Every company’s human resources department has several HR team members, such as HR analysts or HR coordinators, working together to make sure all people-related issues are being taken care of. When an HR department is established enough, they tend to hire a human resources intern.
At times, HR internships are meant to offer experience while the HR department utilizes their skills to follow up with redundant tasks. In other cases, human resources internships are used as a test run for new HR employees.
In any case, in this article, we’ll take a closer look at what a human resources intern does at an organization.
What Does a Human Resources Intern Do? Typical Roles in Organizations
Most of the other HR roles, such as an HR generalist or HR manager, have well-defined roles. For example, the HR manager job description, more or less, remains the same. However, that’s not the case with HR interns since each organization has a different prerogative for human resources intern jobs.
In the United States, human resources interns are typically assigned the role of an entry-level HR person. The internship program serves as a means of training a prospective employee according to the organization’s values and standards.
However, that can vary from company to company, especially when it comes to different industries and the size of the company. Smaller companies tend to opt for summer internships or undergraduate internships to get help with redundant HR tasks. Established companies develop full-fledged development programs for their HR interns. Large companies have year-round intern programs with various goals and objectives.
Therefore, the typical role of a human resources intern varies according to the company. In any case, at the bare minimum, you can expect the same role as that of a human resources assistant, especially if you’re hired part-time. At most, you can expect a full-time human resources internship that matches the role of an HR generalist.
In any case, a human resources intern’s role always starts with daily HR tasks, such as updating employee absence records, initiating background checks, filing HR documents, reviewing HR policies, and helping recruiters, among other things.
At times, human resources interns may also require knowledge of related fields, such as an HRIS, that is used for effective human resources management.
A Human Resources Intern's Duties and Tasks
The responsibilities, duties, and tasks of a human resources intern can vary during the internship if the company requires it. Some companies list down the minimum duties and tasks that may be required from an HR intern. In contrast, others list down every possible responsibility so they can develop flexible internship programs.
In any case, the following duties and tasks are what the typical human resources intern has to manage:
- Screen potential employees’ resumes, go through their application forms and figure out the most suitable candidates for a vacancy. Avoid any biases in the processes, such as past experience, sexual orientation, and gender identity biases, among others, to ensure the company remains an equal opportunity employer.
- Assist the HR department and talent acquisition team in onboarding activities for new hires.
- Update company databases by entering new employee contact information, details, and more.
- Organize and set up interviews with any shortlisted candidates.
- Take over job postings and advertisements on job boards and social media platforms for various job titles and job types.
- Remove the job posts once the vacancy has been filled to avoid unnecessary job alerts.
- Help in organizing company events and corporate activities.
- Help the HR staff in gathering market salary information to design new compensation and benefits packages.
- Design, prepare, and send offer and rejection letters, emails, and messages to all candidates.
- Learn about the company’s HR policies, employee benefits, and other HR-related stuff to be able to respond to any internal staff inquiries.
- Work in co-op with human resources generalists and other HR staff if needed to complete annual HR duties.
- Provide administrative support to HR business partners and managers.
Most of the duties listed above are, more or less, what each human resources intern does during their internships.
If you're interested in learning more HR responsibilities, then check out our HR Certification Courses.
Skills and Abilities
Since human resources interns can have varying duties and responsibilities, the skills and abilities required can change too. However, the overall requirements for any HR intern can be summarized to a few basic things.
On average, the human resource department lists the following HR intern requirements.
- A bachelor’s degree in Human Resource Management, or currently enrolled in a degree for HRM or any related field.
- Work experience in an office environment; previous job or internship experience goes a long way, along with site work.
- Familiarity with HRIS (Human Resources Information System) software, ATS, and resume databases help.
- Basic knowledge of U.S. labor laws and compliance standards.
- Proficiency in Microsoft Office applications, including Excel, Word, and PowerPoint, at the very least.
- Excellent communication skills are needed to be able to work with various candidates, HR staff, and company personnel.
- Administrative and organizational skills are also needed as interns may be required to provide administrative support.
- Analytical and problem-solving skills for daily task completion.
- Strong attentional to detail is required.
- The intern should also have a good understanding of full-cycle recruiting.
While the skills, abilities, and requirements listed above are usually the bare minimum, other skills may be required in some companies. For example, organizations in different industries may require knowledge of industry-specific software and experience in a certain work environment.
How to Become a Human Resources Intern
Most SMEs in the US have internship programs that include open positions for an HR intern each year. Meanwhile, larger organizations have multiple openings for paid internships throughout the year.
You can become a human resources intern if you’re enrolled in your third or final year of your bachelor’s degree, or if you already have a degree in HRM or any related field. Usually, internships range between three to six months; however, it may vary in different industries and organizations.
Typically, the average human resources intern hourly pay is $14.78 in the US. The hourly amount varies between $10.71 and $21.67 depending on the organization, while some companies also offer bonuses.
After their internship, the usual career path for a human resources intern is towards an HR generalist or HR coordinator.
It’s best to familiarize yourself with some HR resume examples so you can be easily shortlisted. It will also help you establish yourself in the organization if the internship leads to a job.
You should also consider opting for certifications and courses, especially if you already have a degree. For example, working towards an SHRM certification (Society for Human Resource Management) during your internship would reinforce your HR career path and help you land a better position.
Becoming a Great HR Intern
It’s not as hard to become a human resources intern because it’s an entry-level position. However, if you want to intern at an established organization, you may have to prove yourself. To do that, it’s best to do some additional courses and certifications on the side.
Reading up on HR practices, case studies, labor laws, and compliance standards also improve your HR knowledge. Having all the extra knowledge would help you become a better human resources intern and solidify a permanent position at any organization.
If your internship leads to a job, it’s best to learn about the organization’s culture and practices and adjust accordingly to secure your role further.
If you are new to Human Resources and are looking to break into a 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 a great HR resume, and create a successful job search strategy.
Josh Fechter has worked in the HR benefits and payroll software industry for the last several years.