If you want a strong HR department, you need a strong HR manager. Look for these five traits when hiring your next HR leader.
Did you know that there are currently around 10.9 million open jobs in the United States alone?
Recruiters are feeling it. In a recent Capterra survey, we asked them to rate the difficulty of finding, attracting, and recruiting job seekers to their employer on a scale from 1 (not difficult at all) to 7 (extremely difficult).
The majority of them rated their experience as a 5… and nearly 10% chose a 7.
The pressure to fill openings only grows when those roles are critical ones, which is what makes hiring an HR manager such an intimidating task.
From succession planning to ensuring compliance with employment laws, HR managers are in charge of leading the HR function, and a role with that many responsibilities can’t be filled by just anyone—you need a candidate with years of experience as an HR professional, and a skillset that equips them to handle the many tasks ahead of them.
As a hiring decision-maker, it’s important to have a full understanding of the necessary qualities you need in your next HR manager. We’ve made it easy for you by putting together this list of the top five skills for an HR manager, along with questions you can ask interviewees to determine whether they have those traits.
5 skills you need in an HR manager
Written and verbal communication skills
Most of the daily responsibilities of an HR manager require strong written and verbal communication skills.
One of the key tasks an HR manager oversees is managing the talent acquisition process—which requires corresponding with department managers to understand what they are looking for in a new hire, then relaying that information back to the rest of the recruiting team.
Further, HR managers are frequently expected to present information to company leadership, interview job candidates for important roles, and resolve conflicts between coworkers—all responsibilities that call for exceptional communication skills.
Interpersonal and leadership skills
Every organization’s hierarchy is different, but typically, HR managers have direct reports (usually an HR generalist and an HR specialist) to supervise.
As a people manager, they need interpersonal skills such as empathy, emotional intelligence, and active listening in order to foster a positive and collaborative team dynamic. Plus, these traits will make communicating with employees or senior managers outside of the HR team go smoothly.
Decision-making and problem solving skills
From improving the employee experience at your workplace to launching a learning and development program, planning and implementing HR strategies is a large part of what HR managers do. Oftentimes, these initiatives affect your entire workforce, which means that the individual who is behind them needs to be a sound decision-maker with excellent problem solving skills.
Organization and multitasking skills
According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), an HR manager’s duties include the following:
- Partnering with leadership to plan and execute human resource and talent strategy
- Providing support and guidance to the rest of the HR department
- Managing the talent acquisition process
- Staying on top of trends in compensation and employee benefits
- Reviewing policies to ensure compliance with state and federal employment laws
With so many different projects, processes, and administrative tasks to keep track of, organization and multitasking skills are must-have traits for a successful HR manager.
Today’s HR departments rely on technology for assistance with many basic HR functions such as running payroll, keeping employee records, and recruiting new talent. What’s more, recent innovations in HR technology have made more complex tasks such as strategic planning or analyzing employee engagement trends much easier to accomplish.
Your next HR manager will have to work with a variety of digital tools on a weekly basis—which means that the ideal candidate will be tech savvy and have previous experience working with HR software.
During the interview process, it’s helpful to know what kind of software your future HR manager will have to interact with. We’ve put together a list of five common tools HR managers should be familiar with:
Building your HR dream team? Check out these related resources
The importance of a strong human resources function can’t be overstated. They’re the ones who make sure employees get paid, laws are followed, and your company culture is positive and productive. That’s why finding the right HR manager is such an important task.
There’s more you can do to support your HR function. If you’re looking for ideas, these related resources are a great place to start:
- What’s the Best HR Certification?
- 3 Effective, Innovative HR Practices You Can Adopt Today
- Is Your Business Ready for an HR Digital Transformation?
- 3 Surefire Predictions for the Future of Talent Management
The Capterra Recruiting Strategy Survey was conducted in July 2021. We collected 300 responses from workers with recruiting responsibilities at U.S. employers. The goal of this survey was to learn how much companies are struggling with recruiting and hiring, and what solutions they’ve considered to improve recruiting and hiring outcomes.