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).

Views: 1200

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

I am engaged in the the science of 'recruitment' by practicing the art of 'recruiting', therefore I AM A 'RECRUITER'. 


I am British - Canadian, worked around the globe (internationally) managing 'Talent' operationally to meet companies strategic goals.   Oh Yes!  I was an Engineer who moved into Personnel Management rather than HR.

No need to worry about "Recruitment" anymore, we're now all in "Talent Acquisition." Not to be confused with the Talent Acquisition people that book dog acts for variety shows.
I knew this was going to send the Brits into a tail spin. You folks have always used the term recruitment so you won't see the humor. The point Simon is that just recently the term "recruitment" has started to show up in the U.S along with a whole bunch of other high blown titles. To a lot of us here it sounds stilted and is being used by a lot of people to make themselves sound more important.

I don't hear "staffing agent" much but to me the connection there is someone who places temps or contractors. Normally in the US internal recruiters have been known as such except the ones who don't think they ever recruited anything but "talented" people and watt to be on the cutting edge of the trendy jargon du journey.

@Tracey, love it. Expect that to show up on some marketer's business card any minute.
@CB you and Popeye the Sailorman.

@Susan, I have been known to call myself the Dowager Empress of recruiting AKA, The Dowag.

@tami, Hi Tami, Thanks for joining us. You will get all the support here you need to recover. :)

@Will, says it all with no bull.

@Bill, glad you got a smile. Time wasted defining what we do or what we call ourselves is just that. Time wasted on confusion is time that doesn't need to be wasted. Everybody knows what recruiter means.

@Debbie Being proud of what we are and what we do negates the need for some high blown title. I bet you are a good recruiter and trainer. You go girl.
I recruit therefore I am.
@Jerry, I think you may be correct. Twitter started the whole silly mess. Strategy or Stragic as opposed to......never mind.
Welcome Sean, I love that name, welcome aboard. There are thousands of nice people here (and a few old soreheads).

Not suggesting that anyone should change what they are called in their country but if it makes you feel better to be a recruiter doing recruiting do it. Might find it is a bit of a warmer approach. :).
@Crispin How totally Zen of you :). Ain't it fun. I recruit, ipso,ergo,therefore I am not.


(Latin: a suffix; result of, means of, act of; place of action)

The suffix -meant is a final word element derived through Middle English and French from the Latin suffix -ment(um), originally used to form agent and action nouns from verbs, now used to form nouns and denominative verbs in several related senses:

  1. "An action, process, or skill" denoted by the combining root: rearmament, tournament, management.
  2. "A result, object, or agent of an action" named by the joining root: entombment, enthrallment, agreement.
  3. "The means or instrument of an action": implement, medicament, reinforcement.
  4. "The place of an action" named by the first root: battlement, ambushment, settlement.
  5. "A state or condition" specified by the first root: bewilderment, predicament, bereavement.

The verb combinations show no change in basic form: cement, compliment, lament.

Principal parts: -menting, -mented, -mented.

Related forms: -mentum (singular); -menta, -menti, -ments (plurals).


I do like the word Recruitment for describing the overall function, but not for the people doing it, who are best termed " Recruiters".    It's way better than "Talent Acquisition", which is the WORST.   

Thank you Poindexter for your enlightment of the subject at hand.  It seems that there is some bewilderment as to the predicament my lament has cemented into the minds of some who wish to implement recruitment as a substitment for recruiting.  I might agree with you that recruitment might describe a function but my take is that recruiting is an active verb where recruitment might be a passive function after all.  So if we are to be called recruiters it would seem that we would be doing recruiting as in a manager who is in the management function damn well better be "managing" or he won't be in management very long.


I totally aree that "Talent Acquisition" sucks buttermilk.  I always want to ask those peeps what happens if you acquire (i hate that word in regard to hiring or recruiting people) three in a row that are not talented?  Do they then

change your title to "Loser smoozer".  None of us acquire people, not since slavery was abolished.

@ Luke  You said it i didn't.  "the act or process of recruiting".  There's that word ending in "ing" again.  The point here is that semantics have bastardized our industry since the dawn of time.  My tax return still describes my profession as a "personnel consultant".  The reason being that the IRS has a computer system that flags changes in professions.  I don't want those peeps to get upset about anything or question stuff so i leave it alone.  But as you said, the act is recruiting not recruitment.  Thanks for the clarification.


It's been a long time since i described myself as a "personnel consultant".  That is because when i quit charging candidates a fee i became a recruiter.  If there is a change in what we do it might be prudent to change our title.

Ha, I guess my inexperience is showing because I believe I have called it recruitment quite a few times. Oh well, we learn things as we go I suppose. Fun read!


I wish I had as much comments as you in all my blogs Sandra! Ha!

Reply to Discussion



All the recruiting news you see here, delivered straight to your inbox.

Just enter your e-mail address below


RecruitingBlogs on Twitter

© 2024   All Rights Reserved   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Privacy Policy  |  Terms of Service