21st century recruiting

The "Red-Headed Stepchild"

How many times have you heard that Recruiting isn’t *really* an HR function? As a recruiter, do you feel that you should be separate from your corporate HR department? How many times have you heard a disgruntled employee disparage Human Resources but exclude recruiting from their diatribes? Why the distinction?

As a recruiter, I deal with talent acquisition, and believe that I am the very first link in the Human Resources chain. Perhaps it is because recruiters are seen to have at least slightly more interest and a stake in making sure that the candidate/potential employee is being “taken care of”, that their interests are of immediate concern as much as the hiring team.

How many times as a recruiter do you hear from a candidate you recruited a few years ago that has a problem, and they went to HR and were frustrated with the lack of resolution? Or maybe not even a former candidate, but a co-worker or former co-worker that is in the same position, and hopes that somehow you can give them an answer to the “Why?” behind HR’s actions, or perhaps even to see if you can help them make the right contact.

I think that part of the perception of Recruiting as a profession as being not *quite* a part of HR has to do with the fact that we straddle both the internal and external business line. We work with our internal business partners, but we often also interact with other vendors and even other local recruiters, so we are more well-connected than some of our internally-focused colleagues. Because of that perception, I think that sometimes HR sees us as being less committed to the internal “bottom line”. I would dare say in some instances there may be underlying professional resentment as well. We have the professional “power” to say “no” to our internal business partners, and to advise them not only on issues such as internal equity, but also in local and national compensation trends.

But with this greater flexibility comes greater responsibility to know the broader picture. We need to understand not only our internal policies, but also the ramifications of our business practices to the external world. We are more responsible for the outward-facing image our company presents to the world, and if we work in a large corporate setting, we need to understand how different business units approach not only recruiting, but also retention, training and development, forecasting etc. We need to know legal issues not only in hiring, but in interviewing; let’s not even *mention* OFCCP. I think that BECAUSE we need to be aware of these issues in *addition* to our regular recruiting functions, this makes us very much a part of the “human resources” organization. I believe that in an ideal world, Recruiters would not see their HR counterparts as only doing what’s best for the company and neglecting the individual, and that HR would understand that recruiters are *quite* aware of the fact that we consider the impact our hires will make on the company as a whole, and that we are not just out to fill the req.


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