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What to look for in the perfect HR Candidate

Kate Allen, Managing Director, Allen Associates

If people make a business, business people need support. They have to be cared for in a way that promotes productivity and allows them to flourish as individuals.

That’s why within every successful business you will find a thriving HR department; one that supercharges the recruitment process, helps Employees to reach their full potential and ensures all staff are treated fairly. Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg.

For those who have witnessed the wonder of an HR expert at work, you’ll know that no two days are the same: from putting out fires, to consulting on strategic planning and acting as an internal counsellor, the role of an HR professional evolves, depending on the needs of the business.

Naturally, finding an HR hero to act as a link between teams and their managers is easier said than done - but a great place to start is knowing what to look for. After all, not everyone is cut out for this challenging career. Those who are, however, should boast the following skills:

Effective communication

The primary function of all HR professionals is to bridge the gap between Employers and their Employees; it demands the ability to accurately relay information and prevent misunderstandings. The perfect Candidate should, therefore, have impeccable oral and written communication skills - no questions asked. On top of this, however, they should further demonstrate their ability to negotiate effectively, as this will play a pivotal role in the recruitment process.

Knowledge and expertise

The best HR managers and executives immerse themselves completely in the company, familiarising themselves with the industry and the challenges that come with it. In doing so, they become the go-to for both leaders and Employees seeking a helping hand in navigating new or uncertain territories. Alert to market trends and well-versed in Employment law, attractive HR Candidates know their stuff, and will actively contribute to hiring decisions by offering insights often overlooked by other members of management staff.

High emotional intelligence

It goes without saying that an ideal HR Candidate is a people person, but emotional intelligence may not have even crossed your mind. In fact, the term refers to an individual’s ability to recognise and understand emotions and their impact on behaviour and attitude - a desirable attribute for an HR professional to say the least. In an economy characterised by a nation-wide skills shortage and a shrinking talent pool, business leaders must build HR departments with professionals who can recognise a lack of Employee engagement, or an issue with the culture, before it starts to impact on retention rates.

Strong conflict management skills

Conflicts in the workplace are a fact of business life: they aren’t comfortable, but if dealt with quickly and effectively, the damage can be minimised significantly. When screening prospective Employees for a role in human resources, it’s essential to focus at least some of your questions on conflict resolution, asking for specific examples of disputes that your Candidate has dealt with to demonstrate their abilities in critical thinking, mediation and negotiation.

That way, you can determine which hopeful applicants have what it takes to handle the ever-changing challenges of an HR professional.

Over the last 20 years, we have grown as a business to become one of the leading independent recruitment agencies in Oxfordshire, and in 2018 have opened our first London office, to service Clients in the capital. 

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