To answer that question, let’s start by analyzing some of the innate conflicts between HR and recruiters.
HR professionals often perceive recruiters, especially outside recruiters, as a threat to their jobs. Because recruiting is at least part of their role in a company, they may not like it when someone comes in to do it for them. They often complain that recruiters take too long to fill requisitions and use the same sourcing strategy for all positions instead of customizing by type. Recruiters tend to see HR as an obstacle to getting their job done. They want to find and hire the right people, and meet their quotas, and they often view HR as a nuisance that stands in their way.
But recruiters and HR have to be on the same page for each to be successful.
One way to solve this issue? Role Clarity. They need to identify the responsibilities each will handle throughout the recruiting cycle, from strategy to interviewing to offer preparation and extension. Does the job ad clearly describe the kind of person needed? How much screening will the recruiter do? How many candidates does the HR generalist want to see? When should the hiring manager be involved? Who will make the offer to the successful candidate and close the deal, and who will follow up with unsuccessful candidates?
Another tool? Communication, communication, communication. For each assignment, the HR rep and the recruiter should also decide ahead of time how much and how often they will communicate throughout the process. How involved does the HR professional want to be? Do they want regular updates, and if so, how often? In person, or by phone or email? What would be the content? Who will communicate the progress/status of the search to the hiring manager? Will it be done jointly? Both generalist and recruiter need to set regular check-ins to assess and discuss progress not only about the work but about the relationship.
Last, but not least? Let respect lead to commitment. HR professionals and recruiters need to understand – and respect – what each brings to the table. The recruiter needs to recognize that the HR person has a better understanding of the business and its culture, has insight into management, and probably understands the unspoken motivations and drivers of an organization. The HR professional needs to acknowledge that the recruiter is gifted at building relationships between the company and candidates on the outside, attracting quality people, assessing them, leading them through the process, and closing candidates. Both sides need to give their professional relationship time to grow. Over time, as the same recruiters work with the same HR managers, the recruiters will understand better how to meet HR and company needs. The HR managers will know that the recruiter is driving the process forward for them, while the recruiters will know they are spending their time on the right track.
It is important for recruiters and HR professionals to recognize that their mutual success depends on them working together, not separately, towards a common goal. By making sure that both parties are clear on who will do what, and when, the recruiter-HR relationship can become a healthy partnership.