What Is HR Career Development?

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  • Written By: K. Kinsella
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 21 May 2018
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Human resources (HR) career development involves HR professionals or supervisors providing guidance for employees in terms of career planning. Individuals can develop both short-term and long-term career objectives, and people involved in HR career development help them to formulate objectives that are realistic and actionable. HR employees play a key role in the hiring of employees, and consequently the HR career development process can begin during the actual job interview.

When positions become vacant within a company, department managers have to create job requisitions that include details of the skills that any applicants will need to demonstrate in order to fill the vacant role. Managers often favor job applicants who have the potential to take on more responsibilities and challenges further down the line. HR professionals review job applications of prospective candidates and look at each applicant's past career history as well as their academic and professional credentials. During the interview, HR staff talk with candidates about their past work experience as well as their career aspirations. Based on information received during interviews, HR professionals attempt to make determinations as to whether candidates have the necessary skills to develop a career within the company.


Major companies often utilize standardized short-term HR career development plans for new employees. These plans usually include reviews after 30, 60, or 90 days, at which point the employee’s supervisor can ensure that the new employee is performing as expected. In some countries, laws exist that enable companies to use probationary periods for new employees, and those that do not hit short-term developmental goals are subject to termination. After the initial goals are met, longer-term plans are made.

In many industries, employees cannot gain promotion unless they obtain special licenses, pass examinations, or complete a certain number of hours or years within a particular department. HR professionals help employees to create road maps to ensure that they perform the tasks necessary to obtain their licenses and pass their examinations within prescribed timelines. People seeking senior positions within a firm normally have to develop tailor-made HR career development plans with the guidance of senior managers, since these roles often require specialized skills and industry knowledge.

HR professionals also help individuals who are seeking to switch career paths to develop action plans for acquiring the necessary credentials and skills to take on a new vocation. Companies that are downsizing often hire HR specialists specifically to give advice to those who will be faced with a layoff. Many people who formerly worked in HR departments of major firms also offer one-on-one advice to unemployed individuals and school students. These people are usually self-employed or paid by local governments to provide career planning guidance.



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