Chatting to an HR Manager

Posted on Tuesday, September 14, 2021 by The Career GuideNo comments

Our London recruitment agency specialises in office support jobs, like those in HR. We know it’s insightful for you to hear what it’s really like from those working in the industry you are making a career in. Here, we report back on our chat with Claire, an HR manager for a FinTech business with offices in north London.

How did your career in HR start?

I started off my career as a Personal Assistant, working in financial services. I then moved into business administration. These were for large companies. I was then selected to move into HR and worked my way up from assistant level. I undertook my professional qualifications whilst working, before moving up the HR ranks to manager level. 

Then, an opportunity arose for me to join a young FinTech company that had no HR function. I actually missed the hands-on side of things, so I thought this could be an exciting move and perfect for my experience. 

The role within the company has grown enormously; 7 years ago, it was just me and a very small team, whereas now there are 11 of us in London, with HR representatives in the United States and Canada. It’s been a really exciting role.

What are your key responsibilities?

The business has expanded greatly and at a fast rate. Sustainable growth is central to my role. I oversee all recruitment. We need to recruit people with transferable skills, and develop them in-house as our technology is unique and cutting-edge. Therefore, much of my role is also about talent development. Alongside this, employee engagement is central. We must hold onto the talent we develop, and so we need our fingers on the pulse of people’s career aspirations. 

We’ve also acquired other businesses and teams, so my role involves onboarding these teams and building a cohesive and unified culture—all within the bounds of relevant employment law too!

What’s a typical day like?

Honestly, I have no typical day. I could be interviewing all day, or strategizing with the board, or completing a salary review and market analysis. I could be out of the office visiting a company we hope to acquire or advising individual managers on HR-specific issues. So really, every day is quite different and generally very varied. 

What skills do you need to do well in HR management?

You need to be incredibly mentally dexterous to succeed in HR. You need to care about the people that are the backbone of the business, whilst ensuring you can work with a business mind, manage multiple different demands, be flexible, and listen. Fundamentally, you need to be highly organised, have excellent administrative skills, and be able to cope with pretty much anything that comes flying at you each day!

What are the main challenges you face?

In my role, it’s change. That’s very normal in HR; you need to manage organisational change. With such a fast-growing business, we are always short staffed, so it’s important not to get caught up in the endless busyness of it all. 

What motivates you?

I get huge satisfaction from helping people to succeed and I love the variety of what I do. I like being involved with strategic decisions one minute and then individual employee cases the next.

What advice can you offer to others considering a career in HR?

You’ll need to be an approachable, conscientious, and discrete person, skilled at networking and building good relationships. Become known in the business, but also develop a thick skin—HR is often a thankless role! Also,  grow excellent IT, admin, and communication skills.


Apply for HR jobs today.


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