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HR Jobs at Startups: A Complete Guide

6 MIN READ | 2022-03-08

HR Jobs at Startups: A Complete Guide

Human Resources jobs can be some of the most interesting and challenging in the business world.

If you are interested in pursuing a career in HR at a startup, it is important to learn about the field and what to expect. In this guide, we will provide an introduction to HR jobs and discuss some of the key responsibilities of a HR professional.

Fundamentals

What are HR jobs?

Human Resources, abbreviated as HR,  is a department for overseeing the recruitment, training, and employee relations of an organisation.

Human resources professionals often will not have much impact on products or services offered by their employers— they are administrative in nature.

HR jobs can be found in nearly all industries & company sizes. The key to determining the demand for an HR professional is the size of the company: SME’s or corporates will require more human resources professionals than small startups. The larger a company is, the more specialised the HR roles get. For example, a startup wouldn't hire an employer branding manager.

HR at a startup vs corporate

In many cases, startups may offer more flexibility when it comes to working hours or location, which means that HR professionals may be asked to work long hours.

 In addition, compared to corporates, startups face a lack of resources which leads to limited support when it comes to core HR functions. If your startup does not have an in-house HR department, you may find yourself processing payroll, completing employee benefit forms, and updating job postings.

 Corporates already have many existing employee policies and programs in place. This means that HR professionals have a lot more support when it comes to developing and implementing new policies, procedures, and benefits.

 Larger corporations will have an established structure for the entire HR department, with each member of the team carrying out their own responsibilities in a cohesive way. When a company is growing rapidly, it may not have time to establish all of its policies and procedures, therefore it will turn to external sources like staffing agencies and recruiting companies.

Candidate profile for HR jobs

What personality traits & capabilities make you suitable for the HR department? Let’s find out.

Excellent communication skills

As you can imagine, HR professionals need to be able to communicate with many different types of people on a daily basis. These types include people with different personalities or different stakeholders (e.g. management, investors, co-workers). Thus, it is important to have exceptional verbal and written communication skills in order to effectively establish and maintain relationships.

Excellent organisation skills

Human resources management includes a variety of tasks: recruitment, training, performance assessments, individual development plans, and employee relations. For this reason, HR professionals must have a methodical approach for going through all of them. Employee profiles and legal papers are examples of paperwork that need to be filed systematically. Keeping organized assists HR managers in being more efficient when handling numerous activities at the same time.

Quick learner

One of the biggest challenges for any HR professional is adapting to the constantly changing rules and regulations within their industry. While some policies, such as salary negotiation or hiring practices, will remain relatively constant over time, new issues like social media use or virtual employee recognition may emerge. 

As you can imagine, the best candidates for HR jobs will be flexible and eager to learn new things. Working in an HR department requires someone who is willing to ask questions and seek out information in order to stay up-to-date on their field.

HR roles at startups

Startups need professionals to fill a range of positions, from HR generalists and recruiters to managers and executives. The following five job roles are the most frequently listed by startups.

Recruiter

A recruiter is responsible for finding and hiring new talent. They can work in a variety of settings, including staffing agencies, large corporations, or in the human resources departments at startups.

The role is increasingly crucial as companies work to increase their headcounts in order to stay relevant and competitive.

While many startups are open to tackling this challenge by themselves, they are also increasingly likely to turn to freelancers or agencies for help.

Job responsibilities:

  • Sourcing qualified talent on job boards, through referrals, or cold-calling potential hires
  • Handling the interview process
  • Checking references & negotiating compensation packages

Once a candidate has been hired, a recruiter will work to onboard them and keep their file up-to-date.

Are you interested in applying for an HR vacature as a recruiter? Explore available vacancies on Techleap's job board.

HR Specialist

The HR specialist is primarily tasked with the day-to-day management of the company’s human resources. They will work to ensure that employees are happy and productive, they create new positions as necessary, and they also maintain compliance with nationwide jurisdiction.

Job responsibilities:

  • Conducting performance reviews
  • Ensuring equal opportunity in the workplace
  • Conducting new hire onboarding
  • Managing payroll and benefits
  • Recordkeeping regulations, compensation plans, policies, and practices


Are you interested in applying for an HR vacature as a specialist? Explore available vacancies on Techleap's job board.

Talent Acquisition Specialist

Tech startups rely on a steady stream of qualified employees to attract the best talent. Talent Acquisition Specialists play an integral role in creating and maintaining this pipeline, ensuring that their company has a strong presence on job boards and social media platforms, as well as building relationships with universities and training centres.

