Human Resources Specialist

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Job Outlook:
Faster than average
Education: Bachelor's degree
High: $116,060.00
Average: $73,080.00
Average: $35.13

What they do:

Recruit, screen, interview, or place individuals within an organization. May perform other activities in multiple human resources areas.

On the job, you would:

  • Interpret and explain human resources policies, procedures, laws, standards, or regulations.
  • Hire employees and process hiring-related paperwork.
  • Maintain current knowledge of Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) and affirmative action guidelines and laws, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Listening and speaking skills are essential for human resources specialists. They must convey information effectively and respond to questions and concerns from employers, job applicants, and employees.

Decision-making skills. Human resources specialists must use sound judgment when reviewing applicants’ qualifications or when working to resolve disputes.

Detail oriented. Specialists must pay attention to detail when evaluating applicants’ qualifications, doing background checks, maintaining records of an employee grievance, and ensuring that a workplace complies with labor standards.

Interpersonal skills. Specialists continually interact with others and must be able to converse and connect with people from varied backgrounds.


A3 Your Strengths Importance

Characteristics of this Career

91% Integrity  -  Job requires being honest and ethical.
90% Cooperation  -  Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
89% Attention to Detail  -  Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
88% Self-Control  -  Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
87% Dependability  -  Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
86% Stress Tolerance  -  Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
86% Adaptability/Flexibility  -  Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
84% Concern for Others  -  Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
81% Independence  -  Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
78% Social Orientation  -  Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
76% Leadership  -  Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
76% Analytical Thinking  -  Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
74% Initiative  -  Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
71% Persistence  -  Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
69% Innovation  -  Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
68% Achievement/Effort  -  Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
A3 Your Strengths Importance


83% Enterprising  -  Work involves managing, negotiating, marketing, or selling, typically in a business setting, or leading or advising people in political and legal situations. Enterprising occupations are often associated with business initiatives, sales, marketing/advertising, finance, management/administration, professional advising, public speaking, politics, or law.
61% Conventional  -  Work involves following procedures and regulations to organize information or data, typically in a business setting. Conventional occupations are often associated with office work, accounting, mathematics/statistics, information technology, finance, or human resources.
A3 Your Strengths Importance

Values of the Work Environment

78% Relationships  -  Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
72% Support  -  Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
67% Achievement  -  Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
64% Working Conditions  -  Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.


A3 Your Strengths Importance

Abilities | Cognitive, Physical, Personality

75% Written Comprehension  -  The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
75% Oral Comprehension  -  The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
75% Oral Expression  -  The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
72% Deductive Reasoning  -  The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
72% Speech Recognition  -  The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
72% Speech Clarity  -  The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
72% Written Expression  -  The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
72% Problem Sensitivity  -  The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
66% Near Vision  -  The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).

Job Details

Evaluate personnel practices to ensure adherence to regulations.
Evaluate effectiveness of personnel policies or practices.
Prepare operational reports.
Interview employees, customers, or others to collect information.
Verify application data to determine program eligibility.
Discuss business strategies, practices, or policies with managers.
Inform individuals or organizations of status or findings.
Coordinate personnel recruitment activities.
Administer personnel recruitment or hiring activities.
Coordinate personnel recruitment activities.
Explain regulations, policies, or procedures.
Conduct eligibility or selection interviews.
Maintain records, documents, or other files.
Update knowledge of legal or regulatory environments.
Coordinate personnel recruitment activities.
Maintain data in information systems or databases.
Train personnel on managerial topics.
Administer personnel recruitment or hiring activities.
Administer personnel recruitment or hiring activities.
Develop training materials.
Train personnel to enhance job skills.
Administer personnel recruitment or hiring activities.
Advise others on human resources topics.
Coordinate personnel recruitment activities.
Evaluate personnel practices to ensure adherence to regulations.
Advise others on business or operational matters.
Evaluate effectiveness of personnel policies or practices.
Discuss business strategies, practices, or policies with managers.
Review license or permit applications.
Perform human resources activities.
Administer compensation or benefits programs.
A3 Your Strengths Importance

