Here we go again. Personnel consultant just died of old age. Headhunter sounded a bit too nasty and clandestine. After all how can you introduce someone as “This is our corporate headhunter”. Real headhunters kind of liked it but it didn’t play well in the board room. Recruiter wasn’t really classy enough for those who wanted to “differentiate” themselves so we moved up a notch to “Executive Recruiter”. (maybe that happened as we got older and started recruiting people who make over minimum wage.)

“Executive Search” has a snob appeal all it’s own but their folks had a problem calling themselves “Executive Searchers” ( how dumb does that sound?)
“ Talent Acquisition Specialist” was and is just goofy enough for everybody under 30.. Human Capital Manager was so damn pompous that most folks objected to being designated as human capital so that one evolved to VP of People, ain’t that earthy. (your loyal subjects salute you , you royal horses rear).

Manager of Talent Branding (oh just puke, that doesn’t even make any sense to anyone). Maybe those are all those kids in the HR department who tell us it’s not our candidate because they touched them first. In line with that maybe we should all “Brand” our candidates. Then I could ask the internal recruiter if the candidate had an M7 on their left hip. If they do then there is no question as to it being my referral. It’s wearin my brand ain’t it ?

In the past few months I have noticed that those who are always looking for some new word or phrase to describe what we do or have some sort of damage to the ego (if not the Id ) have started to say, are you ready for it,

“I am a recruitment specialist.” “I do recruitment” I am in the Recruitment Business”. “We are a recruitment firm”.

Here’s some little know facts about the word recruitment.

Recruitment in the scientific community means the development of a new generation of organisms. So watch your silly butt if you are recruiting in the scientific community and you are dense enough to tell some scientist that you are a recruitment specialist. They may just say, “oh sorry we don’t do that kind of research.”

Recruitment in the healthcare community refers to a hearing loss resulting in certain sound pitches being painful to a person. So if you are recruiting in the healthcare industry and tell someone that you are in the Recruitment Business or you do Recruitment. They might just tell you that they don’t need any hearing aid salesmen or ask you if there has been any new research to correct the problem of recruitment..

“Recruitment” may be an acceptable term for the Brits and the Aussies but folks, in the good ole US and of A. We are recruiters and we do recruiting. If you want to really think about how preposterous it sounds to say you do recruitment try this.

Suppose that Engineers didn’t do engineering, they did engineerment.

Suppose that Accountants didn’t do accounting, they did accountment.

Suppose that doctors weren’t involved with healing, they did healment.

Suppose that scientists didn’t do research they did researchment.


Suppose that consultants didn't do consulting they did consultment.

One could go on forever until it got to the point that kids didn’t get involved in Cub Scouts or Girl Scouts. They would get involved in scoutment.

The conversation might go something like this: “Hey this is John in Recruitment, I would like to speak with Larry in engineerment or Judy in accountment if neither of them are available please buzz Phil in researchment.” Oh and is Dr. Dooby doing healment today or is this the day he goes on the scoutment trip with his kids?" "If Dr. D is out i need to speak with that guy who is here doing consulment on the new building plans."  "Say .how do you like being in receptionment?"

All I can tell you for sure is that the next time somebody tells me that they work for a recruitment firm doing recruitment, I am going to start laughing and tell them they have the wrong number. I am a recruiter. I do recruiting. I do not sell hearing aids and I am not developing the next generation of any organism, albeit sometimes I think that might be the case.


What say you, are you a recruiter who does recruiting or are you into hard of hearing , next gen organisms?

 (thank god my spell check caught the misspell of that last word).

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You may be on to something.  Maybe it started on the corporate side of the house.  Then recruiters decided they needed to call themselves something sexier so maybe then HR would talk to them instead of hatin on em'.


Dont' get me started on talent branding, recruitment branding and all that branding malapropism crap.  That branding silliness spun out of control so fast that only the people using it incorrectly know what they are talking about or what they think they are talking about.  Everybody else just ignores it.


As to political correctness.  I simply hate that shit!

