What is recruitment and HR?
You can't run a really great business without finding some brilliant staff to get the work done. Tracking down the right people for the job and making sure they are looking after at a company is the task of recruiters and human resources (HR) departments. And it's a pretty essential one.
Recruiting for jobs can either be done from inside an organisation, if it’s big enough to have its own HR department, or through an independent company.
HR departments help businesses to advertise for jobs, interview and hire people. They also support people once they are at work with help and advice on their contracts and pay, sorting out training to help them improve in their jobs, making sure they know about health and safety and handling complaints and disputes if there is ever a problem. HR departments also champion diversity at work and are there to make sure everyone is treated fairly and equally.
A recruitment agency works a little differently as they concentrate on the hiring part. Recruiters can find people with the right skills on behalf of a company, but can also track down the right company on behalf of an individual.
What recruitment and HR jobs can I do?
Recruitment consultants are a little bit like detectives. They work on behalf of an organisation or individual and match them up to people or employers. They spend time networking at events, setting up meetings or thinking up advertising to attract new candidates, as well as interviewing and running background checks on people.
Human Resources managers and officers Help to recruit people and to plan the right mix of different job skills in an organization. They work across lots of areas, from drawing up job descriptions to advising on salaries and rules for the workplace.
Training and development managers plan and design training programs to help people build up their skills at work, from using new software to managing budgets.
Occupational psychologists use their knowledge of how people behave and interact to get the most out of people at work. They can provide advice and counselling to people, design skills tests for recruitment or recommend ways to make the office a better place to work. For more on psychology careers, check out our Medicine & Healthcare career zone.
Employment lawyers specialise in all the different laws that apply to people at work. They help to draw up contracts and advise on employment policy. They can also advise people and employers when there is a dispute at work, or represent them in court. For more on becoming a lawyer, check out our Law career zone.
Is a career in recruitment and HR for me?
HR roles are great if you enjoy working with people. You’ll need to have good communication skills, as you will be dealing with employers and people looking for work. You’ll sometimes have to manage complaints and disputes as well so being calm and diplomatic is important too.
You should also be organised as your job will require plenty of attention to detail, from checking CVs and references to setting up interviews and making sure that your office is sticking to all the health and safety rules.
How can I start a career in recruitment and HR?
There are lots of graduate jobs available in HR and recruitment, but you can get started with an entry-level job in HR as an assistant or administrator. You’ll need at least 4 or 5 GCSEs, good computer skills as well as some experience working in an office. You might also be able to study for your Level 3 Certificate or Diploma in Human Resources Practice on the job through your employer or take on a higher apprenticeship.
At A-level you should think about taking a business subject or an NVQ in Business and Administration, but Maths, English or Psychology will be useful too.
You can study any subject at degree but there are specialist degrees available in HR management as well.
Lawyers and Psychologists both need post graduate degrees in their subjects.
Take on a team or leadership role at school to show off your organisational skills. You could join a sports team, direct a play or even start up your own club. Any of these things will help you learn to look for different qualities in people and find the right roles for them to get the best out of the group.
To help build your diplomatic skills you could try joining your student council, or become a peer mediator - someone who helps other students resolve problems and settle conflicts. Some organisations, like CRESST, runs workshops in conflict resolution education for schools and help students train as peer mediators. Check with your teacher or student careers advisor if there is any training planned at your school.
What recruitment and HR qualifications are available?
You can get international HR qualifications through the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). They also offer a higher-level apprenticeship (equivalent to second year at university) so you can earn while you learn.
In addition, you can study for other qualifications in employment law, learning and development, management, psychology at work and recruitment.
As a recruitment professional you’ll also have the best CV and cover letter writing skills in the business…
Did you know these recruitment and HR facts?
Psychologists think that blue is the best colour to wear to a job interview because it makes you seem trustworthy (and because it’s loads of people’s favourite colour); and the best time for a job interview is the start or end of the day .