Essential HR Specialist Skills 2022

Looking to get to know about HR specialist’s skills so you can excel in your career and become a better HR professional? We’ve got you covered with all those skills you need to become an expert HR specialist.

HR specialists are those human resources professionals who have specialization in an HR field and contribute meaningful insights to that human resources field with their experience. Most of the time, they oversee the administrative duties that range from recruiting to onboarding, planning environment healthy strategies to implementing them, and much more.

This article covers a detailed guide on some crucial HR specialist competencies and skills that you can look up to increase your knowledge and master them to excel at your career.

Let’s start.

1. Management Skills

HR specialists must exhibit good human resources management skills as they are often stacked with piles of tasks they have to accomplish over a certain period. Human resource management skills are also crucial to ensure productivity in the HR workspace and the growth of the human resource department. Here are provided insights into what HR management skills exactly a human resources specialist must exhibit for efficient work outcomes:

  • Project Management

As human resources specialists are often busy with various tasks like managing job applicants, managing HR employees, and ensuring on-time completion of tasks, the human resources specialists must depict good project management skills.

Steps to become an HR Specialist

Project management is mandatory to ensure all HR projects are being managed timely by a specialist. Project management is defined as the implementation of a certain process through a specialist’s skills so one can manage to acquire the objectives as perceived. Thus, human resources specialists must depict good project management skills to serve up to their best.

  • Time Management

It is crucial to complete the assigned tasks, however timely completion of those tasks is more important. HR specialists often deal with multiple projects at a time. Also, a human resource department is a backbone of an organization, all projects, processes, and campaigns must be timely carried out. Hence, each member of a human resource department has to make sure they fulfill the tasks before the deadlines. The same is the case with human resources specialists, they must also ensure they have good time management and priority skills so they know what projects to complete first, and which one’s can be delayed based on the objectives and final goals.

2. Technical Skills

As an HR specialist’s role is technical, they must exhibit technical HR skills relevant to the job. The technical HR skills include performance management, employee relations, HR strategies, and much more. Let’s have an insight into what technical skills an HR specialist must exhibit:

  • Technical Aptitude

Technical aptitude means familiarity with the technical processes and having a sound grip on each of those HR disciplines. Although it is not mentioned in the job descriptions, technical aptitude is one of the most basic and mandatory requirements for a candidate to secure the job. An HR specialist must have complete knowledge of how all human resources functions take place, and how their specialization can benefit that HR process. Having good technical aptitude makes a person more tech-savvy, hence they can think with more of a technical strategical mindset.

  • Performance Management

One of the most basic duties for human resources specialists is to have complete knowledge of performance management. Performance management is defined as the ability to analyze the performance of certain teams from a department and drive spectacular results along with strategies to manage the performance of those teams according to the human resource requirements and business goals.

  • Employee Relations

Another mandatory technical skill for an HR specialist is to have complete knowledge of employee relations. After all, enhancing labor relations is the most basic human resources goal. An HR specialist must specialize in the tactics of how to enhance the organization’s employee relations and build better workspaces. Better and healthier workspaces lead to enhanced productivity, thus the complete knowledge of employee relations is mandatory not just for HR specialists but for all HR employees.

Moreover, an HR specialist must also know the technical art of developing strategies that turn out in the business’s favor. No matter what human resources field they specialize in, HR specialists must have the audacity to develop revolutionary strategies that benefit the human resource department and business in the long run and also comply with employment laws.

If you’re looking to master these skills, and many other skills like employee discrimination, employment status, dealing with job fairs, workplace ethics, and much more, then don’t forget to check out our top-rated courses in our HR certification institute prepared by experienced HR professionals:

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3. Recruitment Skills

When you think of HR, recruitment is the most common duty you think of for HR workers. All HR workers are required to have complete knowledge of how a recruitment process takes place in an HR department. Hence, HR specialists must also have the knowledge regarding how to screen the job applications, how to interview the candidates, and how to onboard the new employees after they are selected. Have an insight into what HR recruitment skills and knowledge you must possess as a human resource specialist:

  • Screening

Screening the job application is no less than a challenging task. Job application screening must be done with keen eyes so you don’t miss out on any talented candidate that might be the best fit for your needs. Just as any HR worker must know how to technically screen and filter the job applications, an HR specialist must also have complete knowledge of the art of screening the job applications.

  • Interviewing

After the job applications are screened, filtered candidates are called out for interviews. HR specialists sometimes are responsible to attend the interviews and test the candidate’s skills based on their knowledge and technical expertise. This skill is crucial to ensure you properly scan the candidate and see if they exhibit the right information which will be beneficial for the organization or not. HR specialists have to specialize in this human resource task as well.