Attributes & Percentage of Time Spent

100% Electronic Mail  -  How often do you use electronic mail in this job?
100% Telephone  -  How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?
98% Face-to-Face Discussions  -  How often do you have to have face-to-face discussions with individuals or teams in this job?
97% Indoors, Environmentally Controlled  -  How often does this job require working indoors in environmentally controlled conditions?
94% Contact With Others  -  How much does this job require the worker to be in contact with others (face-to-face, by telephone, or otherwise) in order to perform it?
93% Work With Work Group or Team  -  How important is it to work with others in a group or team in this job?
88% Letters and Memos  -  How often does the job require written letters and memos?
87% Structured versus Unstructured Work  -  To what extent is this job structured for the worker, rather than allowing the worker to determine tasks, priorities, and goals?
84% Freedom to Make Decisions  -  How much decision making freedom, without supervision, does the job offer?
84% Importance of Being Exact or Accurate  -  How important is being very exact or highly accurate in performing this job?
80% Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results  -  What results do your decisions usually have on other people or the image or reputation or financial resources of your employer?
80% Spend Time Sitting  -  How much does this job require sitting?
76% Coordinate or Lead Others  -  How important is it to coordinate or lead others in accomplishing work activities in this job?
75% Frequency of Decision Making  -  How frequently is the worker required to make decisions that affect other people, the financial resources, and/or the image and reputation of the organization?
73% Frequency of Conflict Situations  -  How often are there conflict situations the employee has to face in this job?
72% Importance of Repeating Same Tasks  -  How important is repeating the same physical activities (e.g., key entry) or mental activities (e.g., checking entries in a ledger) over and over, without stopping, to performing this job?
69% Time Pressure  -  How often does this job require the worker to meet strict deadlines?
68% Deal With External Customers  -  How important is it to work with external customers or the public in this job?
68% Responsibility for Outcomes and Results  -  How responsible is the worker for work outcomes and results of other workers?
A3 Your Strengths Importance

Tasks & Values

92% Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates  -  Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
89% Working with Computers  -  Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
85% Performing Administrative Activities  -  Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.
85% Documenting/Recording Information  -  Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
82% Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships  -  Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
82% Getting Information  -  Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
80% Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work  -  Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
80% Making Decisions and Solving Problems  -  Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
79% Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards  -  Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
78% Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others  -  Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
74% Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge  -  Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
68% Processing Information  -  Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
67% Providing Consultation and Advice to Others  -  Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
67% Communicating with People Outside the Organization  -  Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
67% Scheduling Work and Activities  -  Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
66% Training and Teaching Others  -  Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.

What Human Resources Specialists Do

Human resource specialists
Recruitment specialists may distribute information at job fairs or online.

Human resources specialists recruit, screen, and interview job applicants and place newly hired workers in jobs. They also may handle compensation and benefits, training, and employee relations.


Human resources specialists typically do the following:

  • Consult with employers to identify hiring needs
  • Interview job applicants about their relevant experience, education, and skills
  • Check applicants' references and backgrounds
  • Inform applicants about job details, such as duties, benefits, and working conditions
  • Hire or refer qualified applicants
  • Run or help with new employee orientation
  • Keep employment records and process paperwork

Human resources specialists often are trained in tasks for all disciplines of a human resources department. In addition to recruiting applicants and placing workers, human resources specialists help guide employees through human resources procedures and answer questions about an organization’s policies. They sometimes administer benefits, process payroll, and handle associated questions or problems. Some specialists focus more on strategic planning and hiring than on administrative duties. They also ensure that all human resources functions comply with federal, state, and local regulations.

The following are examples of types of human resources specialists:

Human resources generalists handle all aspects of human resources work. Their duties include recruitment, compensation, benefits, training, and employee relations, as well as administering human resources policies, procedures, and programs.

Recruitment specialists, sometimes known as recruiters ortalent acquisition specialists, find, screen, and interview applicants for job openings in an organization. They search for applicants by posting listings, attending job fairs, and visiting college campuses. They also may test applicants, contact references, and extend job offers.

Some specialists focus on a certain area of human resources, such as retirement or training. For information about those who focus on an organization’s wage and nonwage programs for workers, see the profile on compensation, benefits, and job analysis specialists. For information about those who plan and administer programs that improve workers’ skills and knowledge, see the profile on training and development specialists.

Work Environment

Human resources specialists held about 874,500 jobs in 2022. The largest employers of human resources specialists were as follows:

Employment services 18%
Professional, scientific, and technical services 13
Healthcare and social assistance 10
Government 9
Manufacturing 7

Some organizations contract recruitment and placement work to outside firms, such as those in the employment services industry or the professional, scientific, and technical industry.

