Interview with: HR DIRECTOR

Our ‘Interview With’ series speaks to people in varying careers to ask about their role and how they got there, to inspire others who may be at the stage of picking a career, or switching up their current one.

This week, we interviewed a Human Resource (HR) Director to get a sense of who looks after the people in an organization…

WHAT IS YOUR JOB TITLE?

HR Director

  • HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WORKING SINCE LEAVING FULL-TIME EDUCATION?

13 Years

  • WHAT ARE YOU RESPONSIBLE FOR IN YOUR ROLE?

The full management of human resources in EMEA for an American Technology company. Essentially, I look after everyone that works for our organisation.

  • WHAT DOES A TYPICAL WORKDAY LOOK LIKE?

From solving complex employee relations issues, keeping my finger on the pulse of the business to assessing people for promotion, training and development opportunities, my day-to-day tasks are largely varied. I work hard to create a good culture, maintaining and improving processes relating to recruitment, onboarding and offboarding, this also involves training and coaching managers on how to manage their employees.

As an example, this week we are looking at assessing employees globally from another company that we have just acquired, meaning I’m currently in daily discussions with different managers across the world on where they see concerns.

Often my days are for just admin; keeping on top of our employee records, looking at data, and talking to people. You would be amazed at how much you can find out about things that may not be working in the company as well as they should in a casual conversation over a cup of tea.

  • WHAT’S THE BEST PART OF YOUR JOB?

It is ever-changing! Ultimately I love people, I love people being successful and happy! I am also very passionate about diversity and inclusion. Working in the technology industry it’s not abnormal for me to find myself in a room with a group of men (often all white). I strive to always do my best to employ people of colour, females, and people who are different. I am not ashamed to call out a manager if I notice a lack of diversity within their team.

  • WHAT WOULD YOU TELL SOMEONE LOOKING TO GET INTO YOUR INDUSTRY?

I think I fell into HR because I have a knack for people. People naturally trust me so it is easy for me to influence and assist people when they need guidance.

From my early teens, I was always the one who ended up in a late night conversation with someone telling me something awful that may have happened to them in the past, or something they were struggling with currently… I get so much joy in helping people and building their confidence. 

For this job you need to be level-headed but also empathetic, able to listen to peoples difficulties and struggles and assist them through it, but at the same time being able to keep a business brain and think “is this person a good fit for the business”.

  • WHAT ARE THE MAIN QUALIFICATIONS NEEDED FOR YOUR ROLE/INDUSTRY?

Every company is different. Some say you need a CIPD (usually the larger companies as they are more likely to have a tick box exercise to reach interview). This isn’t the route I took though as at school I had no interest in HR (or at least thought I didn’t). I have found in all roles I have held that interviewers are more interested in attitude, and whether culturally you are a good fit, most other things can be learnt on the job! Of course, as you go higher up the ladder, you will need to demonstrate in an interview that you have solved many complex ER cases and show you are able to have difficult conversations and challenge senior people, alongside being passionate about culture and people generally.

Having been in HR for many years, I am now contacted by bigger companies who don’t even ask me about a CIPD as I have the years of experience to demonstrate I can do the role without it.

  • WHO WAS YOUR ROLE MODEL GROWING UP?

This is a tough one, I am not sure growing up I really had an idol. Now I find myself aspiring to be a successful business woman – think Karen Brady, Sheryl Sandberg.

I really admire women who have been able to stand up and lead in a male-dominated environment. I work in an industry where there is a low representation of women and people of colour and this is something I strive to improve throughout my career.

  • IF YOU COULD GIVE YOUR YOUNGER SELF ANY ADVICE, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

BE CONFIDENT AND ACCEPTING OF WHO YOU ARE.

I honestly cannot stress this enough. I was always so worried in my teens that I wasn’t as clever, wasn’t as pretty, wasn’t able to offer as much as other people, and that I would never amount to what others would. I would have loved to have realised many years earlier that each person has something different to bring to the table and that is ultimately what makes businesses successful.

DO NOT BE AFRAID TO ASK QUESTIONS.

Why is it that sometimes it seems embarrassing to ask for clarity? I now find myself in senior meetings asking questions that in my head I think might be stupid and 99% of the time people say wow, we didn’t think of that! Honestly just speak up, say it.

DO NOT BE AFRAID TO MAKE MISTAKES.

You won’t ever improve if you don’t make mistakes. It really is that simple. Think about every mistake you have made? It made sure you didn’t do it again!

PAY RANGE IN £ (TOTAL PACKAGE): 

A = up to 20k
B = 21-30k
C = 31-50k
D = 50-70k
E = 70k +<<<<<