HR, Recruitment & Resourcing – should they be separated and aligned with marketing?


HR cartoon
One of the chapters in a social media in recruitment report I have been commissioned to write, looks at what part HR play in social media recruitment. I recently asked the question in the excellent LinkedIn Group, The HR Professionals Network, and got a very interesting answer from  Isabelle Hung , a strategic talent acquisition & engagement specialist, that I would like to explore with you – I know you will have an opinion on it!

The question I phrased was: What is the role of HR in companies where social media is used as part of their recruitment?
What role do think HR should play? Is it legal policing (ensuring social media searches are documented in the recruitment process)? Is it employee protection (guideline etc)? Is it to use SM to ensure the best talent is recruited? What do you think?

Isabelle's answer surprised me, but got me thinking…..

Interesting debate and one for discussion. Recruitment and Resourcing are now two separate roles, which also opens the debate of is Resourcing more a marketing function than HR and therefore should it be reported in the customer contact data? The more policy there is the less employees are likely to engage at work? Is social media a comms tool, which supports candidate engagement and therefore eventually applications? HR and Resourcing are two different departments.

So, what do you think?

  1. Should recruitment and HR be separate? (Yes in my opinion)
  2. Should you then split recruitment and resourcing? (Uhmmm…)
  3. Then should you align resourcing to marketing rather than HR? (I am a no on this one!)
  4. Will too much social media policy (restrictions) inhibit engagement? (IMO – definitely)

Isabelle certainly takes a different stance on this – do you agree?

This makes for the start of an interesting discussion…..

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  • Sarang

    1. Should recruitment and HR be separate? Yes.
    2. Should you then split recruitment and resourcing?. Yes – sourcing / resourcing needs more focus and concentrated approach.
    3. Then should you align resourcing to marketing rather than HR? NO. It’s related to humans and not products. Your approach still needs to be dotted with HR.
    4. Will too much social media policy (restrictions) inhibit engagement? Yes. It needs moderation and not strict policing. SM is two way and not one way.

  • Chelsie

    Hi Andy, interesting one, but I think I agree that resourcing is a communications activity. To be an effective brand all internal/external communications should be integrated and should probably come under the guise of marketing. (thats from a marketers point of view!!) No matter what, the traditional boundaries/departments are definitely blurring and there is cause for much more collaboration between us all…

  • Keith Robinso

    Good Post Andy so my take;

    1) For 13 years I’ve believe that Recruitment and HR should be separated.

    2) Recruitment and Resourcing remain as one, as does Attraction, Marketing, Branding, etc etc. HR, Marketing, PR + IT need to be involved and dragged out of the silo.

    3) Used to believe Recruitment should sit with Marketing but no more – in large organisation it should stand alone and report into the COO.

    4)SMP – those who “enforce it” will not attract talent and die (dino’s) they fail to adapt to a changing environment. Gen Y multi task in a way we don’t.
    My Rant Keith

  • Andy Headworth

    Thanks Chelsie,

    I have to say I am seeing that resourcing is a comms activity. If you are just talking about placing adverts and being concerned with the brand, then fair enough the employer brand becomes part of this. >> Reactive recruitment.

    But how can proper pro-active sourcing be considered a comms activity? Talent searching, talent pooling, deep candidate sourcing, referrals, database mining, and social sourcing, utilising different search technigues are hardly comms based are they?

    There are some grey areas here, no doubt, but I think that ‘proper’ candidate resourcing is a skill on its own and while implicated in the employer brand, should be kept away from marketing comms :)


  • Andy Headworth


    Aha a man of sense!

  • Bethie

    1.Should recruitment and HR be separate? Yes, I am a recruiter, I am not and never want to be an HR person, too static for me. I am your front line in the battle for talent.
    2.Should you then split recruitment and resourcing? I agree with Keith about everyone getting involved in the recruiting process but then I have had problems selling that idea to the rest of the company mostly because of corporate culture.
    But then I am in a new company now so I am hopeful.
    3.Then should you align resourcing to marketing rather than HR? (No, collaberation is the key here I think)
    4.Will too much social media policy (restrictions) inhibit engagement? Yes, yes, yes, esp. for management that really do not understand the value just the risks. In my exp., HR does not really understand SM, not deeply enough. More reactive to events than proactive to needs.

