HR, or human resources, practitioners are the eyes and ears of corporations and small businesses. Some specialize in one area while others are perform multiple functions. These professionals research average compensation packages for workers, and ask probing questions during interviews to cull the most qualified candidates for jobs. If you have interpersonal and decision-making skills, HR practitioner might be the perfect career for you.
HR practitioners place job ads in newspapers, online and through job placement firms. They then select candidates for interviews, screen their skills and experience and hire them. As an HR practitioner, you may screen applicants for drugs or substance abuse. Once hired, you help them complete the necessary paperwork: I-9s to show they can legally work in the United States, and W-4 forms to determine amounts to deduct from their checks.
Orientation and Training
Many HR professionals are in charge of employee orientation, which includes introducing them to executives, showing them where to access supplies or make copies and instructing them on company procedures. As an HR practitioner, you may write training manuals that cover company polices on dress code, sick and vacation days and appropriate behavior. You may also arrange company-wide training programs on sexual harassment and sensitivity toward different ethnic backgrounds. Scheduling off-site training for managers and sales reps is another key responsibility of HR practitioners.
Some HR practitioners are involved in labor relations, including selecting medical benefits, 401k and pension plans for employees, negotiating labor contracts and wages with unions and mediating disputes between employees. As an HR practitioner, you might choose benefit programs that both meet the needs of workers and save the company money.
Most HR practitioners work in company offices for employers during the day -- Monday to Friday. You may also travel to job fairs or college placement offices to interview and hire workers. Seventeen percent are employed at search firms, employment agencies and other employment services establishments, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as more HR functions are being outsourced in the 21st century.
Education and Training
A high school education may qualify you for some HR practitioner positions, but most of these professionals have bachelor's degrees in human resources or business. Training is usually conducted on-the-job with an experienced HR manager or director. You may also get experience in this field by assisting HR managers while in college or during summer breaks.
Average Salary and Job Outlook
HR specialists earned average salaries of $58,890 per year as of May 2011, according to the BLS. The top 10 percent made over $94,700 annually. If you advance into HR management, you can earn an average $108,600 per year and command over $169,310 if you are among the top 10 percent in earnings. The BLS reports that jobs for HR professionals are expected to increase 21 percent between 2010 and 2020, which is faster than the 14 percent average for all jobs.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Human Resources Specialist
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment Statistics: Human Resources, Training, and Labor Relations Specialists, All Other
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Human Resources Managers
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment Statistics: Human Resources Managers
- IRS: Employment Tax Forms
- Ohio State University: Orientation and Training of Employees
- Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images