Personnel Specialist Job Description

Personnel specialists help manage the human resources department within a company. They recruit, qualify, interview, and hire new applicants. Once a new employee is hired, personnel specialists help complete paperwork related to employee relations, payroll, and health benefits. Personnel specialists help guide employees through policies and procedures and answer relevant questions. Others focus on strategic planning rather than administrative duties. Highly organized individuals with strong attention to detail and great people skills can excel as personnel specialists. Outsourcing agencies and consulting firms also hire personnel specialists. Most of them work full time during regular business hours.


Personnel Specialist Duties and Responsibilities

Personnel specialists work in a variety of industries. Specific duties and responsibilities may vary, but there are several core tasks associated with the job, including:

Manage Personnel Documents

One of the primary responsibilities of a personnel specialist is double-checking the correctness and completeness of all personnel documents. They ensure the accuracy of salary data and personnel records, making changes when needed. When a new applicant is being considered for a position, personnel specialists make sure all forms are competed and verify relevant information.

Recruit and Interview New Staff

Many personnel specialists take on outsourced duties from human resource managers. They update applicants about job details, duties, working conditions, and benefits. Personnel specialists also engage in day-to-day recruitment strategies: They interview applicants about their education and skills and screen for those with the best qualifications.

Offer Customer Service

An additional responsibility of many personnel specialists is providing excellent customer service. They provide information and support to people as needed. On any given day they may assist individuals with submitting applications and completing beneficiary forms. Personnel specialists also answer telephone calls from customers and transfer communications to the appropriate person.

Perform Administrative Duties

Personnel specialists perform many duties that keep HR departments running. They enter data into payroll contracts, process information changes, and delete old files. In some cases, personnel specialists coordinate and administer promotional testing. Specialists may physically organize files as well.

Assist Management and Staff

Serving as support to management and staff is another key responsibility of personnel specialists. They interpret personnel policies and procedures and provide technical assistance to supervisors, representatives, and employees on a variety of management matters.


Personnel Specialist Skills and Qualifications

Successful personnel specialists can communicate with people from different backgrounds and education levels. Employers seek candidates with a minimum of two years of professional HR experience and a bachelor’s degree. The following skills are essential to getting the job done:

  • Human resources expertise – personnel specialists need in-depth knowledge of HR policies to discuss wages, working conditions, and their employer’s business model
  • Financial administration – handling payroll transactions and background financial work is a routine task for personnel specialists
  • Computer skills – companies increasingly rely on technology-based solutions for recruitment and personnel administrations, so computer skills are essential for personnel specialists
  • Customer service – providing excellent first-class service to customers, clients, and employees is a key responsibility of personnel specialist
  • Interpersonal skills – personnel specialists must be excellent communicators to cultivate relationships with new and current employees
  • Analytical thinking – personnel specialists develop solutions to problems that arise as they facilitate HR processes
  • Data entry – updating and entering data into spreadsheets and software programs is a common task for personnel specialists


Tools of the Trade

Personnel specialists are comfortable using the following software and equipment in a typical workday:

  • Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, Access)
  • Applicant tracking systems (ATS)
  • Various human resources applications


Personnel Specialist Education and Training

Personnel specialists commonly need a bachelor’s degree in human resources or a related field in order to obtain an entry-level position. Aspiring specialists can enhance their employability by taking specialized training from industry organizations such as WorldatWork or the Society for Human Resources Management. Coursework in psychology, labor law, economics, organizational behavior, and industrial psychology can help prepare a personnel specialist for employment.


Personnel Specialist Salary and Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for personnel specialists is $60,350. The lowest 10 percent of earners make less than $35,810. The highest 10 percent of earners make more than $103,570.

Industry employment of human resources specialists is expected to grow 7 percent through 2026, which the BLS notes is as fast as average for all occupations. Companies will continue to outsource HR functions with increasingly complex employment laws and benefit options.


Helpful Resources

We searched the web to find the best industry resources to help you continue exploring a career as a personnel specialist. From thought leaders to industry groups, this list is packed with opportunities to learn, connect, and engage:

National Human Resources Association – NHRA is a national organization focused on equipping individuals with career development and HR skills

Society for Human Resources Management – SHRM is the world’s largest professional HR society. It represents more than 285,000 members and provides free training resources and events to help you succeed as a personnel specialist

WorldatWork – join thousands of HR professionals who are learning, growing, and networking with WorldatWork, which offers an industry standard certification for personnel specialists

The HR Answer Book: An Indispensable Guide for Managers and Human Resources Professionals – this book, which serves as an excellent quick-reference guide, covers 200 questions that will help you handle the details of recruiting and hiring as a personnel specialist

The Essential HR Handbook: A Quick and Handy Resource for Any Manager or HR Professional – this handy reference guide is packed with information, tools, tips, checklists, roadmaps, and other resources to guide HR professionals through hiring and firing employees and dealing with difficult issues that often arise in this field


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