How studying psychology can benefit your HR career

The most successful recruiters are those who can develop and utilise a human touch in their work. A recruitment robot can’t replicate human qualities like empathy and warmth (at least, not yet, anyway).

No chatbot can grasp an understanding of human psychology and expertly apply that understanding to human resources. But recruiters can. As a recruiter, if you can gain in-depth and nuanced knowledge of psychology, then you can better excel at your work. Here are some reasons why.

Active listening


Carl Rogers, one of the founders of the humanistic approach to psychology, advanced the notion of active listening. This involves paying close attention to what a person is saying in order to fully understand their point of view and then respond in a way that communicates that understanding.

When you are engaged in active listening, it’s vital to notice body language and tone of voice, as this helps to gauge a person’s feelings and attitudes.

Active listening is extremely helpful in resolving disputes and conflicts and – for this reason – can benefit your HR career. Many HR officers and managers can be expected to deal with workplace disputes and conflicts. Being able to empathise with each team member involved in these conflicts allows an HR officer to find a solution that works for everyone.

Understanding personality


If you study psychology, you can develop an understanding of the manifold variations in personality. Each individual has a personality type. For example, some people are far more introverted than they are extroverted, which means that they are more likely to thrive in solitude than in a highly stimulating and social environment.

Differences in personality also help to dictate what sorts of roles people are suited to. So if HR officers learn personality psychology, then they will be able to effectively hire, develop, and look after employees. This is essential to reducing turnover rates and boosting employee satisfaction and team morale.

The importance of well-being


HR officers with a background in psychology know the importance of well-being in the workplace. When employees have poor mental health as a result of their work, the company suffers, too. Poor workplace well-being is associated with losses in productivity and profits, low team morale, and high turnover rates. An HR officer who knows how to improve employees’ mental health can, therefore, be a great asset to any business.

An adept HR officer will understand the risks of workplace stress and how to reduce those risks. They will know that certain management styles can impact employees’ mental health. In addition, those working in HR should always be looking to enhance the meaningfulness of employee’s work. After all, a lack of meaning in one’s work has been cited as a risk factor for depression. HR officers and managers can promote meaningful work by giving employees opportunities to gain more control over their work, as well as find ways to make a positive impact in their role.

As we can see, studying psychology can benefit HR roles in all sorts of ways. This demonstrates the importance of lifelong learning for HR. When HR officers deeply understand the psychology of team members, they are better equipped to make decisions that benefit individuals, teams, and the company as a whole.

Sam Woolfe is particularly interested in self-development, psychology, mental health, and the future of work. Most of all, though, Sam is passionate about helping people find work that is meaningful and fulfilling. You can follow him on Twitter and find more of his work at

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