Recruiters vs. HR Generalists

by Steve McDonnell, Demand Media
    Recruiters use traditional advertising and social media to recruit candidates.

    Recruiters use traditional advertising and social media to recruit candidates.

    The Human Resources function has a generalist and a specialist career path. Generalists are typically aligned with business units to provide direct support to employees and to implement policies, programs and procedures. Specialists are usually part of a central HR group that supports all business units. They have deep knowledge in a particular area of HR, such as recruiting. Generalists provide input to corporate specialists who create the policies, programs and procedures that generalists implement.

    HR Generalist

    An HR generalist provides direct support to employees and managers for HR issues. Generalists have broad knowledge of most human resource areas but may not have a specialty in any one area. As they encounter issues that require more specialized knowledge, generalists get advice or assistance from a specialist in a corporate HR group or from an outside consulting firm.

    Recruiter

    A recruiter helps bring the right talent into an organization. Recruiters gain an understanding of the types of skills and competencies needed to fill vacant positions. They develop a network of sources for candidates and use traditional advertising and social media to locate candidates who are a good fit with the role and the company. Recruiters usually screen prospective employees so a hiring manager spends time interviewing only qualified candidates.

    Field HR Staff

    An HR generalist usually supports a business unit and is physically located with the business unit employees rather than with corporate HR staff. Generalists develop a thorough understanding of a unit's business strategies and priorities and provide input on corporate policies and programs from a business unit perspective. Generalists sometimes have a dual or matrix reporting relationship to both unit business and HR leaders.

    Functional Recruiters

    A recruiter is often part of a corporate HR group that provides specialized support, usually to management, across all business units. Many recruiters have or develop a specialty in a particular functional area, such as information technology, to gain a greater technical understanding of job duties and skills. Recruiters with expertise in a functional area recruit employees for that area across the entire organization.

    About the Author

    Steve McDonnell began writing and speaking nationally in 1987. He has authored chapters for the "Foundation Series Go-To Guide" for International Human Resource Information Management and for the "West Compensation Guide" from Thomson Reuters. He also blogs for Trends and Outliers, Tibco Spotfire's business intelligence blog. McDonnell has a Bachelor of Arts in computer science from Dartmouth College.

    Photo Credits

    • Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images