Job responsibilities:

  • Manage online job postings on company websites and third-party sites
  • Find qualified talent on job boards, social media platforms, or through referrals
  • Create strategic hiring events, career fairs and other networking opportunities
  • Source qualified candidates by reaching out to universities, previous employees, industry conferences, etc.

 

Are you interested in applying for an HR vacature as a talent acquisition specialist? Explore available vacancies on Techleap's job board.

HR Assistant

An HR assistant is responsible for providing administrative support to the company’s human resources department. They may be required to work with a variety of departments, including candidate processing and payroll. 

Job responsibilities:

  • Drafting employee communications, such as emails or policy updates
  • Maintaining records in accordance with national jurisdiction
  • Managing office supply inventory and ordering new supplies
  • Assisting with the implementation or updates of company-wide programs, such as payroll or benefits

 

Are you interested in applying for an HR vacature as an assistant? Explore available vacancies on Techleap's job board.

HR Advisor

An HR advisor works directly with the company leadership to develop and implement new programs, policies, and procedures. These changes are implemented both in terms of recruiting and hiring, as well as how their workforce is managed.

They will also assist the company leadership during difficult times, such as when there are mass layoffs or terminations.

Job responsibilities:

  • Advocate for new policies and procedures, such as the use of company-wide social networks or new benefit offerings
  • Draft hiring documentation (employment contracts, offer letters)
  • Provide management with guidance on HR issues such as harassment claims, wrongful termination lawsuits & drug testing protocols
  • Conduct company-wide employee surveys


Are you interested in applying for an HR vacature as an advisor? Explore available vacancies on Techleap's job board.

Is working in HR at a startup for you?

Working in human resources is one of the most rewarding career paths. The role can range from being responsible for recruitment to overseeing day-to-day operations or advising leadership on policy changes. Being involved in the hiring process can be exciting and you will be part of a company's growth. You will also become better at reading people based on your interactions with candidates, which is important for any position.

Preparing for an interview

How should you prepare for an interview for an HR role? Here are some considerations: Be prepared to answer situational questions about the role and responsibilities of a recruiter. This will give you a chance to show off your knowledge of the industry, as well as highlight your past experiences.

Be aware of the company culture

Know what makes their office unique as well as any quirks that come with the position. For example, if you are interviewing for a recruiting role at a startup, you should be prepared to explain how candidates from larger companies can adapt to the startup culture.

In addition, learn about the industry the company is in no matter how complex it is. Ensure you have a good idea of the company's mission and values, as well as who their competitors are. This will give you a sense of what they want to achieve and how they plan to accomplish it.

Tip: Enroll yourself in a free course online to get a solid understanding of the industry you'll be working in, in case you've never worked in it.

Follow HR Trends

Use Google Trends to get a general idea of what people are searching for when it comes to human resources. This shows that you are committed to your career and always improving. Read articles about the role you are applying for, as well as how it has evolved over time. Moreover, stay informed about how the HR department is structured, the way of working, its policies and frameworks.

Tip: Use credible sources to stay informed in your field as an HR professional such as The Balance Careers and HBR

Understand how the company has grown in headcount over the last 3 years 

This means you need to know how much the company grew and by what percentage. You should also understand which positions were added or removed during this timeframe. Keep in mind that an interview is your chance to show off your knowledge of the company, so you should be familiar with their hiring strategy. 

Tip: Use Techleap’s Dashboard to see the headcount growth of your company.

Familiarise yourself with tools & channels the company uses for hiring

This is because you will need to know how the company uses these tools (e.g. ATS) and channels (e.g. LinkedIn) when hiring new talent. In addition, you should be familiar with their social media strategy, including what they post on social networks. The more you "know," the better it is for your candidacy.

Think about potential challenges that the company is facing with HR

Does the company have policies regarding remote work, GDPR or recruitment implications? If you understand these challenges, it will help you better address questions on these topics and prove your knowledge of the industry.

Create suggestions for these challenges

Make use of all the time you've spent researching the company to think of a few ideas for any challenges they may be facing. This will help you demonstrate your knowledge and skills, as well as show the interviewers what you can bring to the table.

Conclusion

There are many reasons why you may want to consider a role at a startup for your next HR position. The work environment is usually more relaxed, and the company culture may be more inviting to employees at all levels of experience. On top of that, the compensation packages are often better when compared to larger corporations due to the less red tape involved in decision-making.

Are you interested in an HR role at a startup? Explore available vacancies on Techleap's job board.