  • Onboarding

Last but not the least, HR specialists must have complete information on how their organizations recruit candidates and bring them on board. Sometimes, the human resources specialist is primarily responsible to onboard the employees, and managing their documents for record purposes. Hence, the sound knowledge of how employees are onboarded, what legal practices are adapted while in the onboarding process, and what other HR technical processes are associated with a candidate’s onboarding process. Hence, HR specialists must also work as specialists when it comes to onboarding the employees.

4. Digital Skills

An HR specialist must have sound knowledge of all digital tools that are used in an HR department. Moreover, they must also have a good grip on technical tools relevant to their specialization so they can bring even better results to the department. Have an insight into what digital tools an HR specialist must be familiar with to fulfill their duties efficiently:

  • HRIS

HRIS stands for human resources information system. All digital organizations have an HRIS tool specified to store their human resources information in a single system. An HR specialist must know how to operate these systems, and how to analyze the data through these digital systems so they can contribute to enhancing the efficiency of the department. Moreover, the information systems are also various in their categories.

Organizations, where a single person for an HR generalist and HR specialist seat is hired, demands the person to know and operate only one single information system. However, the organizations that hire specialists for a specialized HR field demand that the human resources specialists should have sound knowledge of information systems that are relevant to their field. Hence, master this digital tool based on the objectives and requirements of your organization.

  • HR Payrolling System

All HR specialists are expected to have sound knowledge of how a payrolling digital system works. Payrolling systems are the digital systems, tools, and software that carries the financial employee records relevant to the salaries of the employees of the organization. As the HR department works when all employees effectively collaborate, they all must have sound or even brief ideas of how these payrolling and other digital systems work so they can perform in the best possible way keeping in view the required practices. The same is the case with HR specialists, if they are payrolling specialists, the knowledge of payrolling systems is mandatory. If they have specialized in some other field, the knowledge is still mandatory so they can effectively collaborate with the human resources payrolling specialists when needed and perform by knowing how these systems work.

  • Applicant Tracking Systems

The applicant tracking system is a system that tracks the progress of employees, tracks the received applications, and the progress of a recruitment drive. All HR specialists must have sound knowledge of how these tracking systems work, and how to analyze data from these tracking systems for their personal use.

HR specialists must also have the complete knowledge of Microsoft office suits such as Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and other applications. Sound knowledge of human resources content management systems is also mandatory for HR specialists.

5. Customer Service Skills

HR specialists must have good customer skills. Having good customer skills doesn’t mean you’ll have to handle the business customers. But instead, good customer skills include conflict resolution and ensuring a healthy and satisfactory work environment.

An HR specialist often has to work on the resolution of conflict and distortion between employees. Good customer skills allow an HR specialist to not just resolve the conflict between the employees, but also extract a business’s profit at the same time. After all, we don’t sell for free, customers have to pay to get what they want. The same is the case with HR specialists. For example, if employees do not agree with what they are getting paid, HR specialists have to work in such a way that employee becomes satisfied and the organization also doesn’t lose its budget limits. Similarly, there are other cases when good customer service skills become mandatory. Hence, all the HR specialists must exhibit good customer service and handling skills no matter what field they specialize in, they’ll often tackle employee issues that demand such skills.

HR Specialist Responsibilities

In general, HR specialists must have a bachelor’s degree in human resources or business administration, however, they must exhibit a good understanding of customer services like employee benefits packages, labor legislation, and their compliance with state and federal laws.

6. Communication Skills

Communication skills are the most crucial skills all HR employees must exhibit since they have to communicate a lot with different HR teams to perform productively and efficiently. Hence, it is mandatory for human resource specialists too to depict excellent communication skills. Good communications skills lead to effective discussions with HR teammates and thus better targeting of departmental and business goals. Have a look at what sort of communication competencies an HR specialist must exhibit to carry out their tasks:

  • Verbal Communication

Verbal communication means interacting and discussing with employees living in their workspaces. The business meeting is a form of verbal communication.  As all HR specialist positions are collaborative, they often have to communicate with HR managers, hiring managers and directors, and sometimes the business partners, and customers too to collect information and data. Thus, HR specialists must have excellent verbal communication skills so they can drive effective discussions for business and generate more leads not just for the HR department but also for the business objectives.

  • Written Communication

Written communications mean interacting and discussing with HR and any other employees throughout the organization using digital means such as email, messages, letters, and other written forms of communications. As HR specialists often collaborate and work along with other employees, they must know the art of effective communication so they can efficiently convey their meaning, and perceive the others too. Hence, written communication skills are mandatory for you to exhibit as an HR specialist.

Above we have provided the list of skills an HR specialist must exhibit to perform effectively and productively. However, to comply with industry standards, you must work to keep upskilling your knowledge and skills to stay up-to-date.



If you are new to Human Resources and are looking to break into an HR role, 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 resume, and create a successful job search strategy.


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.