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How Do I Become a Personnel Consultant?

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  • Written By: Tracey Sandilands
  • Edited By: Rachel Catherine Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 19 September 2014
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A personnel consultant typically works independently to manage the recruitment of staff for external clients. To become a personnel consultant, you need a suitable college degree, experience in candidate placement and personnel management, a certification from an appropriate organization, and knowledge of hiring practices. You may also need general business knowledge and marketing ability, to be able to market your consulting business effectively to customers.

A bachelor’s degree is the first step to become a personnel consultant. Take an undergraduate degree that includes courses in human resources management, organizational development, or compensation and benefits. Courses in industrial psychology are also considered useful for most occupations in the personnel consulting field, and knowledge of computers and information systems is critical to modern careers. A combination of subjects such as social sciences or business administration will provide you with an interdisciplinary background, which is useful for personnel consultants.

Follow up your undergraduate degree with a specialized course in personnel consulting or a graduate course in one of the recognized human resources qualifications. These include human resources, labor relations, or business administration with a concentration in human resources management. You may be able to complete your postgraduate courses while working in the personnel management field, gaining experience that will help you to become a personnel consultant.

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To obtain suitable experience, look for entry-level positions or internships within personnel consulting agencies, or in the human resources divisions of large companies. Many corporates handle their own hiring and candidate placement, and you can gain valuable experience in subjects such as labor relations, negotiation skills, and personnel administration, which will help you to become a personnel consultant. You will also have the opportunity to develop your interviewing skills and to learn the practical aspects of crafting job descriptions that attract talented candidates.

Become certified by enrolling with a professional organization, such as the National Association of Personnel Services (NAPS). The organization offers five different credentials, including the Certified Personnel Consultant or CPC qualification. Certification requires the successful completion of an online examination, with or without participation in a one-day certificate immersion class. Candidates must be knowledgeable about legal information that relates to the staffing industry and NAPS’ professional standards and ethics.

Once you are qualified and certified, you can become a personnel consultant working for an agency or as an independent business. Find clients by approaching companies that need assistance with hiring processes and candidate placement. This will require you to do some marketing and conduct sales presentations on the services you or your agency offers, ensuring that you are successful as a personnel consultant.

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