Culture Is Talent Acquisition’s, Not Just HR’s, Responsibility

There comes a point in your recruiting career when culture, employee retention, and organizational health become even more interesting than the daily hunt for new talent. The thought of “your” new hires leaving your company prematurely or underperforming on the job, after all of your hard work, gets you thinking … are we built to support these new hires? Are we healthy? Is our culture what we say it is?

As recruiters on the front line of the talent war, we have a real opportunity to impact culture and organizational health … even an obligation.

But … isn’t this HR’s job?

As I see it, HR is still the main channel for supporting culture and driving towards those types of organizational goals, but it’s the recruiting team that has the opportunity to make the effort more complete.

On a daily basis, it’s the recruiting team that finds itself at the crossroads of corporate activity from the executive level down. From coaching our hiring managers and kicking off reqs to the ups and downs of the hiring cycle, it’s the recruiters that often gain the deepest insights regarding the strength and health of the company (and in real time).

It’s also the recruiting team that has the earliest engagement with prospective employees. When they are mere candidates in the pipeline, very important information is shared ranging from priorities, personal circumstances, work styles, leadership styles, reasons for departures, and even behavior under pressure (think offer process). And, once they become employees, the recruiters are often the most friendly face for the first few weeks and beyond.

It’s this open flow of information between managers and recruiters and new hires that leads to actionable data. But how do you organize it and make it work for you?

I’ve been fortunate to be a part of several startup growth stories. The cultures have all been a little different, but it has always been the recruiting team that was more informed than most regarding the health and culture of the organization. The tech market, and tech startups in particular, moves so fast that it is all-hands-on deck to cultivate and grow culture as new employees join. At 50 employees, there are considerations that don’t apply at 100. At 100, you’re thinking about 250. At 250, 500 employees is in sight with more and more variables entering the equation as time passes.

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For those of you out there working in huge multi-national organizations with headcounts in the tens of thousands, the natural occurrence of more manageable sub-cultures means recruiting can still get involved. Size matters not. The data and inputs that are collected by the recruiting team can make your company a much more productive and enjoyable place to be.

We’ll talk October 18 in Minneapolis about tinkering with your recruiting process, and assessing the trend data associated with departures, referrals, and acceptances. We’ll also cover a wide scope of topics that will help get you into more of a business partner mindset. It’s this mindset and a bias to action that will help impact the long-term health and culture of your company. We are not order takers. The business depends on our partnership to help it grow.


image from bigstock


Mike Hebert is a Boston-based talent acquisition leader devoted to helping companies create better hiring processes, establish talent brand awareness, discover new sourcing strategies, and maximize the candidate and manager experience. He loves working with hiring managers to help them unlock their brand potential as well as helping the organization to increase their message and branding in the marketplace. Brand-wise, he affiliates himself with technology-centric organizations and takes particular interest in mobile/web companies and organizations that make mobile/web better. Other fun facts: he used to code a long time ago (a little further than "Hello World") and loves to be part of companies that are in massive rebuilding modes OR still on the climb towards mass appeal and recognition. And yes, he still recruits … every day.


3 Comments on “Culture Is Talent Acquisition’s, Not Just HR’s, Responsibility

  1. Thank you, Mike.
    IMHO, if a recruiter has time enough to start thinking/worrying about corporate culture, s/he:
    1) Doesn’t have enough reqs.
    2) Should probably start looking for a new position.

    1. 1) Perhaps you have too many reqs because you are bleeding people out the backdoor
      2) If you have to find a new position, make sure they are adequately funding HR and TA, or pass on the offer!

      1. 1) Indeed, and as long as there is money to fund Recruiting: *IT IS A GOOD THING!
        It’s a fool’s errand trying to fill a cup, but there’s job security in trying to fill a leaky sieve.

        2) Very sensible. In my experience, Recruiting frequently lacks all the resources we could use to be be most-cost effective. However, if they have enough money to pay my colleagues and me promptly, regularly, and at a decent rate and not blame us for not filling reqs. quickly enough (because they’re too cheap to hire a scheduler/coordinator,we’re spending 20+% of our time documenting what we do the other 80-% of the time, or their interview process is incredibly clunky and dysfunctional because the Founders/CXOs think they know how it should be done), then that’s pretty much all we can expect.

        “Why are we operating in this reactionary way?”
        IMHO, it’s because (despite claiming to be rational, profit-maximizing organizations) most companies are run according to the “GAFIS Principles”: the Greed, Arrogance, Ignorance/Incompetence, and Stupidity of the people in charge. They would rather pay thousands of dollars to go to a conference where they can be glad-handed and made to feel that they are doing something meaningful than pay a small fraction of that amount on good food and drink for a Recruiting “offsite “where the people who ACTUALLY DO THE WORK OF RECRUITING, SOURCING, SCHEDULING, ETC. can tell these managers, directors, VPs, etc. what would make the jobs they do better and more efficient.

        As far as TA having “special information”: could you elaborate? (Far from getting a “seat at the table”: Recruiting often doesn’t even make it into the “dining room”….)

        Thanks Again,


        *the company is bleeding people out the backdoor.

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