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Who is really responsible for recruitment?

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This morning, an article written by Ben Batten, country general manager at VOLT, was sent to me, and it got me thinking about who within the organisation should be responsible for the recruitment function.

Batten suggested the talent acquisition function should report to marketing, sharing an experience where a client had engaged several agencies to fill one single role – a move he believes is diluting the entire recruitment process.

“Sure, you may think you are getting access to the widest range of candidates, but in reality, if all the search firms are working on the basis that they only have 10% chance of filling the role (and 10% of your commitment), what level of commitment, and time invested are you getting in return?” Batten wrote.

“10 search firms = 10 different messages going to market.”

While I have to agree with Batten’s message that recruitment efforts should be more targeted, I don’t necessarily believe the function should report to marketing.

Over the past year or so, I’ve met more talent acquisition heads or recruitment leads who don’t see themselves as HR practitioners, per se.

Yes, they understand the strong link between on-boarding the right talent and the general HR function, but also see a higher purpose in what they’re doing.

In the May issue of Human Resources, Jean-Michel Wu, regional talent director for WPP Asia Pacific, said his team does  “more than just providing candidates”.

“Our most successful people are the ones who know the business and understand how they can work closer with the agencies to provide better training, development, succession planning and recruitment. Those four areas are separate from the administration side of HR, which is just as important, but I think in our industry, we need to have both of those services. We won’t survive with one and not the other. I definitely do see it as two separate functions.”

So, if talent acquisition were to be a separate function from HR, who should they report to?

If it were up to me, I would choose the CEO. As HR becomes more strategic, the recruitment and talent departments are increasingly gaining more responsibility and accountability. People are an organisation’s most powerful weapon, and I believe the function should be empowered by and have direct support from the CEO.

But don’t worry marketing folks, I haven’t forgotten about you. There is definitely major value in HR partnering with marketing, for everything from recruitment to employer branding efforts.

[ALSO READ: Don’t kick HR out of social media]

For many companies, the recruitment and talent departments will continue to sit within HR and that’s okay.

But companies that already have or are in the process of building the function as a stand-alone, while still maintaining strong ties with HR and marketing along with other senior executives in the C-suite, may be the ones paving the way to the next generation of HR.

Have you built your organisation’s recruitment department as an independent function? Are you thinking about it? Share your comments below.

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Sabrina Zolkifi
Deputy editor
Human Resources Magazine Singapore

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