Just a quick side note - I've started a new discussion on Social Media here - from the perspective that it gives me a major headache, and we all need to be wary that it doesn't take over our lives!


Don't mean to hack your thread Sandra... please don't shoot me... but it seems like a lot of us on here love to hate social media - and I have my own take on this. Enjoy!


Great post Sandra.


For the record, I am a recruiter, doing recruiting. Although I prefer headhunter, because I'm a guy and it sounds cool when I say it. 


Funny thing - when I have used the terms recruiter and headhunter around people who are neither, they more often than not assume I either recruit for the military, or I am like that dog chapman feller on TV. Not that I would mind being a bounty hunter too, but I have only so many hours in the I HATE driving around all day and night looking for people..I get to do that NOW, from the comfort of my office. :)


When people give me that quizzical look, trying to figure out what I mean when I use the terms recruiter and headhunter, I follow it up with this:


"I'm an opportunity broker"


or this:


"I'm a matchmaker between companies and qualified candidates"


Then they get it.


I'm with you..politically correct corporate - speak and self indulgent jargon gets old. I would hate having to explain what a talent acquisition specialist is to the outsider.

Am I technically "recruiting" if the candidate wants the job?  Or am I only a recruiter if I have to persuade the candidate into being interested in the position?   So many questions left unanswered.
What the hell is "aluminum" ? speak English damn it!  :-)

Sandra McCartt said:


Are you kidding me, if we could spell we would have been elevated to Recruitment -Talent Acquisition Specialists a long time ago.  :)  Besides, recruiter takes up so much less room in an email.  We don't have all those hyphenated last names either unless we have been divorced three or four times.  Ellen Tellington - Jones -Smythe has a certain ring to it.

But at least we know how to say aluminum without it sounding like a medical condition.  :)


      I think they're coming out of the "ooze" for this posting! It's gotta be the hat! I'm mind full of a favorite saying that says "many are called...few are chosen! All the best!


It's what we nail on the side of a shed when we are worried about a nuclar blast.  Not to be confused with Al you min i um.  Aaron , Texas is sort of like another country.  Ask Dubya.

@Tom I think opportunity broker is a great, absolutely love it.  Maybe it should be Requisition Fullfillment Specialist.  Maybe if one achieves fullfillment one gains the lofty status of being in recruitment.  Sort of like Nirvana.


@Matt  Technically i think if you are recruiting you are digging up bones.  If your candidate wants the job or you convince him, then you become a stud duck recruiter.  One does not necessarily follow the other but it's more profitable to be a Stud Duck Recruiter.  If you can't convince the candidate or he doesn't want the job you are just a goose and you get to go back to digging up bones again.

 Al,You are too kind.  I think it's because i just say what a lot of people think and don't want to spout off about.

It's just too damn fun when it isn't about "how to" or self promotion.

Due to brief techie problem I missed you post earlier. Thank the saints you moved into personnel management after herding talent down the strategy silo. I know what you do and I bet everybody who works for and with you understands too.

Ya gotta love engineers. They blow through all the jargon then look around and say, just fix the damn thing, make it work if you have to use duct tape and bailing wire.
Steve, that's great. That is what talent acquisition has always reminded me of too. Or maybe some person who books strippers who bring snakes with them. If one is a talent acquisition personage they would need to have the acquired talent audition for a job. With some of these talent freaks that is about what it boils down. They are so eaten up with looking for talent ,they forget about people.

An interesting piece, Sandra. Clears a lot of cobwebs. You demolished many high sounding notions. Come to think of it, with your innovative creation of words, you could have very well devised a new exotic sounding word for good old 'Recruting', but you have chosen to bat for 'Recruting'. In this world of 'wordsmiths', it is good to remain grounded.

@maindiratta thank for your nice compliment. I love words and more than that I love clarity and people who can and will communicate without the pomposity of "Four dollar Words".

I wonder often what psychological need drives the Wizards of Wordsmithing. Of course in some circles they would be doing wordsmithment. My money is on insecurity. The most successful people I know do not seem to have a need for silly big titles and will discourage others from making fools of themselves with same.

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