Recruiters vs HR…it’s as old as, well…the recruitment industry! Like cats and dogs, Tom & Jerry, there seems to be, in the UK certainly, this automatic default position of mistrust.
It’s reared its head again, with blogs appearing, including Bill Boorman’s guest post on Punk Rock HR, and no doubt discussions will be had at HRevolution.
Well I’ll let you in to a secret…it’s always been like this! Seriously, on my first day in recruitment, over 20 years ago, amongst the advice and on-job training I received about interviewing, cold calling and selling in candidates, I was told…
…ignore personnel; you don’t want to speak to them. They’ll ask you to send the CV through, then they’ll question you, and if you say that your candidate should to be interviewed, they’ll challenge you…
And it’s not changed!
As you read this there will be a rookie recruiter somewhere being told…don’t speak to HR, they’ll want an e-mail with reasons to justify the candidate, they’ll negotiate fees and keep you waiting…forget it, you’ve got targets to meet and you need to get your candidates on interview NOW!
In fact recruitment companies spend lots of money on training their consultants how to AVOID HR!
They’ll deny it of course, but the transactional sales model, which has been favoured by the majority of the recruitment industry for over 50 years, usually dictates that there isn’t time to follow PROCESS…
…which is what it’s all about in my opinion…HR makes recruiters justify what they are doing, asks them to follow a process, whilst the average recruiter ideally wants to phone a harassed, time-pressured line manager, with a candidate that they’ve found who they think is a perfect match, book an interview over the phone, push back on feedback and try to CLOSE THAT DEAL!
Not all Recruiters are like that, clearly…but then not all Recruiters dislike HR!! I have always developed relationships with HR, treating them as much my client as any line or hiring manager. One of the reasons I moved into HR recruitment was because of the strong relationships I had built.
We’ve all had times though when we don’t think HR gets it…a marketing recruitment colleague said to me the other day…”HR wasn’t sure, said they didn’t think the person was a good fit, but I persuaded them to send the candidate along to see the hiring manager who loved him and hired” …but I’m sure that HR would point to hasty hires by line managers who didn’t really follow a true recruitment process, offering little selection and engagement. In my colleague’s example HR did set aside their initial view for the wider good of the business.
Let’s face it, HR want to get the best talent, the best fit for their organisations, the people that will add value and be part of the company’s growth, whilst Recruiters are looking to place candidates.
HR are usually measured by many deliverables, of which talent acquisition and retention is just is one, whereas the vast majority of Recruiters are measured and judged by the number of deals they close.
It’s a bit apples and pears…cats and dogs…it can work, but in many cases that’s not always the same thing, not always the basis for a mutually beneficial relationship.
Many Recruiters have always tried to bypass HR (hate is a very strong word) and many HR professionals have always had a mistrust of recruiters who think they’ve found the most outstanding candidate that needs to be hired NOW before they disappear to another company.
I think it’s straightforward…HR like recruiters who make their job easier, who respect the role they play in their companies talent process and want to help them find the best talent. Likewise Recruiters like HR who value what they do, who give them the information that they need to identify the talent that companies want. A lot of the time this works fine, but then pressures of budgets, targets, misinformation and miscommunication sometimes kick in.
So rather than Recruiters thinking like HR and HR thinking like Recruiters why not try seeing each other’s point of view…why don’t HR spend time in their recruitment supplier’s offices, seeing how they work, how the consultants are managed, measured and rewarded, what the values and culture are…and why don’t recruiters spend some time in an HR department and find out what the talent proposition is, the engagement and the vision, what the budgets are, what pressures and priorities they work with, and get some feel for all the other things HR does.
Maybe, just maybe, they may even learn…to LOVE each other!!