What Does an HR Assistant Do?

Updated on May 24th, 2021
What Does an HR Assistant Do?

A human resources assistant (HR assistant) is a professional who aids the company’s HR manager with daily tasks such as recruitment, benefits administration, and payrolls. Additionally, an HR assistant ensures a company and its personnel operate smoothly.

The bigger the company or an organization, the more critical it is for the institution to have an HR assistant. Most commonly, an HR assistant will maintain the personnel records to ensure information is constantly up-to-date. In addition, the HR assistant has to have everything ready to go if the HR manager needs to start hiring or managing employees.

While the HR manager makes more significant decisions, the HR assistant is here to manage micro-tasks.

Human Resources Assistant Job Description

Whenever a company recruiter is onboarding an HR administrative assistant, they want to ensure the potential candidate has exceptional administrative task handling and communication skills. 

Even an entry-level candidate must possess excellent organizational skills and manage not just their own time but of the entire company. 

This is critical no matter if the company is hiring full-time or part-time. 

While companies won't expect an HR assistant to have deep knowledge of information systems, the candidate must be a fast learner and have solid problem-solving and general HR skills.

Furthermore, since the assistant acts as administrative support, they must be capable of multitasking and knowing how to resolve potential conflicts and staffing dissatisfaction. 

Requirements for HR Assistant Jobs

Since HR assistant is considered an entry-level job position, companies don't require too much experience from the candidates who apply to HR assistant job postings. Often, the institutions are ready to provide the essential HR training to help the candidate adjust to the new job position. 

Although requirements differ from company to company, there are still some key requirements every HR assistant should have.

  • Finished high school and Bachelor's degree in Human Resources.
  • Great administrative and people management skills.
  • Basic knowledge of payroll management.
  • Effective communication skills, both verbal and in writing.
  • Basic computer literacy such as Microsoft Office Suite.

Furthermore, every HR coordinator and HR department will look for a candidate who has strong, soft skills such as handling pressure, meeting deadlines, proactive decision making, and knowing when to follow instructions and when to provide them. 

HR assistant jobs are a great way to kickstart your career if you're fresh out of college or are looking to try out in the HR business. HR assistants tend to get promoted to HR specialists, depending on where the company sees the candidate shine.

Unlike assistants, HR specialists focus on more specific jobs and tend to jump less from one task to another.

Although the HR assistant position doesn't require any certifications, candidates should consider entering programs to help with promotions. HR assistants that have additional formal education are more likely to move up the ladder than others.

Some of the valuable certifications the HR assistant can have are:

  • Certified Professional - Human Resource (IPMA-CP)
  • Society for Human Resource Management Certified Professional (SHRM-CP)
  • Associate Professional in Human Resources (APHR)

HR Assistant Salary

Like other HR professionals, HR assistant salary tends to be higher in bigger cities such as New York or Chicago, Illinois. 

According to Glassdoor, the average HR assistant salary in New York City is $44,071 per year, with an additional $2,641 in bonuses and compensations. 

In Chicago, Illinois, the average salary is $41,525 per year, while the US’s average annual HR assistant salary is $40,233. 

Overall, the top industries for HR professionals per salary are: 

  • Professional, scientific, and technical services    
  • Government    
  • Manufacturing   
  • Employment services    
  • Healthcare and social assistance 

Main HR Assistant Duties

Same as the HR generalist, it's difficult to pinpoint specific duties an HR assistant does. Both need to handle any HR task, but unlike the HR generalist, the HR assistant will have less decision-making power and fewer responsibilities. You can imagine a human resources generalist to be a step up from an HR assistant. 

Depending on the company, an HR assistant may focus on one of the two majors aspects: administrative assistant and executive assistant. 

An administrative assistant usually helps with file management and general HR department jobs. For example, ensuring files are well organized, everybody knows about meetings, events, etc.

Nevertheless, most companies will usually ask HR assistants to do a little bit of everything. Therefore, some of the primary duties and how an HR assistant should handle them are.

New Hire Application Process & Orientation

The HR executive assistant helps the HR team throughout the whole hiring process. Although the HR assistant never makes the final decisions (unless instructed by the HR manager), they must know the ins and outs of every hiring process. with the entire new hire application process.

In some cases, the assistant will also act as the bridge between the manager and the candidates. Finally, after hiring, the assistant may introduce new employees to the company or organization.

They also ask as the go-to person if new employees have any questions or uncertainties. If the company hires several new candidates, HR assistants might overlook their progress and ensure they have everything a newcomer needs.

Termination Process

Same as the HR assistant helps with hiring; they also handle terminations. When terminating, it's usually the backward process of when the employee gets hired.

HR assistant must check that every data system gets updated, employees are updated, and that the terminated employee gets their monthly salary. Sometimes, HR assistants might do exit interviews to collect feedback on possible improvements to the overall company's ecosystem.

The terminating process is as important as the hiring process since it’s essential to end on a good note. Several bad terminations can compromise the entire HR ecosystem in a company.

Managing Payrolls & Records

Although the assistant will never execute payrolls, they need to make sure everything is correct before payouts go out. In case of a payroll error, the HR assistant must mend the mistake.

Meaning, the assistant will collect and check that billed hours are correct, employee benefits are accounted for, and sick time or possible vacations.

Additional data the HR assistant may collect is employee name, address, job title, and retirement or insurance plans they have.

Similar to acting as a bridge between a human resources specialist and hiring candidates, the assistant will also communicate between employees and the human resources manager.

Although the HR manager is the one who makes final decisions, without a proper assistant, it's impossible to make tailored decisions that benefit the company and its employees.

General Clerical Support

The HR assistant acts as general support for the overall human resources department. 

This means although the assistant may never interact with colleagues outside their HR manager's jurisdiction, it's also possible they will.

If another HR specialist needs help with department filing or any other miscellaneous tasks, they might ask the HR assistant for help. 

The volume depends on the size of the company. As a result, the HR assistant can get lost in multiple different tasks. When the job load exceeds individual capabilities, the company will post a job alert for an additional assistant.

Reasons to Get a Job as an HR Assistant 

If you're not sure if the position is for you, here are several reasons to consider getting the job. Although being an entry-level job (you can expect a lot of work), there are many benefits of starting a career as an HR assistant.

Being an entry-level job means you get on-the-job training. As long as you fulfill the basic requirements, especially communication skills, you can be sure you'll get the job and learn quickly.

Besides a full-time job, you can also work part-time or as an interim. This is a great way to test the waters and see if the world of human resources is for you.

It's also a great way to climb up the job title hierarchy. Depending on where your strong points lie, you can move up quickly to the specialist or generalist position.

Generalists tend to earn about $10,000 more annually than assistants.

Being an open-ended job, you can try multiple things before deciding what exactly you want to do. 

Some HR assistants specialize in becoming human resources coordinators, while others focus more on managing and overseeing daily tasks in a company. Finally, since you're likely to be in touch with your company's business partners, it's a great way to stay on the lookout for other job positions as well.

Depending on what you prefer doing, it's probable that you'll find your niche. The HR assistant does more than making coffee. Although you'll initially get small chunks of bigger projects, you're likely to get more significant responsibilities as you prove yourself. 

Additionally, you'll be responsible for ensuring other employees are happy and perform at their optimal capacity.

If you can see yourself hunting for great job candidates, doing interviews, and helping others, HR assistant might be the right job for you.

If you're not somebody who enjoys communicating with others, you can still help with the administration so that every single employee gets their well-deserved salary.