The human resource department plays a much larger role than most people realize, as it's an industry that folds into all others. Every organization needs an HR department to function optimally, just as it does a legal team - the difference being, most companies don't rely on an external firm to accomplish their HR needs.
As the U.S. economy goes, so too goes the HR sector. In the years following the Recession, the American economy has slowly but steadily progressed, opening up opportunities for employment across sectors, including HR. Now, hiring conditions are as good as they've been in recent years, which bodes well for candidates looking for opportunities in strong HR departments. While it's a candidates' market, employers can still capitalize on the talent that is available by taking the right steps.
To gain a better perspective on this trend, Beacon Hill Staffing's HR Division Director, Kate Harris, weighed in.
"As the U.S. economy goes, so too goes the HR sector."
The many facets of the HR team
The HR umbrella is a broad one - and each person within the department has more than one responsibility. When candidates look into a new position, the titles can vary. A specific position at one company may be something entirely different at another. However, one thing has remained constant: The need for organizations to bring in the best talent.
"I would say talent acquisition across the board [is what employers are looking for] - everyone's looking for good recruiters, people who have recruiting strategy and recruiting branding experience to help companies land great talent," Harris explained. "The other thing we see a lot of are HR business partner roles, where you're serving as an internal consultant for a specific business unit or group of business units and helping them leverage their talent."
This breadth of positions means there are more companies looking for talent than there are talented HR professionals available. Many candidates have received multiple offers and have their pick of where they'd like to go. Considering that new industries can emerge in a short time - like tech in Boston and San Francisco - positions in HR open faster than companies can fill them.
"It doesn't seem to be slowing any time soon," Harris said, regarding the growing number of HR job openings. "In Boston, given the volume of startup tech-driven and pharmaceutical-driven companies taking off right now, I anticipate the market will continue to be really hot."
It's all about the right fit
Though HR spans all sectors of the job market, candidates don't necessarily seek employment based on the industry as much they just want the right opportunity. If a position opens up that checks all the right boxes - regardless of the industry - Harris recommends her clients go for it. In addition, she tells them to not only consider the benefits package and pay, but where they could envision themselves staying for several years, where they might be able to grow and where they think they would be happy. If a company isn't the right fit, she explained, those benefits start to lose their luster.
"Ask good questions," Harris suggests, "so they have a really good understanding of what the expectations are from the client, where the manager sees their career going, and really making sure they have all the information."
On the other side, employers who strike out on their ideal candidate should keep an open mind and remain flexible. When there are more jobs than there is talent, it's important for organizations to have the ability to accept someone who doesn't necessarily fit their exact criteria. There are talented candidates available with, perhaps, a bit less experience than would be ideal - but that doesn't mean they won't work out. Again, on the employer side, fit is the ultimate goal. If a company can't find the HR professional it needs, it might be better off finding one who is almost there and developing that person as necessary.
This content brought to you by the Marketing Team at Beacon Hill Staffing Group.