HR, Recruiters and Managers: Hiring Pros with Different Missions

HR, recruiters and managers hiring prosIt is so hard to figure out the “rules” of today’s job search. Probably because there aren’t any, really. And hiring pros all seem to be looking for something different.

And that is part of the problem: HR professionals, recruiters and hiring managers are all hiring pros… but they really are looking for something different. They all have different missions.

I have sat on both sides of the hiring desk. I have worked as all of the above: HR, recruiter and hiring manager. I also know colleagues in all three functions. So I thought it might be helpful to understand the different roles each of these people play in the hiring process. That way, you can better understand where they are coming from when they provide advice (or when they don’t return your calls!)

HR/Human Resources

These are typically people who work for the organization (sometimes they can be contracted). Their roles are to ensure rules are followed and processes are in place. If the company does a lot of hiring, they may even have internal recruiters who are solely responsible for hiring.

The mission of HR: to enforce rules around HR policies and procedures.

Pros of working HR:

  • They know the organization/company

Cons of work with HR:

  • They may or may not know the true nature of the job
  • They usually serve as a filter, screening candidates that don’t fit the criteria


This term usually applies to people outside the organization who have been hired or engaged to find talent. They could be working for a firm or have their own business. They could be Retained or Contingent.

  • Retained means that they have a relationship with the company (either exclusive or not), to help them find the right talent.
  • Contingent means that if they provide a candidate who ends up getting hired, they will be paid a fee. Otherwise, they are not compensated. They may even be competing with other recruiters to fill the position.

The mission of recruiters: find the right candidate for the company (while earning money for themselves).

Pros of working with a recruiter:

  • They serve as a go-between and you can and should be more direct in how you answer their questions
  • They will love you if you meet the qualifications of the job they are trying to fill

Cons of working with a recruiter:

  • Not all recruiters are created equal
  • If they don’t need you, you probably won’t hear from them again

Hiring Managers

These folks have many responsibilities, one of which is to make the final hiring decision for new talent to their group or company.

The mission of hiring managers: to build the best team; to run a successful operation.

Pros of working with hiring managers:

  • They know the organization/company and the requirements of the job

Cons of working with hiring managers:

  • They have multiple hats to wear and filling a job is just one of them

So the next time you apply for a job or have a job interview scheduled, know who you are talking with. Understand their mission. And tailor your strategy accordingly.


For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Career Sherpa!


Career Sherpa


Hannah Morgan hiring prosAbout the Author: Hannah Morgan is a career sherpa, guiding new job seekers through the treacherous terrain of job search. If you are looking for no-nonsense advice, check out her site Career Sherpa, and follow Hannah on Twitter for the latest job search news and trends!



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