How to Become an HR Administrative and

Where Is This Path Taking You Further?

3 key takeaways from this blog:

  1. You will learn which skills you need to work in HR administration

  2. You will learn what is the career path of an HR administrator

  3. You will learn about some of the roles that exist in HR industry

A popular opinion is that you can only work in HR if you have a degree in social sciences. This is only one of countless misconceptions when it comes to human resources.

It looks like only psychology students are familiar with the world of HR. Psychology students tend to have a “decision” set in stone from the first year of their studies, when it comes to their career in HR. Students are picking one of the two most popular branches – recruitment and development.

Of course, HR is not only these two areas, nor is it a career only for psychologists or sociologists. Human resources’ wide expertise covers many varieties of educational profiles.

The HR administration is the widest and most diverse field of HR. This includes a whole range of activities that encompass a lot of various skills.

It’s not necessary to have a law, philosophy, or any other degree to work in HR administration

It is not necessary to be excellent in mathematics, nor to handle numbers with ease. It’s not obligatory to have knowledge in the field of management and finance. You don’t even have to be a legal expert with knowledge of law and regulations.

It is advisable though to have some skills from the above – and some other.

To work in HR administration, it is necessary to have various sets of skills such as:

  • Logical thinking and reasoning;

  • The capacity to learn fast and acquire new knowledge from various fields;

  • Multitasking (level: mythical monster with 10 heads and 10 arms) 🙂 ;

  • Precision and perfectionism;

  • Excellent organizational skills;

  • Assertiveness, impeccable communication skills, negotiation skills, persuasive power;

  • Stress resilience;

  • Independence in decision making (mostly under pressure);

  • Microsoft Excel.

If you want to be a successful HR administrator and truly enjoy this job, you’ll need to have the knowledge and the skills listed above.

If you embellish a job interview in HR administration, it won’t pay off. That is because the listed skills are difficult to gain if you already don’t have them (except Excel).

These are the qualities that will make you joyful and successful in HR administration: 

  •  Precision,

  •  Good organizational skills

  •  The ability to do several things at the same time – multitasking

  • The ability to make decisions under pressure while maintaining calm

  •  Kindness

  •  Remaining assertive.

The second category of necessary knowledge and skills for this job belongs to Excel.

Even if you don’t have the skills to be the best when utilizing Excel, it doesn’t mean that you cannot work in HR administration. You can always improve your Excel skills thanks to tutorials, or the Internet in general, where you can find plenty of information and suitable explanations.

Do not let Excel scare you! Once you master the basic formulas you will realize how useful and logical it is. In fact, it can help you a lot in your daily activities. 

What is the career path of an HR administrator?

In HR there are all kinds of different departments. The exact number of them and their scope depend on the company, its size, and its internal organization.

Starting positions would be HR administrator, HR coordinator, or HR assistant. The main task is providing support to the recruiting team. This includes many different activities such as scheduling interviews and possible participation in the process of candidate pre-selection, coordination of candidates’ references checking, and, of course, preparation of contracts and data entry.

This is usually accompanied by communication with candidates and employees – resolving their complaints, answering their questions, and easing their doubts.

The second level of positions belongs to HR Officer, HR Generalist, HR Specialist, HR Advisor, and HR Consultant. This may include all or some of the abovementioned prerequisites and responsibilities. From responsibilities regarding internal policies and processes, design, improvement, and implementation of HR procedures, allocation of salaries and benefits to working on disciplinary proceedings and more serious legal issues, maintaining cooperation with external partners and providers, preparation of reports, etc.

The next step would be an HR Business Partner.  In this step, all skills, knowledge, and experience gained from operational work in HR are moving to a higher level. The role of the HR Business Partner is focused on interactions and strategy. Their job is to be a link between business and administration at the operational level.

HR Business Partner’s job involves a deep understanding of the company’s needs, connection and integration with the company’s legislation. They process legal obligations, internal policies, and procedures of the company. HR Business Partner cooperates with various departments in the company. They must be constant in the development and management of the workforce, of course, everything is in accordance with business needs.

This role is no longer operational. Business Partner does not deal with daily HR issues. This role is more consultative and moves in the direction of general management.

HR Manager – usually coordinates the activities of an HR team, in this case, the HR administration team. They offer direct support and guidance necessary to organize and carry out daily tasks.

Lastly, we have the role of  HR Director. This is a person who coordinates the activities of all HR teams. This includes HR administration, recruiting team, training and development department, and any other HR department that exists within the company. The HR Director is usually someone who knows all areas of business in HR, from recruitment through training to administration, payroll and everything in between. The HR director designs the structure of the HR department. They coordinate their activities and stand in front of the entire HR sector in one company.

What is interesting about HR is that you can try your hand at different areas of HR and decide what is best for you.

The dynamics, diversity, and variety of tasks performed within HR administration are what make it interesting. The development path, which is not linear but can take you to incredible heights, is certainly something that can provide additional motivation when choosing a career in this field.

Author: Ana Sekulić, HR Generalist

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