    In recruiting, agility is the key in a constantly changing environment. New tools are launching every day and I am on the front lines. My success is judged on my ability to anticipate and adapt to those changes to get the job done.
    (Just my 2 cents)

  • chelsie

    Hi Andy,

    so now you have got me thinking…..I suppose it depends how marketing is seen in an organisation. Admittedly in many cases (esp in recruitment) it is simply reactive but it should never be that.

    It should be about identifying a target audience, what their needs are, where you will find them, how you will find them and finally what you will say to them to persuade them to take a desired action. Surely then that fits into a pro-active sourcing model?

    However, I do agree that some jobs are better done by a specialist within that area but perhaps it doesn’t matter whether they come under HR, Marketing, Resourcing or PR because they are really all about the same thing – communication & engagement – just to different audiences

    Maybe its time we bought things up to date, recognised that the old boundaries/departments are just not working any more and got rid of them?!

    Now there’s a thought :)

  • Heather Travis

    1. Should recruitment and HR be separate: Yes they are two separate issues within the HR department and should be split; in my experience it is very difficult for someone in HR (and a big ask) to also have the responsiblity for recruitment.
    2. Should you then split recruitment and resourcing? In order for a company to attract the best talent, create a candidate pipeline and promote the organisation the two should be split as there are different skill sets required but they need to work very closely together for continuity.
    3. Then should you align resourcing to marketing rather than HR? I agree with Bethie – collaboration is key both HR & Marketing should be involved with different areas. I have a client who due to location is having problems attracting candidates she in collaboration with marketing is putting a pack together about the attractions of the life style change you could have by relocating to the area.
    4.Will too much social media policy (restrictions) inhibit engagement? Yes most definately – the decision makers within organisation in my opinion are still quite anti social media due to the lack of undertanding and extent of its power.
    Great discussion Andy many thanks!

  • Andy Headworth


    I agree 100% with your final comment.

    Surely it should be about the best people doing the most suitable role for their skills, being supported by whichever departments are more relevant where ever they sit in a company.

    Recruitment is definitely about communications and engagement, and social media plays right into that. But changes? Bravery needed I think!

    Now….. which departments need to go? :-)


  • Andy Headworth

    I think we agree on this Keith.

    Like the alignment of putting recruitment into a COO.

  • Andy Headworth


    Thanks for the great points.

    I think you have hit on something we all know – recruiters being recruiters are most of the time ahead of the curve – e.g. we are always looking for the new and latest tools, tricks and methods to find new people. Whereas HR are reactive and regulatory. That is why there is such conflict between the two (IMO).

    Collaboration and communication and (maybe) a quicker desire to effect change (from HR) would be great to see. But as you say company culture is sometimes the barrier to that happening!


  • Andy Headworth



    Point 3 is a good example of how marketing can support the recruitment process. It is just a shame that more companies just don’t engage the services of their own departments more often!

    Like it! – Anti-social decision makers are ultimately responsible for social media adoption….. there’s a thought! Maybe they aren’t actually making the decisions after all!
    Maybe that is the next question – who is actually making the social media decisions in an organisation? (Anyone?)


  • Heather Travis

    Think that would be a great question to ask re who making social media decisions within organisations – its a fuzzy area!

  • Alexander Crépin

    Interesting never ending discussion.
    For me HR is moving away from human resouces towards human relations, human results and human responsability. HR has more and more to do with talent engagement and performance, supporting line managers to add value via people.
    So from this point of view I would say No they shouldn’t be separated. HR should make steps towards Organisation 2.0 en Talent 2.0. If this is the case, no one will ever have the discussion of recruitment being part of Marketing.
    In an integrated stakeholder strategy in transparent organisations HR and all “other” specialist functions are likely to support each other in an holistic management strategy.
    I hope you understand the point I am trying to make.
    Best regards,
    Alexander Crépin
    working from the Netherlands

  • Alexander Crépin

    sorry for the typing errors!