Why HR Should Report to Recruiting

Just this past September ERE held there Expo in Florida.  One of the key speakers for the Expo was Mike Grennier of Walmart.  Now, I didn’t get to go to the Expo but because all my friends were sending back copious twitpics about how much fun it was I decided that I had better watch the stream from the Expo.  During Mike’s speech he made an off-the-cuff remark that maybe instead of Recruiting reporting to HR, HR should report to Recruiting.  I got thinking about that idea and pretty soon it started to sound pretty good to me.  By now you’re likely thinking this dude is a power tripping maniac, right.  Well I’m not tripping here, but I do think there’s some validity to this argument.  So without further ado, or disclaimer, here’s why I think HR should report to Recruiting.

Why HR Should Report to Recruiting

Number one reason, HR is a cost centre, sorry, it’s the absolute truth.  Agreed good HR practices are good for the business, but all those policies, training etc, they all cost money.  Recruiting however, brings money into the business.  This is no better illustrated than when we work in consulting environments.  We bring in top talent, those folks get deployed on contracts, they bill, therefore the business makes more money (pretty simple).  Here’s where it get’s even funkier, we start to up the talent quotient, we bring in a diversity of talent.  All of a sudden the business can start charging more margin on the consultants, and hey, maybe they are really smart people and they start to develop new offerings that the business can sell to differentiate themselves in the market.  BAM, we’ve provided real value to our business right.  OK, well, now your thinking Geoff, that’s great for a consulting business but what if it’s not that kind of environment.  Well, we still affect any businesses ability to produce their product.  Even in a strictly automated factory setting a certain amount of human capital is required.  If those folks are not in place, the process becomes slowed or in some cases stalled thus directly impacting the viability of said business.  My point is, we (Talent Acquisition or Recruiting) bring the Talent in the door, and in most businesses that alone would put the Recruiting function at the top of the pecking order.  Hey, again, HR has an important role to play in nurturing that talent (if they choose to), but most often Recruiting is impacted by the performance of HR, so maybe we should be driving the process.

Number two reason, Recruiting understands Marketing and Branding and Social Media so much better than the HR community.  First let me address Marketing and Branding, on a daily basis Recruiting speaks with your customers.  That’s right folks, all those folks we interview, they are not just potential employees, they are also your customers.  During those interviews we come away with a very good sense of what people think about your company.  If it’s all-good, we can help you capitalize on the market intelligence that we gather on a daily basis.  If it sucks, well, we can help to make it better by identifying what messages are actually out there about your company.  Today’s HR is more focused on internal movement, policies and processes.  They are not as outward looking as Recruiting is, so once again they limit themselves in their ability to make true impacts on the business¦.just keeping it real here folks.

And here’s the part that really gets my shorts in a knot.  Recruiting has been talking about Social Media for a long time, at least as long as Facebook and Myspace has been around.  While certain sectors of our profession are still asking is it a fad most of us agree that Social Media is here to stay.  So because we’re always so concerned about the best way to engage talent, we’ve started to build talent communities, we are following people on Twitter, we are starting Fanpages on Facebook, we are building talent pools and puddles to better attract the brightest and best to your companies.  So here’s where it gets interesting.  What if Mr. or Mrs. CEO we took those concepts and turned them around to your customers.  We (Recruiting) all ready know what they are saying about you, we already have the data about where they are hanging out on the internet and in Social Media.  And we’ve been working in this world long enough to know how not to f*&^k it up royally.  Now let’s turn that knowledge into a way to really help you break into markets that you may have never played in¦to bring people to you that previously you hadn’t had the chance to engage with.  Sadly HR seems primarily focused (and sometimes Marketing and Legal) on limiting the liability of using Social Media.  In most cases that means shutting it down all together, basically telling employees that as an organization we don’t trust you.  You Mr. or Mrs. CEO are therefore put in a situation where you’re shutting your door to untapped markets because you are afraid of what people are going to be saying about you.   As Recruiters we can tap you in on a little secret ”- they are saying it anyways.  Your customers as we speak are tweeting about you, blog posts are being written about you, and Facebook folks are leaving comments on each other’s walls about you.  At the very least turn to your Recruiting teams and ask them to generate some data about what is being said, because they know how.

My third and last point, I think Recruiters are more fun¦now I’ve known some (a few) fun HR folks, but most of them seem stressed out, worried and overworked.  Recruiters though, we know how to party.  Now wouldn’t you want to work for the fun people, I know that I do.  And the Recruiters that I work with well “ they are off the chart.

So next time you look at your org structure, just think¦who should report to who¦for a little fun, challenge yourself.  Because that’s Radical.

Guest blogger, Geoff Webb has more than 20 years experience in recruiting and is a Social Recruiter and Master Sourcer who loves social media and also calls Toronto, Canada, home with his two girls.  Geoff is an avid contributor to Recruiting Blogs, the largest online recruiting community.  You can find Geoff on Twitter, @radicalrecruit or visit his blog, Radical Recruitment.

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell (@jmillermerrell) is a workplace change agent, author and consultant focused on human resources and talent acquisition living in Austin, TX. Recognized by Forbes as a top 50 social media influencer and is a global speaker. She’s the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource and host of the Workology Podcast.

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