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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Thanks Christopher.  The compressor wore of on the last fridge - so had to replace it.  I did leave a little room for the kids' juice boxes though!
Here is one I bet you haven't heard - my current title is "Candidate Sourcing Specialist"! Try handing your business card to candidates with that title on there. I think headhunter might be better but really I'm just a Recruiter. And as many have commented, I am what I am and proud of it. :)

@Shawn-Elise, It just never stops does it.  Does it ever make you want to put your hand on the candidate's forehead, roll your eyes to the heavens and say, "You are Sourced".  So many names for people who do the same thing.  Maybe we should have a contest to see how many different names we can come up with and post it everywhere so people will know that all these freaky titles stand for recruiter doing recruiting.


@ Jerry and Christopher,  I have one of those in the garage too.  Beer is not appealing to those of us who own a lot of horses so mine is full of Big Red, Big Orange and Dr. Pepper.  Can't help it , it's a Texas thing.

You know Sandra, the recruitment field has many shared metaphors with the potato field.  Think of shoveling in the dirt . . . spelling by Dan Quayle . . . . . Uncovering hidden talents.  Makes my head spin and my eyes roll just thinking about the boundless possibilities.

Sandra McCartt said:

@Tom, You litterally made me laugh out loud.  To be honest the first thing that hit my mind was.  "Ok Tom, is it a manhole covering ,a manhole cover or a manhole coverment.  Knowing you , you would come back and tell me it's one of those NSSWWC's  (acronym for no shit, so what, who cares).  What wound me up were several peeps who have been happy to be recruiters in the recruiting industry for years who all of sudden with the advent of social media have become talent acquisition gurus working in the recruitment field.


@Karen , excellent point and should not go unnoticed by anyone who has the benefit of reading your very good advice.  When i have a candidate interviewing for a position i tell them to ditch all the fancy buzzwords and jargon because you never know when somebody has a trigger point about one or all of them so keep in the real world venacular.  It's a when in Rome philosophy.

Dialling for dollars for example?
Lol. Jewel finder in the sea of adolescents. "freak Filter"

Tom love the potato field analogy. Digging for few good spuds.

Dan, love it. What do you do? I'm a Dollar Dialer.
Nice article Sandra!  I hate "recruitment" almost as bad as I do those people who pronounce the "t" in "often". 
or the B in Climb

@Cindy in my part of the world we don't know that it has a t in it.  Course we don't think there are any words ending in g either.  You mean it isn't offan.


@Dan same for climb around here.  unfortunately it has taken us a long time to convince folks around here that they didn't clum a tree yesterday since we say it clime in the present tense.  As in "how about ya go clime a tree since you clum one yesterday.

Someone who wants to remain nameless just called me and said he has decided that he wants to be known as a Crisis Intervention Cash Creator.  That one is right up there toward the top right now.


I don't care what they call me as long as I get paid.  (I do think recruitment is a strange word though.)
@Jeremy, i'm with you baby.  On both counts.

Excellent post Sandra. It is a struggle especially whilst introducing yourself.

Unike, I'm a banker, or I'm a lawyer, or I'm a doctor. I used to say, " I work for a Recruitment agency" and invariably the person would go, "er what?" now I simply say "I'm a Recruiter" - that gets a much better response.


ps - I'm from Australia and yes I agree with you Sandra, over 90% of the recruiters here say "I'm in Recruitment"

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