I am currently interviewing with companies for HR Generalist roles. I would like to get some more insight as to what an HR generalist might do on a daily basis. I think this will help me identify STAR stories that will be more relevant with specific examples.
Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you.
Hi Ab, a day of a Generalist is very busy with a lot of twists and turns! Majority of days are filled with 'people' related tasks, HR investigations, job grading, compensation functions, etc.
The reality is that HR Generalists will do very different things based on the size of the company they work for. In larger companies, a Generalist will more than likely have a more strategic role where they support multiple business leaders with all things people wise (talent management, talent acquisition, compensation, terminations, org structuring, etc.
Smaller companies, Generalists may take a more hands on approach and be involved in doing all the recruiting, doing payroll, being the benefits champion, etc.
Its a busy but rewarding career and different from company to company.
I'd define "tactical HR" as those working in or with an operation or team who do day-to-day HR functions like recruiting, taking statements for employee relations cases, responding to and managing the process around Title VII/EEOC claims, helping employees navigate their benefits, helping managers make decisions about accountability and discipline, maintaining organizational charts, negotiating grievances with union members or other employees. That kind of stuff. Does that help?
You're definitely on the right path - thinking about the best stories to show relevant examples during your interview. How you choose your examples really depends on the company and what the job description may indicate their HR Generalists do every day.
For any interview, the job posting is your best guide as to what stories you should tell because it explains the priorities of the hiring manager. If you don't have a job posting to go off of, or you're networking or doing "informational interviews" for HR Generalist roles, consider identifying 4 to 5 stories from your experience that hit on each of the key areas HR touches. Perhaps these would include: personnel challenges/employee relations/labor relations, training & development, talent & succession planning, strategic business planning, and change management. If a company wants more specific HR functional expertise like in org design, compensation, or employee benefits, they should have provided that insight in a job posting.
In the stories you identify, be as specific as you can to show how your expertise and guidance helped your client or team navigate complex issues successfully. Also, don't forget to tie-in the "H" element of HR. The more you humanize and individualize a story, the more you'll build an emotional connection in your story and show a heart for serving others.
The civilian world of HR is a fluid environment of varying priorities, projects, and problem solving, so it's hard to say exactly what any HR Generalist does day-to-day. There is also some disparity in what titles and role functions mean from one company to another. One of the simpler explanations I've seen about what some companies call an HRBP and others call an HR Generalist came from this blog: http://blogs.managementconcepts.com/whats-name-human-resource-business-partners-v-human-resource-generalists/#.WuGtg4gbOUk - An excerpt follows:
"For shared understanding, let’s clarify the definition of HRBPs and HRGs for this blog. The Human Resource Business Partners (HRBPs) perform a strategic role by advising leadership on how human capital management can support larger goals and initiatives. In other words, HRBPs have a deep understanding of – and role in – determining how to achieve its mission. HRBPs also understand the fundamentals of other components of the organization, how they add value, and how they interact with HR. HRBPs view HR through a systems thinking lens.
Human Resource Generalists (HRGs) are primarily responsible for the traditional work of the HR department, like HR policy and administration, employee relations, recruitment and change management. The depth of those skills can vary depending on the size and needs of each agency, but generalists must be well-versed in all things HR and bring a breadth of knowledge and skills. Centers of Excellence provide a depth in one area of HR. For example, according to a SHRM survey, Training is the HR specialty most often delivered by a center of excellence."
I hope insight this helps!
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Thanks, Morgan! That is very helpful and matches my research. I'm looking forward to starting as an HR Generalist on Monday!
Thanks again, Scott!
Thank you for your response. It helps A LOT! The article you referenced helped me connect some of the dots.
Can you elaborate on the corporate definition of tactical HR?
Thanks again for your time!
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