Work Schedules

Human resources specialists generally work in office settings. Some, particularly recruitment specialists, travel to attend job fairs, visit college campuses, and meet with applicants.

Most specialists work full time during regular business hours. Some work more than 40 hours per week.

Getting Started

Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree

How to Become a Human Resources Specialist

Human resource specialists
Human resources specialists must usually have a bachelor’s degree in human resources, business, or a related field.

Human resources specialists typically need a bachelor’s degree to enter the occupation.


Human resources specialists typically need a bachelor's degree in human resources, business, communications, or a related field.

By working in an internship during college, students gain relevant experience that may be helpful in competing for human resources specialist jobs. Internships in human resources departments may help prospective specialists to increase their understanding of the occupation and to network in an industry.

Other Experience

Some positions require human resources specialists to have relevant work experience. Candidates may gain experience as human resources assistants (information clerks), customer service representatives, or in related occupations.

Employers also may prefer to hire candidates who have experience in areas such as personnel recruitment, staff training and development, employee relations, and compensation and benefits. Candidates sometimes get this experience while in college, either through courses or by volunteering.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Professional associations that specialize in human resources offer courses to enhance the skills of their members, and some offer certification programs. For example, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) offers the SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) and SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP), and the HR Certification Institute (HRCI) offers a range of certifications for varying levels of expertise.

Certification usually requires that candidates pass an exam that covers human resources knowledge and asks candidates to apply their knowledge to different situations. Candidates for certification also typically need to meet minimum education and experience requirements.

Although certification is usually voluntary, some employers prefer or require it. Human resources generalists, in particular, may benefit from certification because it shows knowledge and professional competence across all human resources areas.


Human resources specialists who have a thorough knowledge of their organization and its personnel regulations may advance to become human resources managers. Specialists may increase their chance of advancement by taking on new responsibilities or completing voluntary certification programs.

Job Outlook

Employment of human resources specialists is projected to grow 6 percent from 2022 to 2032, faster than the average for all occupations.

About 78,700 openings for human resources specialists are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.


Employment growth is expected as human resources specialists are needed to explain increasingly complex employment laws and benefit options. At the same time, some companies may outsource human resources functions to organizations that provide these services, rather than directly employing human resources specialists.

Contacts for More Information

For more information about human resources careers and certification, visit

HR Certification Institute

International Public Management Association for Human Resources

Society for Human Resource Management


Occupational Requirements Survey

For a profile highlighting selected BLS data on occupational requirements, see

Human resources specialists (PDF)

Similar Occupations

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of human resources specialists.

Occupation Job Duties Entry-Level Education Median Annual Pay, May 2022
Compensation and benefits managers Compensation and Benefits Managers

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Bachelor's degree $131,280
compensation benefits and job analysis specialists image Compensation, Benefits, and Job Analysis Specialists

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Bachelor's degree $67,780
Customer service representatives Customer Service Representatives

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High school diploma or equivalent $37,780
Human resources managers Human Resources Managers

Human resources managers plan, coordinate, and direct the administrative functions of an organization.

Bachelor's degree $130,000
Insurance sales agents Insurance Sales Agents

Insurance sales agents contact potential customers and sell one or more types of insurance.

High school diploma or equivalent $57,860
Labor Relations Specialists

Labor relations specialists interpret and administer labor contracts.

Bachelor's degree $82,010
public relations specialists image Public Relations Specialists

Public relations specialists create and maintain a positive public image for the clients they represent.

Bachelor's degree $67,440
Tax examiners and collectors, and revenue agents Tax Examiners and Collectors, and Revenue Agents

Tax examiners and collectors, and revenue agents determine how much is owed in taxes and collect tax from individuals and businesses on behalf of the government.

Bachelor's degree $57,950
Training and development managers Training and Development Managers

Training and development managers plan, coordinate, and direct skills- and knowledge-enhancement programs for an organization’s staff.

Bachelor's degree $120,000
training and development specialists image Training and Development Specialists

Training and development specialists plan and administer programs that improve the skills and knowledge of their employees.

Bachelor's degree $63,080

Information provided by CareerFitter, LLC and other sources.

Sections of this page includes information from the O*NET 27.3 Database by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license.

CareerFitter, LLC has modified all or some of this information. USDOL/ETA has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.