How to Become an HR Director

Planning to know how to become an HR director? Here we are providing you with detailed insights and a step-by-step guide to becoming an HR director.

An HR director is responsible for handling the mandatory HR operations like developing beneficial strategies for the right talent acquisition and adhering to employees with the company policies. On top of that, an HR director has to plan, lead, and manage the recruitment processes. HR directors are the head of the human resources department, and they report to the board of directors for their work progress. 

Becoming an HR director is not very difficult if you’re familiar with the fundamental duties and skills for this lead role. In this post, we’ll break down the complex HR duties and skills into a readable and easy-to-follow guide to becoming an HR director. 

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Steps to Become an HR Director in 2024

Follow this detailed guide below to secure the seat by familiarizing yourself with the fundamental elements of a human resources director’s role.

Step 1: Get Qualified and Become a Certified HR Professional

One of the most basic requirements to become an HR director is to have the mandatory qualifications and basic knowledge. Master the basic skills through a bachelor’s degree in human resources with a major in business management. A common Bachelor’s degree in human resources management allows you to learn:

  • Basic HR policies
  • Talent acquisition processes
  • Team management 
  • Work ethics

While a master’s degree in human resources allows you to learn the fundamentals in more detail from a technical perspective. Master the competitive skills required for an HR director’s role from a renowned institute. Thus, you have another option to get certified and learn the HR director’s expertise from HR professionals themselves. 

Certification in human resource management or HR director skills allows you to nourish your basic director skills into professional strategies and tactics for better business growth. You get to learn the practical side of these human resource management and leadership skills for the HR director’s role. 

Our human resources certification allows you to dive more into technical HR operations, HR policies, and law details and teaches even the slightest of skills that are mandatory for an HR director’s role. If you’re looking to become a human resources director, then don’t forget to enroll after checking the course learning outcomes.

Human Resources Certifications

Step 2: Learn to Develop and Enforce the Company’s HR Goals and Strategies

An HR director is responsible for developing HR strategies and optimizing the already existing ones for the best employee productivity and business growth. They are responsible for developing strategies for talent acquisition based on long-term and short-term organizational goals. 

In addition to that, a human resources director is responsible for implementing the developed policies for better HR operations such as talent recruitment, and onboarding processes. Thus, to fulfill such job responsibilities, you must learn the strategical method of developing the HR policies in compliance with the organizational goals

Step 3: Familiarize with Employee Relations Policies

Another mandatory requirement to become a human resources director is to have complete knowledge of the labor relations policies. 

Employee relation policies are such policies that work for the betterment of employees and their connection with each other and with the human resource management team. They are meant to bring out positivity in the work environment. A good work environment has an association with productivity, thus a human resources director must have sound knowledge of how and what employee relation policies benefit the organization in the best possible way.

Steps to Become an HR Director

Henceforth, to become a human resource director, you should get into the vast employee relations world and learn to develop such strategic policies that bring out good relations between the individuals and even the teams working in the organization’s environment with the human resource management workforce.

Step 4: Learn to Plan, Lead, and Manage the HR Recruitment Processes

As an HR director is the head of the HR department, they must look after the most basic and mandatory HR process which is talent acquisition. Thus, you must acquire a complete understanding of how a recruitment drive operates. Not just the operation and implementation of a recruitment drive, you should also learn the method to plan a successful recruitment campaign. 

Furthermore, a professional HR director manages and leads the junior human resources workers by providing them with the right talent acquisition strategies, thus you must develop the capability to plan, lead as well as manage a recruitment drive

Step 5: Learn to Make Employees Follow the HR Policies

An HR director drafts the human resources policies, no doubt, they are also responsible for ensuring that the employees are well familiar with the policies and their outcomes based on the long-term and short-term business goals.

Making employees follow the policies demands exquisite leadership and influential skills. Know that as you will be ideal for many of your coworkers, thus it is crucial that you also follow the policies you expect others to follow. This influences the junior workers, like an HR assistant, and makes them follow in your footsteps.

Henceforth, you must develop a sound idea of how to gather the employees under one page, how to communicate departmental changes to them, and how to ensure that they follow the human resources policies.

Step 6: Learn to Collaborate with the Other Department’s Managers

An HR director’s role is homogenous and challenging. They have to communicate with other’s department’s staff and managers to deliver employee training programs. So, each department becomes responsible for training their employees based on the proposed training method. You must have good communication and collaboration skills to connect with other managers.

HR director skills you must have

In addition to that, you should also learn how to ensure the employee’s compliance with the organizational policies. A good understanding and knowledge of employee feedback towards the policies, their team leads, and managers are also mandatory. Thus, you must learn about intradepartmental and interdepartmental activities to bring out more productivity in the business.

Step 7: Learn to Analyze and Contribute Insights to the Development of Organizational Policies

If you’re looking to become an HR director, good analytical skills are required. Analysis skills aid you in analyzing the existing policies and contributing the insights you obtain from those policies based on your experience and skills to improve organizational development.

Hence, good analytical skills allow you to contribute genuine insights to the development of organizational policies for business productivity and employee growth. 

For example, if you analyze the federal and state laws on labor relations, you get to see technical aspects of how these policies and laws contribute to the improvement of a business as well as how these policies benefit on a state level. Analyzing other HR policies and labor statistics will improve your analysis skills, and will train your mindset to improve the existing policies into work rules with even better results.

