Nurturing The Bond Between HR and Talent Acquisition

Human Resources and your Talent Acquisition team often make up two reluctant sides of the same coin. Whilst the crossover between these departments is inevitable, it is not always to the benefit of your staff - especially if there is friction between the two parties. As a leader, it is important that you find a way of bringing balance to the office, by carefully managing and integrating both.


Talent Acquisition differs from recruitment in the sense that it is a continuous, ongoing process. Whilst recruiters hire candidates for specific vacancies, the talent acquisition team looks to pool talent from a myriad sources, in order to find employees that might benefit your company both today and in the future. Because of this HR and TA often end up reporting on very similar tasks.


Problems tend to occur when one side feels they are receiving less recognition than the other for their work. Learning to delegate and collaborate effectively can be an invaluable skill for hiring managers. If your HR team is able to work in harmony with TA, then your chances of securing quality talent are automatically increased.


The first thing you need to establish is the working dynamic between you and the leaders of both teams. If you’ve made educated hires, then these leaders should have the qualities needed to function effectively under your instruction. In either field, a strong leader will be able to contribute and challenge ideas, without pushing the boundaries to breaking point. If the heads of both the HR and TA department are able to bring these skills to the table, then you are unlikely to have any major issues to deal with.


However, in reality, you’ll usually find that one leader will look to dominate the other. Both will want to prove that they are the most integral cog in the recruitment machine and, unfortunately, this is where friction can occur. HR tend to work more closely with the hiring manager on a day to day basis, since they are the ones who will look to integrate new talent into the workplace. Talent Acquisition will therefore receive a lot of their instruction from the leader of HR, in regards to how they handle the recruitment process.


If you’re not careful, this will result in a power shift, leaving your TA leader at the mercy of HR. Ensuring you regularly touch base with Talent Acquisition will help alleviate this problem and will also give you a better understanding of the approach they are taking. Avoid leaning towards one leader for support and arrange routine meetings with both departments. As long as you remain clear on the role of each hiring leader, there should be no need for the two teams to clash.


Managing Conflicting Egos and Approaches


With any overlap in interest, there is bound to be conflict. Since TA and HR spend so much of their time working towards similar goals, any difference in opinion has the potential to cause aggravation. Your are unlikely to find two professionals with identical attitudes and methods and, in many respects, this wouldn’t lead to progression anyway. Discussion and debate is healthy, as long as it doesn’t result in acrimonious relationships.


In a worst case scenario, you might find that your fastidious HR leader embodies all the attributes that rub your TA leader up the wrong way. Unless you step in and take control of the situation, productivity levels will continue to fall, as the two departments repeatedly fail to see eye to eye. Whilst it’s naive to believe you can change your employees’ personalities, you can help them find common ground.


Often conflict can stem from a misunderstanding of each other’s role. Your HR department may envy the praise your TA team receives for their hard work, because they don’t appreciate exactly what they can offer. Outlining everything you expect both departments to achieve from the very beginning of the process can prevent any confusion. If your plans change over the course of the year, then make sure you inform everyone involved as soon as possible. There’s nothing worse than keeping your HR practitioners in the dark, whilst your TA team appear to undermine all their progress. Since the two roles are so intricately linked, there’s no reason why you should share information with one, without sharing it with the other.


The workplace always has the capacity to be rife with tension. After all, you’re attempting to manage human beings, not cattle. But, realising this can help you better understand the needs of the people who work for you. Remaining as transparent and conscientious as possible will negate rising conflict in most circumstances. However, should relationships between HR and TA begin affecting the quality of their work, it could be time to step in and ensure that everyone is reading from the same page.


Ron Stewart has worked in the recruitment industry for 30 years, having owned companies in the IT, Construction and Medical sectors. He is currently running the medical jobsite, Jobs4Medical, helping medical staff find careers both in the UK and abroad.

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Comment by Philip Marks on March 28, 2016 at 2:31pm
Talent acquisition I nearly almost from a background of external 3Rd party Recruitment. Ask anything third party Recruitment review on HR it's generally pretty negative and avoid them at all costs as they slow the process down. Incidently this is not my opinion necessarily. However there is a historical and Legacy effect which perpetuates some of the differences in the two departments working side by side. There does appear to be a cultural divide in the DNA of both as well that said I enjoy working both internally and ext with Solid HR !


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