Considering a career in HR? Here’s what you need to know.

A career in HR can be incredibly rewarding, and there are many routes to employment within the profession – from school leavers to career changes further down the line.

What is the highest HR position?

For the more ambitious or career-minded HR candidate, the job to aim for would be HR Director – the most senior of HR leadership roles.

The traditional pathway in terms of job roles is generally HR Administrator > HR Advisor > HR Manager > HR Director.

HR directors are ultimately responsible for all HR activity within a business. This may include working across various sites to ensure that all company strategies, policies and procedures are being implemented correctly and effectively, and ensuring that the company is legally compliant with all HR related legislation.

The position of HR director comes with huge responsibility and authority within the business, as directors will ultimately answer directly to the CEO of the business on all HR related matters.

HR directors tend to be highly skilled and very experienced, usually with a number of years in the profession under their belt and then some experience of leadership. They will likely have a degree or a professional (eg. CIPD) qualification; or perhaps even both.

Is HR a safe career?

Generally speaking, careers in HR have good job security and so could be considered “safe” career choices. HR is an essential function within a business and although in tough times the team could, in theory, be downsized; where there are employees there will be a need for HR.

What is interim HR?

Some businesses (usually SMEs) opt to outsource their HR requirements, as they may find this to be a more cost-effective solution than having a dedicated person or team in-house.

Larger businesses will have an in-house team, but they may use interim consultants from time to time.

Interim HR consultants could be used for a variety of reasons –

  • To cover a period of maternity leave or sickness
  • To increase manpower within the team during a busy period
  • To cover a role on a temporary basis whilst a permanent member of the team is being recruited for
  • To manage a project (ie. a change project, cost-reduction programme or system implementation)
  • When specialist HR support is required, and the in-house team is made up of generalists

Unlike onboarding a permanent member of the team, an experienced interim consultant will be expected to hit the ground running and quickly focus on the task at hand.

Usually, interim HR consultants work on a day rate, and sometimes the duration of the assignment can be quite fluid in terms of no clearly defined end date.

Interim consulting can be an incredibly rewarding career as there is so much variety and exposure to different businesses and situations.

There’s a misconception that to be an interim consultant you need to be quite senior with many years’ experience under your belt, however this is simply untrue. At Hunter Adams we are regularly deploying consultants at all levels – it just depends on the assignment.

What is contract HR?

Similar to interim HR consultants, for slightly longer term assignments fixed term contracts may be used.

FTCs usually have a clearly defined end date and these positions are paid a pro-rata salary.

They are used for the same reasons as above, ie. to fill a gap or to manage a project.