Employment Specialists are responsible for performing recruitment of workers and placing them within their organization. In some large organizations, the recruitment and placement functions are handled separately, each by a sub-specialist (i.e., Recruiters and Placement Specialists) performing one function exclusively. Otherwise, the employment specialist is responsible for both. Employment specialists typically work in an organization's personnel department, often under the supervision of an Employment Manager and/or a Human Resource Manager. They are sometimes members of a Human Resource staff which often consists of other specialists such as Compensation and Benefits Specialists, Training and Development Specialists, Labor Relations Specialists, and EEO (Equal Employment Opportunity) Specialists.
Employment specialists fulfill the recruitment, hiring, and placement functions for employees within an organization. Like many other human resource workers, employment specialists serve in the liaison role bridging the organization's management and its employee workforce. In carrying out the recruiting function, specialists maintain close contact with the local community and with related segments of the industry. They make several trips, often to college campuses and job fairs, to seek out prospective employees. When recruiting, specialists interview job candidates, screen them, check references, and often extend job offers. They also discuss issues related to wages, working conditions, and promotional opportunities with prospective employees. In order to do these things properly, specialists must thoroughly understand their organization's goals and human resources policies. They also must be familiar with the latest equal employment opportunity (EEO) and affirmative action laws and guidelines.
Employment specialists are also responsible for placing individuals in the optimal employment setting and for assisting them on a regular basis. To do this properly, specialists need to consider both the needs of the organization and the individual interests of the employee so that a win-win is created in ensuring that the employee is placed in the most mutually beneficial job position. In many cases, the specialist will regularly follow up by providing employee support in a variety of ways. Some of these include assessment, job development, training, and technical assistance.
There are a number of additional duties that may fall within the scope of employment specialists in certain organizations. These include the following:
- Advising managers
- Conducting background checks and drug testing
- Analyzing and reporting turnover and retention statistics
- Developing training opportunities
- Maintaining partnerships with community agencies and other employers
- Keeping appropriate records
- Following applicable regulations and guidelines
- Providing input into employee Individual Program Plans (IPPs)
- Overseeing and directing the activities of other staff employees
- Processing employee documents such as performance ratings, time sheets, etc.
- Remaining abreast of new trends by attending workshops, seminars, and conferences as needed
Employment specialists spend much of their time in an office setting, working a standard 40-hour work week. However, there can also be significant time spent traveling to colleges, universities, job fairs, or other settings to recruit potential employees. Travel may also be required to attend seminars and conferences. During these periods, work hours can be more sporadic and evening or weekend work is sometimes required.
In order to be a good employment specialist, an individual must possess good "people skills" and be able to work effectively with individuals at all levels. Specialists need to be good communicators, both verbally and in writing. They must be both persuasive and fair-minded, with an ability to reconcile conflicting ideas and points of view and sometimes work under high pressure. In order to deal with an increasingly diverse work force, specialists must be comfortable working with people from a broad range of cultural backgrounds. They must also be able to work as a member of a team and to work effectively with community agencies and with other employers.
The U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics (USDL BLS) anticipates employment in this field to grow faster than the average for all occupations through the next several years. An increasing industry emphasis on attracting and retaining quality employees will result in a high demand for employment specialists. In addition, recent legislation setting standards for equal opportunity, affirmative action, and related employment initiatives will add to the demand. Job growth will be somewhat tempered by recent technological advances leading to greater efficiencies in the workplace. Demand for specialists can also be slowed somewhat by economic downturns which result in corporate downsizing and/or restructuring.
Education, Certification, and Licensing
Educational requirements for employment specialists vary greatly. For entry-level positions, employers usually prefer candidates with bachelor's degrees in personnel administration, human resources, or industrial and labor relations. In some organizations, employers prefer candidates with degrees in technical or business fields, whereas in others the preference is for candidates with a well-rounded liberal arts education. Those who seek advancement to top management positions should plan on obtaining a master's degree, preferably in human resources, business administration, or labor relations. Additional knowledge and skills which can be helpful in this profession, especially in certain work settings, include a demonstrated bilingual speaking ability and knowledge of computer systems.
It is always a good idea for specialists to seek certification as a means of establishing proficiency in the trade and of laying the groundwork for advancement within the profession. One example of an organization offering certifications in the human resource field is the HR Certification Institute, which offers three certifications for human resource professionals: the Professional in Human Resources (PHR), the Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR), and the Global Professional in Human Resources (GPHR) certifications. Another organization which awards certifications is the Society for Human Resource Management.
- HR Certification Institute
- Society for Human Resource Management
- The International Public Management Association for Human Resources
- APSE: The Network on Employment
- World at Work
Approximately 4 of every 5 employment specialists are employed in the private sector. Specialists can be found in virtually every industry segment. Those who work in the public sector are employed by government agencies at every level: local, state, and Federal. Other major employers include school systems, colleges, and universities.
Schools for Employment Specialists are listed in the Browse Schools Section.