Human Resources, Recruitment and Labor Relations and Specialists

Human Resources Specialists do the recruiting, interviewing and hiring of employees within a business. They work with employers to find out their employment needs and recruit candidates who qualify for the positions. They screen applications and choose which candidates to interview. They conduct interviews, contact references, inform applicants about duties, benefits, etc. and hire employees. They will also be involved in new employee orientation and processing all paperwork. They will typically have other Human Resources duties relating to employees. Many Human Resources Specialists will deal with employee relations and training and some will even help with payroll and benefits. They are usually trained in all aspects of Human Resources so they can handle all Human Resources questions, situations or procedures. They are able to guide new employees through all Human Resources processes.

Types of human resource specialists include:

  • Employment Interviewers work in an employment agency. They interview prospective employees and refer them to companies that are looking to fill positions. Placement Specialists search for and recruit qualified candidates and match them with careers that fit their skills set. They typically don’t do the interviewing but might set up interviews with employers.
  • Human Resources Generalists are very similar to Human Resources Specialists in their functions. They also have additional responsibilities in keeping policies and procedures updated.
  • Recruitment Specialists or Personnel Recruiters look for, screen and interview applicants. They attend job fairs, post ads or visit colleges to find potential employees. They administer tests, may call references and possibly do hiring for companies.
  • Labor Relations Specialists are responsible for dealing with labor or union contracts that involve healthcare, pensions, wages or salaries, etc. They deal with employee grievances and disciplinary actions as well as contracts with management. They are considered the liaison between management and labor. Labor Relations Specialists will set up and run all meetings and interpret all communications between labor and management. They will also be responsible for training managers in the area of labor relations. They will write the formal communication and bargaining between labor and management and make sure that all labor issues are resolved in accordance to the most current labor agreements.

Work Environment
A small percentage (roughly 15 percent) of all Human Resources Specialists work for employment agencies, or temporary help services. Many organizations do not need a Human Resources Specialist full time and prefer to contract with temporary help services or employment agencies to help them hire new employees when they need them.

A much larger percentage (about 75 percent) of Labor Relations Specialists work for labor unions or similar agencies.

Labor Relations Specialists and Human Resources Specialists typically work in an office environment. Some may have to travel to meet with applicants, go to job fairs and recruit at college campuses.

Many specialists work a regular full-time shift during business hours.

How to Become a Human Resources Specialist or Labor Relations Specialist
Human Resources Specialists and Labor Relations Specialists typically must have a Bachelor’s degree in business, human resources or a similar field to qualify. Employers also prefer that applicants have several years experience in human resources or customer service. The level of employment and experience required varies by organization and position.

Certification is not usually required for Human Resources Specialists or Labor Relations Specialists, however some employers might prefer it. Certification enhances the specialist’s skills and shows knowledge and competence across all areas of Human Resources.

Some important skills for a specialist include: Specialists must be excellent listeners and very detail-oriented. They need to be able to pay attention to all details when interviewing applicants in order to choose the right candidate. Specialists must be able to work with others. Specialists must also have great communication skills. They often give presentations in front of groups and must be able to communicate their ideas effectively. In addition, they must be good at making decisions in order to handle labor disputes.

Human Resources Specialists and Labor Relations Specialists can make anywhere between $33,000 and about $100,000 per year. According to research conducted in 2012, the median wage for a specialist was about $56,000 per year.

Job Outlook
Job growth for Human Resources Specialists is expected to grow at an average rate over the next ten years or so. More and more organizations are beginning to contract with temporary help services or employment placement agencies to help with the recruiting and hiring process in order to save money. With the increase in technology, many employers are beginning to do all their recruiting and application processes online rather than sending a recruiter. In addition, Human Resources software has been developed to more easily update and keep track of human resources information. Despite these changes, job prospects for Human Resources specialists will continue to be good, especially in the employee services industry.

Job growth for Labor Relations Specialists is expected to be much slower. Union membership is continuing to decline, making the need for Labor Relations Specialists much less. For this reason, job prospects for Labor Relations Specialists are not expected to be very good over the next ten years.

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