How (and When) to Hire a Human Resources Specialist

By Robert Half April 23, 2019 at 2:00pm

As the economy spurs business growth, more and more companies are looking for administrative professionals to staff critical roles. A human resources specialist can perform a wide range of tasks to guide your workplace, which makes it essential to find the right person for the job. From hiring to payroll to training, HR focuses on people management, a vital function.

However, low unemployment rates and a shortage of skilled candidates have made it difficult for managers to find the right people for positions like that of the human resources specialist, according to the OfficeTeam Salary Guide.

So, what HR roles should you spotlight now in your hiring, and how do you attract the top candidates? Here’s what you need to know:

What human resources specialists do

These professionals support recruiting, onboarding and talent management programs. Before you begin the staffing process, consider the duties and specifications of the various types of HR specialist positions that can benefit your business. Some of those common roles include:

  • HR assistant/generalist — These employees assist with critical functions in the hiring process, including conducting internet research to identify potential candidates, scheduling interviews and screening phone calls. They may also review resumes, help plan new employee orientation programs and maintain employee records.
  • HR benefits specialist/coordinator — Professionals in these roles oversee the enrollment and management of company benefits plans. They help register new employees, serve as the primary point of contact for benefits-related questions or concerns, and work directly with vendors to resolve any issues that may arise.
  • HR recruiting specialist/coordinator — Recruiting specialists manage the internal and external postings of open jobs, evaluate candidates to ensure they meet company hiring standards and prepare employment offers. They may also oversee applicant tracking, conduct recruitment analysis and facilitate other HR projects.

When to hire an HR specialist

Determining the right time to bring in specialized HR employees depends on the needs, schedules and budget of your organization. Here are just a few examples of when and where the expertise of these skilled professionals can benefit you:

  • Sluggish staffing — A slow hiring process often leads to you missing out on candidates with in-demand skills. If your favorite candidates are getting snatched up by other companies by the time you make an offer, you need to evaluate your hiring process. A human resources specialist can identify what needs to be updated to help ensure you are conducting interviews and extending offers in a timely manner.
  • High workloads — If the amount of work is increasing at your organization, new employees or temporary help may be required to handle the additional responsibilities. In turn, you’ll need a human resources specialist to assist with hiring, especially if you’re creating and staffing multiple roles.
  • New programs or benefits — Is your company planning to roll out updated benefits packages or new employee programs, such as a 401(k) or professional development opportunities? Experienced HR staff can oversee and administer these additions so implementation runs smoothly.

Need help locating brilliant HR specialists?

How to hire your next team members

Once you’ve decided to hire, it’s time to start looking for candidates. Because of the increased competition for HR gurus, strategy is key when staffing these positions. As you search, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Be specific — Knowing how to write a job description that’s carefully crafted can give you a springboard to identify candidates who match your requirements. Job descriptions should contain an outline of all the skills, experience and personality traits you’re looking for.
  • Seek referrals — Friends, family members, professional contacts and your staff are valuable resources when looking for accomplished HR professionals. You might even offer incentives, such as gift cards or bonuses, to your employees who provide referrals leading to promising new hires.
  • Look for balanced skill sets — In addition to human resources expertise, look for HR specialists with computer and technological savvy. Likewise, evaluate nontechnical proficiencies, such as interpersonal skills and strong writing and speaking abilities, which indicate a capacity to communicate clearly, think quickly and work well with others.
  • Offer competitive compensation — To attract top talent, you must keep up with industry standards in terms of salary and benefits. Consult our Salary Guide to determine the range for human resources specialist starting salaries in your area. And if you haven’t already, consider offering popular perks and benefits like flexible work arrangements and public transportation reimbursement.
  • Maintain realistic expectations — Remember, the perfect candidate probably doesn’t exist. Spend time looking for someone who ticks every single box, and you may miss out on many talented individuals who would have great success with your company. Instead, be open to providing on-the-job training to develop additional skills required for the role.

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