How to get the best HR Jobs in Devon and beyond

Posted in Candidates

Posted by Joanne Caine
Published on 24 July, 2018

HR all star: How to get the best HR jobs in Devon (and beyond)

Looking for a HR position? It’s a crucial role. In many ways your job is to reconcile the needs of the business with the needs of the employees; to create harmony and deliver business goals. Not easy. But if you have what it takes to reach the top of the profession, you can expect a fabulous salary and the opportunity to mould the future of the business you work for.

Here’s a lowdown on what it takes to succeed - really succeed - in HR.

What type of HR roles are there?

HR is a broad discipline. In smaller businesses you could find yourself flying solo, responsible for the organisation’s entire HR duties – referred to as a standalone HR position. As for larger businesses, you could end up in a role that’s more specialist, such as Employee Relations, Case Manager, Recruitment, Learning and Development, Compensation and Benefits etc

Example Job titles include:

  • HR Assistant
  • HR Officer
  • HR Coordinator
  • HR Advisor
  • HR Manager
  • HR Business Partner
  • Head of HR
  • HR Director
  • Learning & Development Manager
  • Talent Acquisition Specialist

What qualifications do you need?

A strong academic background is often required. The top HR roles tend to look for CIPD qualifications and a demonstrable HR career. Most degrees will be considered, but business, economics and psychology are looked on favourably for obvious reasons. (HR is about business and people.)

What soft skills do you need?

Amid the roster of HR duties it’s easy to forget the human element of human resources. Good communication and interpersonal skills will take you far. Employers need an every(wo)man who can click with people at all levels - confronting issues and outlining the case for change when necessary.

Of course, that requires a head for business strategy.

Decision-making must be rooted in the wider goals of the business. Your over-arching responsibility is to improve company performance. To help employees become more productive. To help departments hit targets. To attract and retain people who resonate with company values. For that you have to know what makes your business tick - from the break area to the boardroom.

Anything else? Well, you will likely be heading up a team - especially in larger businesses - so good leadership skills are required. You should be thick-skinned too, ready to keep the peace and handle complaints. And don’t forget the flip-side of hiring is firing, which is likely to be your responsibility - at least in part. Diplomacy is key.

Finally, you will be tech-savvy. As with many disciplines, HR is becoming more digitised and automated through SaaS packages. You should be comfortable making sense of unfamiliar software and acting on data for the good of the business.

In summary:

  • Flexible and organised with strong problem-solving skills
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • Organised and motivated with leadership qualities
  • Understanding of business strategy
  • Flawless knowledge of employment law
  • Tech-savvy and numerate

What experience do you need?

HR is a necessary function in every business. Some companies will look for candidates with previous experience in the relevant industry - whether that’s engineering or professional services. Your recruiter will also be looking for accomplishments in a similar role - as well as evidence of how your career has progressed through promotions.

What should you mention in interview?

As we said, good communication and the ability to relate to people at all levels is crucial in HR. So aim to show how personable you are the moment you walk through the door. No need to overdo it. Just remember the power of eye contact, a smile and a good handshake.

Demonstrate your experience through quantifiable achievements - for example, reducing absenteeism, improving savings, employee engagement campaigns or how you have managed to retain staff in a candidate driven market will all be of interest. Communicate your understanding of the industry challenges facing the business, with ideas of how HR can tackle them. Show that you can use data to inform business decisions.

HR jobs in Devon and the South West

More and more major businesses are choosing to base operations in the West Country, creating demand for skilled HR professionals. Here at Cathedral Appointments we recruit for some of the best HR roles across Devon, Cornwall and Somerset. For an informal chat about how we can help you take the next leap in your HR career, contact Jo Caine on 01392 413577 or


Managing Director

I joined Cathedral Appointments in 1998 to cover a maternity leave and never left. I now own the business and love my job. I've a great team of consultants who work with me in ensuring that Cathedral Appointments provide an excellent service to candidates and clients alike.

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How to get the best HR Jobs in Devon and beyond

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