7 Signs You Should Be Working in HR
You’re stuck in traffic once again as you commute to work after dropping the kids off at school. The stop-and-go highway gives you plenty of time to wish you were driving to a job that utilized your full potential instead of leaving you stuck at the bottom of a corporate ladder.
You know you have the innate characteristics it takes to have a stellar career path. After all, you manage your household, referee your kids’ arguments and are there for your friends when they need a listening ear. And you still get dinner on the table on time!
Those natural talents could be put to great use as a human resources (HR) specialist. You may think you don’t have the skills it takes to handle working in HR, but it requires a specific set of characteristics to be successful.
We spoke to the experts and rounded up seven signs you should be working in HR. Your personality and experiences just might make you a perfect fit for this rewarding business career!
You should consider working in HR if …
1. You’re approachable
Other parents never hesitate to talk to you on the playground and your kids’ teachers know they can come to you if they need help around the classroom. Your friendly, approachable demeanor immediately puts others at ease, no matter what they need to talk to you about.
“Approachability is key to building trust and rapport with employees, colleagues and leadership,” says Amy Wolcott, Talent Manager at Sprout Social. Employees need to be comfortable talking to their HR representative no matter how sensitive a situation may be.
2. You don’t shy away from research
You’re willing to hit the books and put in the research it takes to tackle any project, from planting a vegetable garden to buying the best car for your family’s needs. You know how important research can be when it comes to making good decisions, so you always do your due diligence.
HR specialists play a large part in their company’s policies around hiring, firing, benefits and discrimination—all things which are governed by strict state and federal laws. A successful HR rep will need to do the research and commit to continued training to ensure their company doesn’t violate employment laws, according to Jennifer Cullert, head of HR at Manhattan-based law firm Labaton Sucharow.
3. You’re a people person
You never miss an opportunity to spend time with others. From catching up with friends over happy hour to getting to know the strangers across the table at a wedding, you enjoy making connections with people and learning about what makes them tick.
“Fundamentally, HR is about helping people be the best employee they can be,” says Todd Horton, veteran HR specialist and founder/CEO of KangoGift. He adds that it’s important for HR pros to enjoy learning about what motivates people in order to help their company create an interesting culture.
“A great decision need not be immediately popular, but it does need to be the best decision for the group.”
4. You can solve any problem
Your kids are battling over who gets to play with that toy? No big deal. Your spouse can’t bring your daughter to piano lessons because of a last-minute meeting? You’ll figure something out. Your everyday life has made you a pro at finding creative solutions to all sorts of sticky situations, all while staying flexible.
“Often, the most complex problems within a company fall on HR,” says career and life coach Nichole Wesson. HR specialists need to be able to handle difficult situations regarding discrimination, harassment and disciplinary issues without being biased. Successful HR employees must be able to navigate these waters or have the appropriate resources to assist in these areas.
5. Your lips are sealed
You’re always the first to know your friends’ biggest secrets and your kids know they can tell you anything. You’re not interested in swapping gossip at the water cooler. Everyone in your life knows that even the most sensitive secrets are safe in your hands.
HR specialist are people’s go-to resources for everything from health issues to harassment from a colleague. They must be able to compartmentalize and make sure they aren't spreading everyone's secrets, according to Grant Wojahan, director of recruiting and HR at QuoteWizard.
6. You make great decisions
When your family isn’t sure which spot to head to for vacation, you weigh the pros and cons to make the best decision for everyone. And you can deliver the news with just the right blend of authority and compassion for those who didn’t get their way.
HR specialists are constantly making decisions, from choosing who to hire to sorting through options for benefits packages. “Great decision-makers balance and weigh a variety of inputs to find the right solution,” says Steve Gibson, Director at JotForm. “A great decision need not be immediately popular, but it does need to be the best decision for the group,”
7. You’re business savvy
You’re not an expert, but basic business principles come naturally to you. If a new store goes out of business a year later, you probably have an idea of where they went wrong. If colleagues aren’t clicking while working on a group project at work, you can see that the entire company will suffer.
“Understanding business and the bottom line gives you an advantage as an HR professional,” Wolcott says. A strategic understanding helps you think about what's next for a team or company, plan for changes and stay competitive and constantly growing as an organization.
Are you cut out for a career in HR?
If you can relate to a handful of these qualities, you might be naturally inclined to find success working in HR. If you’re ready to put your natural talents to work in your perfect career, learn more about the ins and outs of the career in our article: Everything You Need to Know About Working in Human Resources.