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The HR Manager: A Job Profile

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The management of human resources is critical to the success of any organization, whether it be a commercial company or a public body. This oversight involves dealing with issues involved in selecting and hiring employees, ensuring that employees receive appropriate professional development and training, and handling both the wide range of issues which affect all employees and the vast array of rules, regulations, and laws that govern employment in general.

Human resources management jobs offer a diverse range of careers within the personnel sector and provide both interesting and rewarding occupations that offer the prospect of acting at the very highest levels within any organization. Human resources jobs are pivotal to the development of a whole range of stakeholders associated with any organization, but before you consider a role as a human resources practitioner, you must first focus on taking the same steps that the employees of your prospective employer have already taken.

Jobs in human resources management require candidates who are able to interact with people at many different levels. Successful candidates must possess excellent verbal and written communication skills for both presentations and one-on-one interactions. The ability to listen and analyze personal and professional situations in a confident, sympathetic, and constructive manner are essential, but such analyses should always be performed with the primary goal of human resources in mind, which is the maximization of the effectiveness of a company or organization while complying with the contractual obligations of the parties and relevant laws.

Typical jobs for human resources managers will include the formulation of policies for staff, including hiring and firing; the assessment of staffing levels and staff effectiveness; performing reviews and assessing performance; and identifying training and development needs to achieve a productive workforce which contributes positively to the company’s success.

Human resource managers may either work very closely with employees in a particular division or sector, or they may not actually have much in the way of day-to-day contact with staff. In the latter case, they may be specialized in dealing with legal matters, negotiations with trade unions where they exist, or handling issues such as negotiating contracts for the delivery of staff benefits such as pensions and medical coverage. The human resources function doesn’t just help maximize employee effectiveness and efficiency; rather, HR representatives are a symbol that a company cares about its staff and is working assiduously to see that employees’ needs are met.

Basic principles for securing a human resources management position include demonstrating that you have properly prepared and researched the position. It is painfully obvious to any interviewer which candidates have done their homework and which have not. Remember that you are also looking to assume a position which will directly reflect upon the employer, so your own presentational skills and appearance must be first rate. Turn up for interviews on time and present yourself well.

You should not only research who the employer is and what they are looking for to fill the position; look also at the staffing issues which affect the company and the sector of the economy within which they operate. Are there general staffing problems or particular skill shortages which may affect the potential operation of the organization? Is there a history of strikes or employer discontent which has afflicted the company or the industry? What about any particular employment legislation and regulatory issues? Has the company been sanctioned, sued, or fined for employment malpractices, or, conversely, has it been praised for doing something right with regards to looking after staff? Look for issues and facts which directly affect the employer from a personnel perspective and which you may very well have to deal with once you have joined the company. Doing so will demonstrate that you are professional, diligent, and motivated when faced with a challenge -- in this case, persuading the employer to employ you!

Be prepared for a rigorous selection process, and while handling yourself in a confident and professional manner is desirable, do not step over the line and appear to be arrogant or overbearing. Deal with interviewers and company officials involved in recruiting you in a low-key and reserved fashion while demonstrating that you have thought very carefully about the position and what attracts you to the company. It is preparing yourself thoroughly that will give you the quiet confidence and demeanor that will impress your interviewers and lead you further down the road of the selection process and ultimately to being offered the position.
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