So you want to be an HR director?

four colleagues sit around table talking about HR policies

HR director jobs are the pinnacle of the HR profession. HR directors are what most HR generalists aspire to become. So competition for these jobs is always intense.

Find out more about these sought-after roles.


What does an HR director role actually involve?

HR director roles are generally very strategic, although the extent to which this is the case will vary depending on the size and type of business. Within smaller organisations, an HR director may be expected to be more operational than they would within a large corporate organisation, for example.

The tasks HR directors are usually responsible for can also vary depending on the employer. However typical responsibilities generally include:

  • Change management and organisational development
  • Mergers & acquisitions, and due diligence
  • Implementation of various HR initiatives, such as succession planning and talent management programmes
  • Employee relations and performance management (this is particularly pertinent in the current market)

HR directors represent the people within their business...

An HR director would work closely with senior stakeholders and would typically report directly into the CEO or COO.

What does it take to become an HR director?

Securing an HR director job is tough. If you apply for one of these roles, you’ll be faced with strong competition from both inside and outside the organisation.

But there are some common factors that employers look for when hiring. Ideally, you will be someone who is currently a senior HR business partner, head of HR or an HR director looking for a change in employer.

Specific sector experience is generally considered important at this level, particularly in financial and professional services. But there is likely to be crossover between closely aligned sectors within commerce (e.g. retail and FMCG, media and advertising, and telecommunications and technology).

You will need stability and clear career progression on CVs, and be able to demonstrate:

  • Commercial understanding of the business
  • Knowledge of the positive impact of HR on the bottom line
  • Credible representation of HR at board level
  • Occupational development, change and restructuring experience

As HR directors represent the people within their business, great interpersonal and communication skills are a must, as is excellent commercial acumen.

Next steps

Take the first steps toward becoming a HR Director. Start your HR job search today.

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