HR administrator skills: examples and ways to improve them

Updated 13 April 2023

Human resources (HR) administrators work closely with staff members to address concerns and resolve issues within the workplace. HR administrators use their honed skills to try to create a positive work environment where the members of an organisation feel safe and comfortable. Reviewing the skills that HR administrators use may help you decide if this position is the right choice for you. In this article, we discuss HR administrator skills, show you how to improve them and explain how you can demonstrate these abilities at work and during recruitment processes.

What are HR administrator skills?

HR administrator skills are professional competencies that HR administrators use to oversee the day-to-day operations of an HR team or department. These skills help with training staff, developing HR policies, maintaining employee records and making sure an organisation's HR processes follow industry standards and legal regulations. Administrators with strong skill sets may find it easier to organise documentation, manage large HR databases and assist higher-level executives during HR meetings.

Related: HR administrator: job description, duties, salary and tips

Examples of an HR administrator's skills

If you aspire to work as an HR administrator, it can be helpful to assess your existing skills and identify areas requiring improvement. Here are some useful skills in this profession on which you may focus:

Administrative skills

Administrative skills help HR administrators to manage the day-to-day work of HR departments. They include organisational, project management or time management skills. Thanks to these competencies, administrators make sure that the team has enough resources to reach its goals and help the organisation by hiring and training effective employees. Administrative skills are beneficial in an HR-based role because this department typically handles many files and databases.

Related: Administrative skills: definition and examples

A strong understanding of HR procedures and standards

HR administrators may help resolve problems or develop innovative processes to improve the department's productivity. To perform these tasks effectively, it's beneficial for administrators to have a strong understanding of HR procedures and standards. For example, they may be familiar with employment laws or various onboarding and termination procedures that the HR department adheres to when changing an employee's status.

Related: 10 key HR policies and procedures including examples

Interpersonal and communication skills

Working in HR requires strong interpersonal and communication skills, as you're regularly exposed to collaborative situations and projects. In addition to working with other HR specialists, HR administrators often work closely with executives. Their responsibilities can also involve helping to resolve HR disputes with other members of an organisation. Thanks to their interpersonal skills, administrators strive to treat people with respect and effectively represent the organisation, both internally and externally.

Related: 11 ways to improve your HR communication strategies

Tact and diplomacy

As an HR administrator, you may encounter challenging situations, such as participating in a termination meeting. Tact and diplomacy are competencies that help you maintain the highest level of professionalism in these situations. In addition, diplomacy is often helpful when you're helping to develop a compromise or agreement between an employer and their employees.

Related: Diplomatic skills in the workplace: definition and examples

A high level of confidentiality

HR departments process large quantities of confidential information daily. This includes employment contracts or employees' personal information. HR administrators use discretion and confidentiality-based processes to protect all members of an organisation. In addition, having knowledge of data protection software and other security solutions can be useful, as HR teams may use these to manage documentation and information.

Related: What is the importance of confidentiality? (With examples)

Computer skills

HR is a field that uses different types of software. This includes tools that help with online recruiting, document storage, benefits selection and even conducting basic background checks. Technological advancements support most of the components of HR, which is why HR administrators typically find it beneficial to strengthen these competencies. If you're applying for a job in this role, you can demonstrate your IT skills by researching what software the organisation uses and familiarising yourself with the related functions.

A willingness to learn

HR is a continuously changing field that requires you to stay up to date with changes in employment law and labour regulations. If you enjoy the learning process and see it as a growth opportunity, this can help you succeed in this profession. In addition, being willing to learn may help you undergo on-the-job training and engage in self-learning in your spare time.

Related: How to effectively emphasise being a quick learner at work

How to improve your skills as an HR administrator

There are different ways to improve your skills, including asking your employer to create additional training opportunities for you and others within your HR team. Here are other examples of how you could improve your HR administration skills:

1. Invest in self-learning

When you invest in self-learning, you demonstrate dedication, ambition and professionalism. You can find different forms of learning in which you may engage outside of the workplace, depending on the resources available to you. For example, you could read self-improvement books, subscribe to HR magazines or complete professional courses in-person or online.

2. Gain further education

If you aspire to work as an HR administrator, you can gain more qualifications by returning to school. For example, you may consider completing a postgraduate course to enhance your CV and expertise, such as HR management or business administration. It's also possible to find schools that offer vocational qualifications for specific roles.

Related: Second bachelor's vs master's: Which is better for you?

3. Build your network

Networking with other HR and administration specialists can expose you to new opportunities and positively impact your viewpoint on your career. Building a strong network often involves participating in industry conferences, organising HR events or sharing your knowledge through free workshops for aspiring HR specialists. In addition, it's generally useful to build a strong personal brand online. You can do this, for example, by running a blog or networking with others on professional networking platforms.

Related: 9 useful networking connections and how to make them

HR administration skills in the workplace

Effectively using your skills in the workplace is another sign of professionalism. Here are some tips for demonstrating these skills at work:

  • Ask for more advanced responsibilities. Whenever you adjust to your new responsibilities, consider asking your supervisor for more complex tasks. This shows that you care about promoting your professional growth.

  • Find a mentor. Becoming a mentee may teach you how to effectively talk to executives or communicate innovative ideas to a team. When selecting a mentor, consider both senior members of the organisation and external industry experts.

  • Offer to train others. Training other members of a team gives you the chance to develop stronger leadership, management and teaching skills. In the future, you could use these abilities to boost your career, such as by becoming a director of HR.

  • Provide and ask for feedback. Feedback is a valuable tool that helps you create growth plans and advance your career. Whenever you find yourself in a situation that requires collaboration, try to either provide or ask for feedback.

How to highlight HR administration skills

If you plan to apply for a job as an HR administrator, there are several ways to demonstrate your HR administration skills during recruitment. Here are some examples:

HR administration skills for a CV

When writing a CV, create a separate section to list your role-specific skills. Mention both soft and hard competencies that HR administrators use daily, such as a knowledge of recruitment software or an understanding of employment law. You may also showcase your skills in the work experience section. While creating bullet points, make sure to describe your responsibilities while mentioning which skills helped you perform them. For instance, you could discuss how you helped a former employer implement a new process and used your organisation, persuasion and innovative thinking skills.

Related: How to write an HR CV (tips, templates and what to include)

HR administration skills for a cover letter

A cover letter is an extension of your CV. To use it to demonstrate your skills, focus on describing specific accomplishments or success stories from previous employment. This way, a hiring manager can see how you use your skills in practice and what positive effects your actions might bring to the organisation.

HR administration skills for a job interview

When in a job interview, a recruiter often asks situational or behavioural questions. Use your answers to these types of questions to highlight your competencies by discussing specific challenges or situations you encountered. This is similar to what you might state in a cover letter. When answering, consider the job description to ensure that your answers show how you meet the role's requirements.

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