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5 Important Skills for HR Professionals That You May Not Have Thought About

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You’re probably here for one of two reasons. Either, you’re planning to apply for the position of an HR professional and you’re wondering if you have the skills it takes to impress a recruiter, or you’re recruiting for your company and want to know what to look for when hiring new talent in the HR field.

Whatever the reason, you’ve come to the right place, because we’ve created a detailed list of everything an HR professional needs to be prepared to handle—how they should respond, react, communicate, and what extra skills are needed to really impress the people you work for.

HR manager in white button-up shirt sitting on gray couch

Balancing authority and approachability

We’re starting with one of the most important but hard to perfect skills that you will need. In many companies, especially startups, the HR department tends to be labeled as “unapproachable” or “stuck-up”. 

Though it sounds harsh, the reason for this is that most people find it difficult to differentiate between “speaking with authority” and being straight out rude, because they lack the proper competencies that are needed in an HR professional

As an HR person, you’ll need to develop a way of speaking that combines authority with approachability. This is something you’ll be able to learn from some managers and team leads who stand out from the rest, simply because they know how to get things done without being condescending, demeaning, or bossy. 

You may wonder why you need to have some kind of authoritative tone, to begin with—it’s because your role is such that you’ll be in a position of making decisions and directing others in the company on the way problems and issues can be smoothly solved. 

Because the position consists of authoritative decision-making, most HR professionals assume that they have the right to be authoritative in their behavior towards their peers. 

This, however, is far from the truth. While you do have the authority to tell people the decisions you’ve made regarding certain events, situations, and scenarios, you should be approachable enough so people can reach out to you when they’re in need and clarify their doubts about any decision you’ve made. 

In doing so, you’ll be able to build a healthy and good image for the HR team in your company. 

Organization that’s on point

The HR department will consist of various roles, a large number of which will be related to organization in some way or the other. Without this skill, it’s impossible to be a competent worker who can serve the company well.

If you’ve ever worked in a company where the employees are always disappointed after every corporate event they participate in or corporate gift they get, it could be due to a problem within the HR team. 

Bad organization skills can lead to poorly planned ideas and events, which in turn will reflect badly on the entire company. That’s why it’s important to test a person’s organization skills before they’re hired because not everyone has what it takes to be on top of 20 tasks and make sure they all are flawlessly executed before a big event. 

To avoid any disasters in corporate events, and to keep employees feeling happy and content, a stellar HR team is needed with professionals who won’t break under stress but will be able to see an event through from start to finish.

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Confidentiality is key

As an HR professional, you may have to deal with sensitive and delicate information that is private and personal to the parties involved. 

If you have a tendency to gossip, or simply aren’t very good at keeping things to yourself (some people can never stop themselves from accidentally blurting everything out in a gathering), then this position will not be suitable for you. 

The reason for this is because there are many matters you’ll have to deal with in a large company. 

For instance, if an employee feels harassed by their manager and needs to switch teams, you should be able to get this done as smoothly as possible, without throwing the employee under the bus with his or her manager. 

Other incidents of harassment or inappropriate behavior may also arise, and it’s in your hands to make sure that those who are affected are able to get their problems solved without drawing too much attention to themselves, especially if they’ve requested anonymity. 

Problem solving and creative thinking

Very often, you’ll have to deal with problems that you’ll need to solve immediately and these problems may not always have easy solutions. That’s why you need to develop a deep sense of empathy and understanding, which will help you arrive at the right decisions whenever you’re in such situations. 

Of course, you won’t have to deal with everything alone, but contributing and being a part of the solution is definitely something you’ll need to do. 

It’s always a good idea to start preparing for such situations by reading about incidents where HR professionals were able to creatively solve problems before they blew up

Similarly, there are quite a few interesting videos you can watch on Youtube that teach you how to view, analyze, and solve problems that seem complex. 

At the end of the day, you should have the skill of staying calm in stressful situations, identifying and understanding the root of the problem, coming up with different solutions and the respective outcomes that are bound to come from it, and then arriving at the best option that will help the company solve the issue. 

Time management and quick thinking

Time management is a talent, and not everyone has it. People who work in other roles may often have the benefit of letting their ideas steep for a while before they need to make a decision, but this luxury is not always available to HR professionals. 

You should be able to quickly manage various tasks and know how to prioritize all the issues you have to deal with. In doing so, you’ll make sure there’s no backlog of important tasks, while also making sure that the rest of the company is able to function well based on your skills.

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