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Job description: HR advisor

Written by: Hazel Mason
Published on: 23 Apr 2019

An HR advisor is important for the day-to-day functioning of the HR department, taking an advisory role on best practices for recruitment and retention of staff as well as general HR services.

HR Advisor

The main role of the HR advisor is to advise both employers and clients on the recruitment of new staff and retention of existing employees. You will generally be involved in helping hiring managers with their interview techniques and writing job descriptions, as well as researching performance evaluation methods and designing company policies.

So, if your passion is to give advice and ensure the HR department is nurturing a healthy work environment, HR advisor might be your ideal job.

What are the duties of an HR advisor?

The HR advisor usually reports into the HR manager or HR director. You will take responsibility as the first port of call for all recruitment aspects in an organisation, including advising line managers and managing the onboarding process.

An HR advisor may also be involved in managing employee relations and performance management. As such, you may be responsible for anything to do with HR, ensuring policies are consistent and HR queries are dealt with promptly and reliably.

Typical responsibilities may include:

  • Dealing with various HR queries throughout the business
  • Reviewing and updating job descriptions
  • Advising managers on recruitment and selection strategies
  • Training hiring managers on candidate interview evaluation techniques
  • Assisting with and developing recruitment campaigns
  • Coordinating the appointment process for successful applicants
  • Monitoring key recruitment metrics, such as turnover and retention rates
  • Negotiating terms and conditions of employment with staff
  • Providing advice and playing a major role in work reviews and change processes
  • Using HR information systems to access, input and compile data 
  • Identifying development needs
  • Suggesting new HR technology solutions to improve day-to-day operations (e.g. ATS and HRIS software)
  • Managing staff relationships, responding to any queries or problems that they have and managing their expectations 
  • Researching and recommending performance evaluation methods (e.g. employee appraisal systems)
  • Monitoring, reviewing and updating all HR policies and ensuring these are in line with current legislation
  • Supporting the HR manager with various capability investigations, including grievance and disciplinary
  • Driving the business performance in relation to the organisation’s objectives
  • Assisting in organising employer branding initiatives
  • Acting as the point of contact for hiring managers, employees and other HR team members

These are just some of the key responsibilities an HR advisor may be entrusted with. For more examples, take a look at the HR advisor roles in our job search.


“The best thing about working in HR is making a difference to someone’s experience at work. Whether that be directly, through conversations with someone about an issue that’s important to them, or through strategic guidance and support to managers about the best way to reward, develop and retain their employees.


“There are opportunities to put together strategic people plans within your business areas, work on wider company people projects, deliver an excellent first class service to employees and ensure the administration and processes that engulf working life are implemented effectively and fairly.”


- Sian Stranks, HR operations partner at Haymarket Media Group.

What salary can you expect as an HR advisor?

The average salary for an HR advisor in the UK is £32,500*, but you can earn anything from £22,000 to £40,000 per annum depending on your experience. Senior advisors can earn over £50,000 per annum.**

What personal qualities and skills are required to be an HR advisor?

Interpersonal skills are the most vital for skills for an HR advisor to possess as you will have to work with a number of people at different levels across the business. Alongside a strong knowledge of HR systems, soft skills such as self-confidence and being persuasive are also important in this people-focused role.

The following qualities and skills are integral to every HR advisor:

  • Organisational and administrative skills 
  • Proven work experience as an HR advisor, HR consultant or similar role
  • Ability to advise and work with senior members of staff
  • Hands-on experience with IT programmes and HR systems 
  • Knowledge of employment legislation
  • Personable with strong communication and relationship building capabilities across all levels of the business
  • Ability to design clear and fair company policies
  • Driven and determined
  • Practical and logical; able to solve problems quickly 


“Each day can be different and you need to be good at juggling a number of different priorities. Relationships are key. We need to build trusted relationships with all our stakeholders to make a difference - from the CEO right through the business at every level.” 


- Sian Stranks, HR operations partner at Haymarket Media Group


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What qualifications does an HR advisor require?

An HR advisor will be expected to have a minimum of 4 years experience in HR with some form of relevant training, or a degree in human resources or similar. A qualification from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) is essential to succeed in your HR career.

CIPD offers a range of courses and qualifications which are available in a number of study options, such as full-time, part-time or flexible learning. You can choose to continue your development with one of three CIPD qualifications, ranging from foundation level for entry-level staff to advanced for those looking to achieve chartered status. You can also complete the CIPD's Professional Development Scheme (PDS) which covers leadership and management, people management and development, generalist and specialist personnel and development, and applied personnel and development. There are various certificates available, including:

  • Certificate in Business Awareness and Advanced Professional Study (CBAAPS)
  • Certificate in Personnel Practice (CPP)
  • Certificate in Training Practice (CTP)
  • Certificate in Recruitment and Selection (CRS)
  • Certificate in Employment Relations Law and Practice (CERLAP)
  • Certificate in Coaching and Mentoring (CCM)

HR apprenticeships are open to everyone over the age of 16 in the UK. As an HR advisor, you may choose to start a HR Support Level 3 apprenticeship to develop the knowledge and skills to excel in your role or progress your career.

How do you get started in your HR career?

“To work in HR you have to be intrigued by people and the business they work in! It’s our job to understand why people come to work, why they stay somewhere, why they may decide to move on and what they need from a company in their journey through working life. We provide support, insight and coaching to managers and employees along this journey, to make the experience effective, engaging and valuable to every employee.” - Sian Stranks, HR operations partner at Haymarket Media Group.

You don’t usually need an HR degree to secure a job in the profession, as most employers will consider graduates of any university course. However, degrees in subjects such as business management, economics, finance or psychology, as well as HR, can improve your chances of getting an entry-level job.

A masters degree in HR could also help bump you to the top of the CV pile, with most courses being accredited by the CIPD. Even though it’s not necessary to have a CIPD qualification at this stage in your career, it is likely you will need a qualification to progress into senior HR roles.

As a great alternative to university, some colleges and training centres offer foundation degrees in HR management, which is a vocational course equivalent to two-thirds of a degree. This offers sufficient training and experience required for an entry-level role.

Similarly, you can enrol on an HR or business administration apprenticeship, which is open to individuals at any stage of their career who do not already hold a relevant degree. This will give you some experience in HR and an understanding of the key processes and policies offering a great route to further development. The level 5 apprenticeship must include CIPD’s advanced certificate or diploma in human resource management.

CIPD offers accreditation at three levels: Foundation, intermediate and advanced, which suit individuals at different stages of their career. The foundation level is a great introduction to HR and learning and development for those new to the profession. You can study full-time, part-time or via distance learning with most individuals completing the qualification in two years.

The intermediate level builds on the first level and is for more experienced HR professionals with some experience in the field. Finally, the advanced level is usually for those with substantial experience in HR and is most suitable for those already with a degree.

Entry-level HR roles tend to include assistant, officer, coordinator, executive or administrator.

What career progression opportunities exist for HR advisors?

HR offers fantastic opportunities for progression, especially with the support of the CIPD qualifications listed above. There are plenty of areas of HR that you can specialise in and most organisations have some form of structure around staff development.

As an ever developing, transforming function, HR offers new avenues for creativity and strategic thinking which will undoubtedly create new roles and specialisms in the future.

So, if you’re looking to move into an HR advisor role, People Management Jobs can help.


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