources assistant.

Certification is not a requirement but it may provide an advantage to an applicant by demonstrating professional competence and knowledge in all human resources areas. Many professional associations offer courses while others offer certification programs.

Job Description of a Human Resource Specialist

A human resource specialist consults with their employer to identify employment needs and then interview applicants, determines their skills, experience, and education. They perform background checks and contact references of an applicant. They explain the duties, benefits, working conditions, and other job requirements that would be relevant to the applicant. They help with a new employee orientation and hire or refer applicants for employers.

A human resource specialist handles all aspects of human resources work. They maintain records of employment, process necessary paperwork, and ensure that the human resources processes are in compliance with state, federal, and local regulations. There are different areas of specialty for human resources as well. For example, a recruitment specialist will find, screen, and interview applicants for jobs and placement specialists match an applicant with an employer. These professionals typically work in an office though some (such as recruitment specialists) may travel frequently to visit college campuses, meet with applicants, and attend job fairs.

Human Resource Specialist Job Posting

Let’s look at a job description posted by the National Park Service. This job announcement is looking for a person to perform the following responsibilities:

  • Serve as an expert for a significant HR functional area which may include Staffing and Classification, Training and Development, or Labor and employee relations.
  • Provide expert authoritative advice on complex position classification issues and ensuring that the application of position classification standards is accurate and consistent.
  • Advise top management and subordinate management levels on recruitment, examination, and selection processes.
  • Forecast long and short-range staffing requirements and developing recruitment strategies to fill positions.
  • Provide agency management with interpretations of policy and procedures when the issues involved are new, highly controversial, precedent setting and/or involve more than one area of personnel policy.

This position was posted to run 01/23/2019 until 12/31/2019 with a salary range of $62,722 to $96,958 per year on (link opens in a new tab). is an official website of the United States government and part of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Human Resource Specialist Career Video Transcript

Applicant interviews, labor negotiations, employee training, salary setting. Human resources specialists perform a wide range of tasks related to ensuring an organization has the employees it needs… to achieve its goals. Human resources (or HR specialists) meet with managers to determine the qualifications they need for new employees. Then they screen applicants and conduct job interviews with the top candidates. Once an applicant is hired, HR specialists conduct employee orientations, answer questions about policies, keep employment records, and provide information on employment benefits, such as health insurance or paid vacation.

HR specialists also ensure the organization complies with government regulations. Many are HR generalists, who are trained in all human resources disciplines and perform tasks throughout all areas of the department. Others specialize in a particular area, such as administering benefits and compensation, or on training and development, strategic planning, or hiring. Human resources specialists generally work full time in offices during regular business hours.

HR specialists work in all kinds of organizations, including employment services, government, healthcare, and manufacturing. Those who focus on recruiting new employees often travel extensively to visit college campuses and attend job fairs. Human resources specialists usually need a bachelor’s degree in human resources, business, or a related field. Related work experience is required for some positions.

Article Citations

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Human Resources Specialists.

National Center for O*NET Development. 13-1071.00. O*NET OnLine.

The career video is in the public domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.