A career in HR (Human Resources) is equally challenging and rewarding. Its outlook remains robust as the HR sector continues to grow in importance, to oversee productivity strategies and talent management that will ultimately affect every company’s bottom line. Is Human Resources for me? Here are eight questions to ask yourself to know if you’re a fit for HR.
Human Resources is a fast-growing career
Human Resource is a fast-growing career with many lucrative opportunities. No wonder why many are eager to begin a career in this field. The HR is a diverse environment. It is challenging and its roles continue to evolve with time.
Working in the HR sector
Almost every type of organization needs HR personnel. If you work in a large company, you’ll be part of an HR team and may function in one or more areas below:
- Employee relations
- Industrial relations
- Performance evaluation
- Employee engagement
- Talen management
- Employee development
- Employee law
- Organisation development
- Employee health and safety
Your task will depend on the size and needs of the business. If you work on SMEs and startups, you will most likely perform a range of these tasks.
Human Resources is a very competitive industry with a lot of targets and strict deadlines. According to Reed.co.uk, the annual average salary of an HR professional is £39,814 with the HR Director earning as much as £77,238. Fresh graduates who enter the industry as an HR administrator can earn up to £24,451.
“I’ve worked as an HR leader for an Inc. 500-ranked technology start-up and in various other roles across the HR field over the years, and the thing I loved then (and still do) is that people are the core of the business. Businesses don’t serve people – employees serve people.
“Businesses don’t make products – people make products. And that concept of the workplace being a very ‘human’ place to be doesn’t change despite all the automation that we’re seeing; it’s [actually] a chance to be more human and stand out from the crowd.
“If I was going to give that advice to others, it would be to continuously explore and experiment within the HR profession to find which specialities and options are most compelling and exciting, and then spend more time trying to do those kinds of things. Don’t settle for being average at everything – be great at something.”
– Ben Eubanks, Lighthouse Research & Advisory principal analyst
As an aspiring HR professional, you must have the discipline and willingness to work hard, improve, and adapt with each rising need. Here are some HR skills and questions to ask yourself to know if a career in the Human Resources is right for you.
Eight questions to ask yourself to know if you’re fit for HR
1. Am I business savvy?
You don’t have to be a business expert right off the bat. Expertise can be developed over time. What I mean here is that you have a knack for basic business principles. For example, you should know why your co-workers aren’t participating in the company project and you should have an idea how that will affect the company.
Understanding business basics and the bottom line gives you an edge as an HR professional. Nowadays, HR doesn’t just interview employees – they are business partners tasked to help the workforce more productive and efficient.
2. Am I a strategic thinker?
The role of the HR professional has evolved from making job descriptions and onboarding employees, to planning team building events and working closely with the top management. To succeed in this role, an aspiring HR professional should be a strategic thinker.
You need to know what’s next for a team or the entire organization. You need to learn how to adapt to certain challenges, plan for changes, and stay competitive without losing sight of your company’s goals.
3. Am I a great decision maker?
Are you the deal breaker when the family don’t know where to spend the holidays season? Do you find yourself weighing the pros and cons before making the best decision for everyone? If you want a career in HR, you must have a natural talent for making logical and informed decisions.
And it’s not just about asking the right questions, a good decision maker should also know how to deliver his or her decision with authority and compassion for those who did not get what they wanted. HR people are constantly making decisions – big and small.
“A great decision need not be immediately popular, but it does need to be the best decision for the group.” – Steve Gibson, JotForm Director
4. Can I keep secrets?
If your friends tell you their biggest secrets because they know you can keep them, then you can have a fruitful career in the HR. Human Resources professionals are the go-to-people for almost everything – health issues, harassment reports, and even executive level information.
An aspiring HR professional should know how to compartmentalize information. They must not enjoy exchanging gossips in the coffee station, to make sure that everyone’s secret is safe.
5. Am I a problem solver?
More often than not, the most complex problems fall on Human Resources – yes, you’ve read that right. As an aspiring HR career-person, you must be a natural problem solver. Proactivity should be one of your innate traits.
The HR rep handles a lot of difficult situations – from employee engagement to dealing with bullying, toxicity, and harassment in the office. Not to mention insubordinate employees. You must be able to deal with this subjectively and without bias.
6. Do I love being with people?
If you are a person who loves to spend time with others whether catching up with friends or getting to know the person across the table, then you have a place in the HR industry. Successful HR people love making connections with people. They also love learning what motivates, scares, and inspires them.
“Fundamentally, HR is about helping people be the best employee they can be.” – Todd Horton, KangoGift CEO.
7. Do I love data and research?
Are you willing to spend countless hours hitting the books and putting in the research required to make a project successful? Do you know the importance of research before committing to a certain decision? Are you diligent enough?
If you answered yes, then you have the skills necessary to succeed in an HR career. HR professionals play an important role in the company – hiring and firing employees, developing company policies, laying out employee benefits, planning employee engagement strategies, etc. All these tasks require research and commitment to make sure you’re not violating any laws and that you’re making the best decision for everyone.
8. Am I approachable?
If you are a people person, it should follow that you are approachable. Remember, HR is the link between common company employees and the top management. As an HR professional, expect that employees will approach you for whatever reason. And most of these reasons are sensitive in nature.
If you can’t put up an approachable demeanour, you’ll most likely have a hard time succeeding in this career path. Being approachable is key to building trust and rapport – not only among employees but also with the organization’s leadership.
Getting that first job in Human Resources
Work experience is important when applying for jobs. But it’s not the only determining factor. Your attitude, academic qualifications, and approach can also help you land a dream job in HR. Build relevant skills such as decisive thinking, curiosity, and collaboration. If possible, work with someone who’s already built a career in the industry.
Still a student? See if you can do short-term work. The ideal setting would be in an HR office. If you can’t get one, any office with administrative roles is a valuable experience. Employers put heavy emphasis on experience when sifting through their list of applicants so make sure to get as much exposure as you can.
Another important quality that you should develop is CAREER GRIT, which is defined as your passion and perseverance towards achieving your long-term goals. Grit is not quitting when you are pushed out of your comfort zone and not giving up when faced with failure. Experts think that this quality is one of the best predictors of whether or not you are going to succeed in your career.
Let me explain the value of HR with this quote from Steve Wynn:
“Human resources isn’t a thing we do. It’s the thing that runs our business.”
As a future HR professional, you will have an opportunity to affect the lives of hundreds of individuals in your organization. It’s a big but rewarding responsibility. Are you up for the challenge?
Don’t forget to ask these questions again to make sure if HR is the right career path for you:
- Am I business savvy?
- Am I a strategic thinker?
- Am I a great decision maker?
- Can I keep secrets?
- Am I a problem solver?
- Do I love being with people?
- Do I love data and research?
- Am I approachable?
Author Bio: Lenmark Anthony Baltazar – a chemist-writer hybrid who enjoys writing about business, entrepreneurship and HR whenever he is not tinkering with chemicals in the lab. Today, he is part of the content management team at HR software company CakeHR.