Step 8: Master the Fundamentals of HR Directorship

Here are some of the fundamentals of HR directorship you must master to carry out this senior role:

  • Facilitate the HR managers. Know that human resources managers report to human resources directors, thus you must acquire knowledge on how to facilitate a human resources manager and provide them space to carry out their tasks with good efficiency. 
  • Establish HR goals. If you’re looking to become an HR director, then you must know that it is the responsibility of the HR director to develop and establish the HR department’s goals. HR objectives are developed keeping in view the organization’s goals, and hence the talent is recruited based on the deficiencies that lag an HR department to fulfill the objectives and goals for the betterment of the business. Thus, familiarity with the establishment of short-term and long-term objectives is crucial. 
  • Implement HR strategies. You must know the procedure to implement the strategies both for talent acquisition and compensation and employee benefits. Thus, good implementation skills are also mandatory for you to secure this role. 

There are some other mandatory fundamentals relevant to an HR director’s role, but those pointed out here are the most crucial ones, thus make sure you master these.

Step 9: Learn to Cultivate the Culture in All Departments Within the Organization

Apart from mastering the technical skills to secure an HR director’s role, you should also develop a sound understanding of how to maintain the organization’s culture in the organization’s environment.

HR Director vs. HR Manager

Know that for an organization’s success, one of the secret tactics is to carry and maintain its culture and rituals. Influence the employees through your traits by embedding the culture in your veins as well as by depicting good leadership skills so that your coworkers follow in your footsteps.

Step 10: Practice the Acquired Skills for the HR Director’s Role and Gain Experience

After you believe that you’ve mastered the fundamental skills for an HR director’s role, the next step is to practice them. Just knowing and understanding the technical duties is not enough, but the practice is also mandatory to test how to implement the gathered knowledge. 

It is a fact that you learn more when you practice, as you witness the real-time challenges of the role in practical life. This way, you get to experience such times that you even knew existed.

Work as a freelance HR director and by winning projects. In addition to that, working as an HR intern allows you to practical experience the challenges of the role. 

Furthermore, opt for volunteer projects, and work on them to build your portfolio. For example, you can research a case study and then develop strategies that improve the outcomes. Later, you may include this experience in your portfolio so that you can showcase the skills to potential recruiters when you apply for an HR director’s role.

Step 11: Apply to a Suitable HR Director’s Role

The final step is to look for a suitable role based on the experience and skills you have gained. After you develop your portfolio, fulfill the mandatory qualification criteria by obtaining a bachelor’s degree in HR, and master the crucial skills, like interpersonal skills, initiate your hunt for the dream HR director’s role. 

Read the job descriptions, and then mold your HR director’s cover letter and resume based on each organization’s priorities. Prepare yourself well for the interview and work on the tactics to rocking an HR director’s interview to increase your chances of securing the seat. 

Above we have provided a step-by-step method to follow to become an HR director. Know that the most essential requirement is to have the mandatory HR director skills, thus working on the development of skills by practicing them. This will allow you to build a portfolio to showcase the work and experience to the potential recruiters for an HR director’s job.

Key Takeaways

Above we have provided a detailed guide with a step-by-step procedure to become an HR director. Take inspiration from these steps here on your journey to secure an HR director’s seat in your dream organization:

  1. Get qualified and become a certified HR professional
  2. Learn to develop and enforce the company’s HR goals and strategies
  3. Familiarize yourself with employee relations policies
  4. Learn to plan, lead, and manage the HR recruitment processes
  5. Learn to make employees follow the HR policies
  6. Learn to collaborate with the other department managers
  7. Learn to analyze and contribute insights to the development of organizational policies
  8. Master the fundamentals of HR directorship
  9. Learn to cultivate the culture in all departments within an organization
  10. Practice the acquired skills for an HR director’s role and gain experience
  11. Apply to the suitable HR director role 

Remember that you must fulfill the least qualifications criteria to become an HR director. Obtain a bachelor’s degree in HR or a relevant department. A sound understanding of basic HR skills and directorship is mandatory. Develop an appealing portfolio to showcase your skills to potential recruiters.

Continue upskilling your knowledge and mastering digital skills like familiarizing yourself with HR software to increase your chances of winning an HR director’s job. 


Here are questions and answers related to becoming an HR director:

What do HR directors do?

An HR director is responsible for developing and implementing HR policies, strategies, and activities of the company. Plus, they manage the HR staff, supervise employee-related initiatives, including recruitment and onboarding, handling performance and promotion, and conduct exit interviews.

Is the HR director’s post senior to the HR manager’s post?

Yes. Human resource directors are the head of the department, and HR managers have to report to the HR directors regarding their job responsibilities. HR directors plan, lead, and enforce the recruitment, talent management, and labor relations policies.

On the other hand, HR managers are responsible for looking after the day-to-day functions and operations of an HR department. An HR manager is responsible for the execution of tasks, supervision of coworkers, and reporting the activities and challenges to the HR director. Thus, the HR directors stand as the head of the HR department, to whom HR managers have to report. 

Is an MBA necessary to become an HR director?

No. A master’s degree in business administration or even a master’s degree in human resources is not a fundamental requirement as long as you have mastered the crucial skills along with an exceptional portfolio. 

This requirement is beneficial for candidates with lesser experience and no certifications, but overall, holding a master’s in business administration (MBA) is not a requirement to secure an HR director’s seat. 

What do you need to become an HR director?

To become an HR director, it is a must to complete a relevant degree. Also, a candidate must require a few years of work experience in the HR department, in a leadership role in particular. Getting a few HR-specific certifications is also preferable.


If you are new to Human Resources and are looking to break into an HR director position, we recommend taking our HR Certification Courses, where you will learn how to build your skillset in human resources, build your human resources network, craft an excellent HR director resume, and create a successful job search strategy that lands you a sought-after human resources director job.

Josh Fechter
Josh Fechter is the founder of HR.University. He's a certified HR professional and has managed global teams across 5 different continents including their benefits and payroll. You can connect with him on LinkedIn here.