Some Recruiters Would Like to Break Free

Should recruiting be part of the human resources department? A recent survey of 256 staffing professionals shows that 45% believe the role of recruiting does not belong in a traditional HR department.??

“More than any other function, recruiting shapes the future of an organization,” says Maureen Conn, U.S. staffing manager at Siemens VDO Automotive in Troy, Michigan. “Companies need to ask themselves where they want to be in 10 years, and they should remember that the future is driven by the people we select to have as part of our team. Some companies may view recruiting as a transactional department, but really, they should view it as a business partner to effect corporate strategy. The business world tends to view HR as incompetent police and that makes it difficult [for recruiters] to get a seat at the strategic table.”

In fact, Conn says recruiting should move to a department that focuses on consistently maintaining customer satisfaction, quality control, and continuous improvement in order to analyze both strategic and implementation approaches.?

“Because we’re viewed as a cost center and not a profit center, recruiting tends to be very under-resourced. For example, our recruiting staff?three people if you count me?has recruited approximately 600 professional-level new hires this year,” says Conn.

Sam Modi, senior IT recruiter with the Aspen Group, Inc. in Silver Spring, Maryland, agrees that recruiting should be a separate entity. “Recruiters need to know more than timesheets and benefits, and they should have more time to research candidates and negotiate prices,” he says.

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Meanwhile, 37% of respondents think that recruiting is a core function of the HR department. Jennifer Holtzman, staffing consultant for AppleOne in Scottsdale, Arizona, thinks recruiting belongs in the HR department because “sometimes it seems like you can kill two birds with one stone; the duties go hand-in-hand, so I do not think it should be moved.”

Although Holtzman says she can understand why some want to see recruiters removed from HR, she thinks the reality of that situation is less than ideal. In fact, she contends that some of the job duties could overlap, ultimately making things redundant. For example, she thinks juggling employee benefits and recruiting is part of the same job and quite manageable for one person.

“Knowing the details with changing rules and regulations and legal issues helps, and it makes it a more efficient working environment by having it all in one department,” she says.


4 Comments on “Some Recruiters Would Like to Break Free

  1. Hmm. Here’s a question for all of you. What are your thoughts around outsourcing most of the HR functions (benefit administration, enrollments, etc), and hiring a generalist to run what’s left, with the exception of recruiting? You’d need someone with a good ear for employee counseling, but as long as you are strong on the hiring front you shouldn’t have a flood of issues as it is.

    The key would be to find a full-time recruiter, someone with a strong macro business sense. Chances are better that you may find somebody at an agency or recruitment outsourcing from, as opposed to someone from a human resources department. The fact is that you need someone who has had to view this function as a business oriented profit center, and not a line on their job duties. It’s a tough mentality to shake, otherwise. The person would have to be given a strong sense of strategy, and the tools to plan and implement a long-term staffing plan that lines up with the overall business strategy. You don?t have to give them a strong say at the table, but an ear will matter.

    The idea here is to make your recruiting strategic, and focused on the long-term. The reactionary model has been by now (I hope) discarded. You need someone who is focused purely on recruiting to make this vision a reality.


  2. I am firmly in the camp of “recruiting doesn’t belong in HR”. When I owned and ran my own agency, it was clear that working through HR was a waste of time. The HR people seemed to view openings from a Process viewpoint; they understood everything about the paperework and rules, but almost nothing about the actual openings. The difference between what HR gave as a job description and what the hiring managers asked for was enormous. But I never assumed that the staffing/HR link was entirely to blame; I knew my viewpoint was from the outside and biased by my own position.

    Now that I’m on my third assignment as a contract recruiter, I have no doubts left at all. Staffing as a function of HR is counter-productive.

    I like the notion of Staffing being a QA function. If the quality of the people hired into a company is ignored, what is the likely output of that workforce going to be?

  3. I have to ‘piggy back’ on William Barnes comments. HR is ‘stuck between a Rock and a Hard place’. The Hiring mgr. often does not have the time to communicate with all of the internal/external recruiting resources and expect both to ‘read their minds or intentions’. Without direct refining capabilities in the communication process there is little chance of meeting any need for any thing. Internal Recruiters time demands include filling metrics, meetings and other time overhead constraints that external recruiters may not have. This time advantage and the higher incentive to succeed and place a candidate in a short time frame allows for a competitive advantage on the external recruiters side, but the internal recruiter has an advantage in ‘sand bagging’ external candidates until the internal candidates they are working with have gone through. The delay often causes external candidates to ‘die on the vine’ or accept other positions due to being exasperated during the 6 week wait. The whole reason external recruiters exist is that candidates have little time to look for jobs and clients have even less. When I entered into recruiting, I believed I was helping companies find candidates and candidates find client companies. But the reality is that I am the ‘instigator’ that gets the ball rolling and then manage the 30 step process to keep it moving. If I ‘quit driving’, the car goes into a ditch.

    Managing expectations (on both sides) is more than 50% of the job). the other 40% is getting the right communication from the ‘Horses Mouth’ as to what the client ‘really wants’ by sending in 2-3 candidates (one at a time) and finding out “what they DON’T Have” to get an accurate picture of what the need REALLY IS. By this time the light bulb goes on and the client often takes over the recruiting process internally once the ‘real picture’ is defined (and I don’t get paid for this ‘coaching time’ to help them understand they are not clearly defining their requirements or have not ‘thought them through’ adequaetely. Retained searches @ 30% become a standard or ‘Norm’ for this kind of process as a result, to pay the 20-25% fee as well as time overhead for the ‘instruction time’ and to ensure that we ultimately ‘get paid’ fairly for our time and efforts.

  4. HR recruiting calls for a much different personality than does an HR generalist position. Recruiting calls for more persuasive, hunter type skills whereas the HR generalist calls for more consistent, administrative type skills. The two are definitely different–should they be separate?

    From personal experience, I know that I received many of my contract recruiter positions because the HR Generalist wanted nothing to do with the recruiting function.

    Eventually, most of the generalist functions will be automated and the generalist functions will eventually migrate to more of an employee support function or division. Recruiting, on the other hand, will eventually migrate to a higher planning pro-active level; it will be integrated (through automation mostly)with employee relations, performance appraisals, and employee training. Through this integration, recruiting will be able to determine the human resource needs of the corporation and will make sure to fully utilize all resources.

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