Tim Hordern

I ♥ building amazing products and teams. QA + Product + DevOps + Fast = Awesome.

Recruitment Is Not HR

There’s a depressing trend in companies, particularly startups, to call their Recruitment team their Human Reources team.

Let’s put aside for the moment the connotations of the term “Human Resources” [1].

What I can tell you right now is that Recruitment (and recruiters) are not the sum of what your company needs when it comes to managing, understand, and growing your employees and their capability.

Great companies look at every part of how people interact with their jobs, their company, their teams, processes, knowledge and a whole range of other factors. On top of that they manage a whole range of administrative factors, like renumeration, expenses, leave, legal compliance, office management (which includes things like perks [2]).

Are your recruiters capable of doing that? Maybe. But it’s pretty unlikely. Recruiters are skilled at assessing candidates and attaching them to roles that the company is looking to fill [3]. They maybe have a little extra time to look at other things but that’s unlikely.

If you need a sporting metaphor, here’s one: if you think that all HR needs is recruitment, you’re the type of person who thinks their team just needs to do better at the yearly draft picks. Don’t have a coach, don’t have trainers, don’t tell the team about strategies, don’t manage their travel, don’t worry about how much they drink or what they eat. Don’t tell them off when they cut training, or when they break the law. No matter how badly you do during the season or what happens, you just need to pick more people in next years draft.

No matter if your team is named Recruitment, Human Resources or People [4], if you only have recruiters in those teams (or they only focus on recruitment work), you’ve got a problem.

[1] treating humans as fungible resources is a truly horrible outcome of the scientific management approach and just sets employees up to be less than who they are.

[2] notice how perks are last on this list. The happiest team with no foosball table will always attract better people and build better products than the team with horrible morale and a foosball table. Unfortunately, a lot of companies try to cargo-cult their way to a good culture by adding perks.

[3] well the best ones are. The worst ones are just spammers trying to fit anyone in their job just to earn a commission.

[4] arguably this is worse than calling yourselves Human Resources. It means you recognized that you’re hiring people and you’ve specifically decided to ignore that fact. No management speak required, just straight out deception.