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Considered a career in HR? One grad tells us why you should

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If you’re good with people, and are interested in the way they think and behave, have you ever considered a career in Human Resources?

Hiring and retaining the right people is one of the most crucial aspects of any organisation, as having good employees is integral to business success. Working in HR, especially within a large company, you’ll be right at the nerve centre, and will have the chance to shape recruitment strategies and develop world-class training programmes.

What’s more, HR departments are comprised of people from all sorts of different degree backgrounds, so you don’t have to worry that the degree you studied might not be relevant to the field.

We spoke to James Rimen, an HR advisor at BP, to help us demystify what HR careers actually involve:

How did you get into this career?

On reflection, a key turning point for my career towards HR was during a work experience placement with Honeywell when I was 15. On the factory floor, they were reverse engineering the production process, empowering the shop floor employees to tell management how they wanted the process to run. This put people at the heart of the process and led to both a more efficient process and engaged workforce. 

After studying Economicsat the University of Sheffield, I joined an insurance firm and started working in recruitment, taking on some HR Advisor activity as well. I enjoyed the role but didn’t see the right opportunities for my development.

After realising that I wanted to carry on with HR in another organisation, I looked at the job market. I looked for employers in interesting industries that had similar values to my own. I applied to some of the Big Four for Consulting in People and Change, and investment banks for HR, but BP stood out to me over other employers.

How so?

BP offered a rotational scheme, each of which would be long enough for me to gain a real insight into the business area and I liked BP’s culture. We have a very collaborative culture which came across instantly when I met my two senior interviewers. BP seemed like a place I would like to work because I share the business’ values: respect, excellence, courage, one team and safety.

BP is a very large company and the opportunity to move between segments (business areas) was very exciting. I also find the Energy sector extremely interesting as it’s preparing to adapt to a lot of change in the future.

What does your job involve?

For my current role, I moved to Hull to support the operations teams in our Petrochemicals business. I have previously worked in offices supporting deep-technical experts in BP’s Upstream, so in this rotation I wanted to get out closer to the field. I want to understand how the technicians operate and interact with central BP. I have been loving my placement thus far as it has enabled me to roll my sleeves up and assist people on the ground. There are lots of unexpected challenges from the environment, even down to simple things such as how individuals without laptops book on to training sessions.

I am also getting good core HR experience, including supporting individuals through performance improvement plans, and conducting investigations into on-site incidents. There is currently a lot of work with the leadership team to ensure we are building the right culture on-site in order to run a safe and efficient plant, whilst empowering the operating of front line staff as much as possible.

What is it about HR that you find so interesting?

HR looks at combining business needs with individual drivers to achieve the best outcome.

Part of the reason I studied Economics at university is that I’ve always found it interesting and it is a large part of what makes the world go round. I have had a specific interest in human behaviour and I essentially see economics as mass psychology.

I was very interested in how to combine the rational side of the discipline with the psychology of why some people react differently to others.

Applications for BP’s HR graduate scheme are now open. Click here to apply. 

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