8 Traits of Successful HR Professionals

Traits of Successful HR Professionals

What separates a good HR professional from a great one? The best of the best tend to share the following characteristics. How does your team stack up?

You have to constantly audit your own staff based on standard assessments and performance data. Some qualities are easier to spot, and some may take time and surprise you. Here is a brief recap of what we look for when bringing on new talent to work with Premier.

When you look at the great HR professionals leading the staffing and recruiting industry – which often comes with larger candidate pools and longer lead times – they tend to share the following traits:
They share a fundamental knowledge base with your organization – There should always be a sense of implied, shared understanding for both the goals of the organization and best practices to achieve them. Sales cycles, prospecting, and generic ATS basics can come with a sharp learning curve that may catch you off guard if you’re new to the environment. Top HR professionals should see themselves as problem-solvers.

  1. They are comfortable talking with clients and candidates – This quality often starts back in the home in which they were raised, with their ambition, openness, and empathy. If they’re not used to making cold calls or are unprepared to follow up while keeping a friendly tone, this may show early on as a fundamental discomfort when asked to approach senior executives or candidates with whom they’ve never spoken.
  2. They can mediate and resolve conversational conflict – The best HR professionals are able to diffuse tension in the midst of a conflict. This often comes from a strong confidence in their understanding of available information at hand, and the ability to evaluate and identify problems without administering blame to any party. A good mediator is smart enough to confront anyone outright and challenge inaccurate statements with irrefutable evidence.
  3. They can be trusted to work without micromanagement – Trust is demonstrated as much when you’re in the office as when you’re home or on vacation. Top HR professionals have to maintain rigorous autonomy and desire for learning. This is in part because they often manage such complicated relationship in highly regulated industries. From a managerial perspective, you should seek professionals that come to your office for one of two reasons: for clarification, or to share good news. Otherwise, let them do their job. If you hired the right person, they’ll operate better without constant micromanagement. A heavier focus on the work at hand will encourage a respectful environment, which naturally stems into discretion and privacy, which is often necessary in HR positions.
  4. They are prepared to act better than you in ethical dilemmas – This seems so common sense, yet anyone with a decade or more of industry experience has stories of clients and/or candidates that have put them in precarious circumstances. Often, these cutthroat conversations and the pressure to success can trump ethical behavior. To ensure you are always putting your best foot forward when finding new talent, ask yourself ‘Would I Trust Them To Make Better Decisions Than Me?”
  5. They can make short- and long-term decisions – Every decision can be made quickly, though a distinguishing characteristic in top HR professionals is the speed in which they perform their actions. Maintaining records, hiring/firing, conflict resolution, education and mentoring are just a few of the many duties HR professionals are required to do on a daily basis. Chances are you’re not going to have enough time every day to complete every task. Instead of determining shortcuts, the right hire will take enough time to assess long-term impacts, even if it means sacrificing speed for accuracy.
  6. They are well-spoken and soft-spoken, in that order – You can tell a lot about an HR professional by the questions they ask. Higher-performing professionals in staffing and recruiting are bound by time, therefore they are constantly battling between an answer that is great versus one that is good enough. Look for candidates that ask questions that demonstrate that they can be trusted. Likewise, avoid anyone who asks banal questions.
  7. They don’t lean too far in any direction – Moderation on all fronts is critical, even vital to success in the workplace. As a manager, you see this cultivated in many forms – too much time on social media, too little follow up, or venturing to partiality with those they like rather than those who can contribute the most to the longevity of the organization. At face value, this is a simple norm to follow.
  8. They build great culture compared to following it – We’re highlighting this at the end because if may take years for you to recognize great talent on your team, and one day to lose them to a competitor. If you take care of your employees, they will inevitably become evangelists for your brand. Talented HR professionals will involve themselves and encourage others to perform well, without forgetting to enjoy the small successes.

One more note: Great HR professionals will have all of the traits above to some degree. While they may not be high-achieving in all areas, they are at least not lacking in any either. They rate above average in everything. That’s their foundation.

That’s who you want to hire – Premier Talent.

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