Recruiters Talk with HR

When Recruiters Talk with HR … The Do’s and Don’ts 

Rhonda Beard

Many recruiters feel that there can be an adversarial relationship with Human Resource (HR) Departments. It doesn’t have to be that way if recruiters spend up time cultivating a relationship early on. The recruiter and HR truly have the same goals: to find the right person for the right job. This article focuses on what HR professionals want to hear from recruiters so that the mutual goals can be achieved.


HR typically receives many calls from recruiters. Like everyone else, client HR professionals are very busy, and often covered up, with a backlog of placement needs as well as other duties. When a new recruiter makes a call to HR, they are sometimes ignored due to lack of time, there is no present need for the proposed placement, or there is nothing special about the request or recruiter. One way to potentially get HR’s attention is to find a mutual connection or contact they will recognize when you call. If the recruiter mentions that they have worked with another client, and it is someone known to HR, they will be more likely to get some attention. Knowing something about the client’s industry and about the client company in general is very important. The most important takeaway is that the recruiter should do research first, before making the call!


If you're just making a bunch of cold calls or dropping emails, they will likely be ignored. If you have done your research and you know about the company, and some of the hiring needs, you have a better chance to get HR’s attention.


You might also catch HR’s attention if you have found an opening the company has posted, filling the opening is a struggle, and you have specialized experience recruiting in that particular field or industry. Really doing your research and knowing what the industry is, what the industry is doing, and being able to speak to your experience can be very effective.


Most HR professionals are generalists with many roles and responsibilities. They often find themselves in the position of trying to recruit and fill openings for their organizations, in addition to the multitude of other daily HR functions and challenges they are dealing with. Many times, HR professionals have pride of ownership, and want to demonstrate that they can fulfill the recruiting needs the organization has. And, if the HR pro can fill the job in-house, then the company can save significant money by not utilizing a recruiter. However, there are a lot of specialized positions that can be hard to fill, and in these cases, recruiters can do a much better job.


HR always wants to be part of the hiring process and closely involved with the recruiter. It is disheartening, and frustrating when recruiters go around HR and go directly to a hiring manager, or when a hiring manager goes around HR directly to a recruiter. As an HR professional, they are made to feel that they are not doing their job, or that people feel that they cannot effectively recruit and fill job openings. Often, hiring managers are difficult to pin down and difficult to get scheduled. HR can help in that process with the recruiter and hiring manager. HR Generalists and Managers truly have ownership of everything, including recruiting, and want to be involved in the process of interviewing people and deciding on what factors are going to be included in hiring. HR doesn’t want to be caught off guard with, “Well, we've hired this person. Now you can onboard them.”


The HR professional wants not only to be involved in the recruiting process but also wants to be involved in some way to vet the recruiter as well to see how effective they are at filling openings for the organization. If the recruiter is someone that HR is going to work with on a longer-term basis, HR can be the catalyst for the recruiter and can help make the recruiting process more successful, if you have a good relationship upfront.


It is also important for candidates to know that HR is part of the process and that they can have a good relationship with their internal HR Department since it is going to play an important part in their job. In addition to the Recruiter staying in touch with strong candidates throughout the process, having HR stay in touch with the candidate is important to demonstrate how important communication is within the company, and how important HR can be in that role.


The role of the HR Department has certainly developed and changed over the last 20 or 30 years and has adapted to the new environment we find in the workplace today. It continues to be relevant, and indeed, plays a key part in the recruiting process. HR can make a big difference in whether a recruiter gets in the door … or not.

Posted in

Rhonda Beard

Consultant and Trainer for Bench-Builders, President of SHRM, Southeast Tennessee,
Member of the Tennessee SHRM State Council
Phone: 423-883-5363.