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How to Become a Staffing Specialist: Education and Career Roadmap

Research the requirements to become a staffing specialist. Learn about the job duties, and explore the step-by-step process to start a career in staffing. View article »

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Should I Become a Staffing Specialist?

Degree Level Bachelor's degree
Degree Fields Business, human resources management, or a related field
Experience 1+ years of experience in the field
Key Skills Strong relationship-building, social media, verbal, and written communication skills; ability to navigate online recruitment sites
Salary (2016)* $35,834 (median salary for staffing specialists)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, October 2012 online job listings, Payscale.com*

Staffing specialists focus on the hiring aspect of human resources. The job often requires them to produce a pool of potential job candidates by attending career fairs, reviewing online resumes and posting job ads. They then screen and interview potential employees. Staffing specialists may make hiring decisions on their own or consult with managers of other departments.

These human resources professionals can work for staffing agencies or within the human resources department of an organization. Many of these individuals work in office settings, but the job often comes with frequent travel requirements, particularly if the specialist is recruiting new talent. The duties of the job require that staffing specialists have strong skills in verbal and written communication, social media, networking and relationship-building, as well as the ability to navigate through online recruitment sites.

So, how much do these professionals earn? According to Payscale.com, staffing specialists earned a median salary of $35,834 as of January 2016. Now let's explore the requirements for entry into this career by walking through the steps toward employment as a staffing specialist.

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, most human resources specialists must hold at least a bachelor's degree. Commonly, these professionals complete bachelor's degree programs in human resources, human resources management, or labor relations. Such programs often include courses on labor relations law, employee benefits, personnel planning and staffing. Students can also learn about compensation, unions and organizational management. As an alternative, students might choose to pursue a major in business administration and take elective courses in human resources.

During college, you might complete an internship to gain experience. An internship with a human resources department can provide you with job skills and networking contacts, and it may improve your job prospects after graduation, as employers look favorably on candidates with experience. In fact, the Society for Human Resource Management strongly encourages students to pursue an internship while in school or immediately upon graduation.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Human Resources Development
  • Labor and Industrial Relations
  • Labor Studies
  • Organizational Behavior

Step 2: Gain Experience

Although a position as a staffing specialist is usually an entry-level job, employers still prefer that candidates have experience. In addition to completing internships, candidates can gain experience through entry-level employment, such as part-time jobs or temporary positions in the human resources field. In addition, individuals can take an administrative assistant position in human resources and move up to a staffing specialist position after gaining some experience.

As you gain experience, take time to familiarize yourself with social media. Employers sometimes look for staffing specialists who have experience using social media tools. That's because these specialists may find and screen potential new employees using social media outlets, such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Step 3: Obtain Certification

Although optional, certification may improve the employment prospects of working staffing specialists. The National Association of Personnel Services offers the Certified Personnel Consultant designation, which requires current human resources employment and passage of an exam. The HR Certification Institute also offers certification for human resources professionals. This organization offers seven options, including the Professional in Human Resources, Global Professional in Human Resources and Senior Professional in Human Resources designations. All HR Certification Institute programs have education and work experience requirements and require applicants to pass an exam. Keep in mind that maintaining certification generally requires ongoing continuing education.

Step 4: Consider a Graduate Degree

Although a graduate degree is not required for a position as a staffing specialist, individuals may choose to earn a master's degree for increased job opportunities. A graduate degree may be particularly beneficial for individuals who have an undergraduate degree unrelated to human resources. You can find master's degree programs in human resources, which include courses in staffing, strategic planning and talent management. Alternatively, you could enroll in a Master of Business Administration program and concentrate your studies on human resources.

A bachelor's degree in or related to human resources and experience are necessary for a career as a staffing specialist and certification and a graduate degree may improve job prospects.

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