receives compensation from some of the companies listed on this page. Advertising Disclosure


Are You Hiring or Recruiting? The Difference and Why That Matters

Komal Dangi
Komal Dangi

Hiring and recruiting may sound the same, but they're different approaches to finding talent.

Hiring or recruiting … it's all the same, right? Not quite.

If you're a talent management professional, you already know just how important it is to get the right candidate in the right way. Though it may seem inconsequential at first glance, clarifying the difference between hiring and recruiting processes can, in fact, help you make the best choice for your organization.

When it comes to choosing between a hiring and recruitment process, context is everything. The right option for you will vary given your timeline, the level and expertise required for your new prospective employee, and how difficult it is to find someone with the right qualifications.

The loss of an employee is a huge expense that can cost an organization up to 30-50% of the departing individual's yearly salary, and this is why it's so essential to get the process right. Should you elect to use the same employee acquisition methods across the board, you may find yourself in a tight spot with wasted capital, poor selections or excessive amounts of lost time. Choose right and you'll be pleased with your results.

First, let's look at the basic differences between hiring and recruiting.

Hiring is a need fulfillment process, which loosely works like this:

  1. Your organization needs a new employee.
  2. A job is posted.
  3. Candidates apply.
  4. A candidate is selected.

Recruitment, however, is a long-term strategy that involves building and sustaining a pool of exceptional candidates so you can have options in place long before an opening appears.

While one process is not definitively better than the other, there are circumstances where hiring is preferable to recruiting, and vice versa. Let's dive deeper into some of the more detailed differences between hiring and recruiting to get a better lay of the talent management land.

Unique candidate pools

Before we cover the philosophical differences between hiring and recruiting, it's important to know what their candidate pools consist of.

The hiring pool

The hiring process starts with advertising (internally, externally or both) for a job position in reference to a vacancy at your company. Interested candidates apply, and the talent management team will proceed to select the best options from the applicant pool.

For lower-level and temporary positions, opting for the hiring process alone can work out well. Since these positions normally do not require specialized skills, more applicants may qualify for the advertised roles, and the interview process is generally less complicated.

Additionally, if a lower-level or temporary hire doesn't work out, letting them go likely won't make or break your business. Though it's not an ideal situation, your company should survive the setback. In other words, because there's less at stake for lower-level hires, the hiring process suits the situation just fine.

The recruiting pool

Those seeking permanent and long-term hires (especially for management or specialized positions), however, will likely be better served by choosing to recruit candidates rather than to simply follow the normal hiring process. Why? For starters, recruiters will help you find the right candidates for your most important positions, whether they're actively seeking new opportunities or not. You may get the chance to make the perfect candidate an offer they can't refuse even if they're already happily employed.

The recruiting process requires that you (or the agency you hire) create vast networks of talented candidates, including those who aren't currently on the job market. Rather than being limited to the individuals who apply, recruiters keep their eyes on the entire playing field.

One of the greatest benefits of using a recruiting pool is that top talent has already been vetted. Recruiters have pre-screened candidates and have a deeper sense of their talents, personality, drive, and working style than any resume can communicate alone.


A difference of perspective

At their most basic level, hiring and recruiting differ profoundly in their approaches to employee acquisition.

The hiring perspective

In short, hiring is a reactive employment approach that begins when an employee announces they're leaving the organization for another opportunity. Prior to the employee's notice, there's usually little to no preparation for their departure.

More likely than not, no potential replacements have been vetted, and HR and staffing professionals like you are under pressure to find a new employee as soon as possible. If you're unable to find a new employee in that timeframe, the organization may suffer. When a role goes unfilled, it can cost a company a hefty average of $500 per day!

If a subpar or unqualified employee is hired to fill the role, your business may face long-term consequences or be forced to restart the hiring process all over again. It's imperative not to succumb to desperation for a replacement.

The hiring process is not always the wrong one, though. Again, it's a great option if the position doesn't require much in the way of special skills, knowledge, experience or education. However, if the role is not easy to fill, you may wish to carefully reconsider your hiring versus recruiting perspective, or it may cost you in the end.

The recruiting perspective

Recruiting takes a more proactive approach to employment. HR and staffing professionals who take a recruitment perspective don't wait for an employee's departure to consider candidates.

If you utilize this perspective, you're always on the lookout for the right candidate for a role, and you don't just consider those who are on the job market. When taking this approach, you think big, asking who the ideal is candidate for a given role. You consider who the perfect change agent could be for your organization. Recruiting is about finding the right candidate – not just a body to fill a role.

Recruiting is all about advance preparation and making the best choices rather than simply waiting for an employee's exit to take action. It's an ongoing process, not a situational one.

Distinct logistics

Talent management professionals know that both the hiring and recruiting processes require major time and financial investment.

How the hiring process works

As soon as an employee gives notice, the hiring process begins. You must take these steps:

  1. Write job advertisements.
  2. Post the position on job boards.
  3. Seek network connections.
  4. Review resumes.
  5. Perform phone screenings.
  6. Proceed through multiple interviews.

All of this is done before you offer the job to the qualified candidate of your choice. Should no ideal candidate be available, you may need to repeat the process all over again.

How the recruiting process works

Recruiting begins long before an opening arises. With your talented pool of candidates already in hand, including those who aren't actively seeking new roles, you likely have top picks planned and pre-screened.

The recruiting process is a far more hands-on and active approach than hiring. You select ideal candidates rather than waiting for them to come to you, approaching them with an interview offer that piques their curiosity. Even if they're already employed, they may give you a chance if you play your cards right.

Seeing as recruitment is a long-term strategy, it's less time-focused than hiring. The process may begin long before a vacancy appears, and, in fact, recruiters are always on the hunt for candidates. Though this might seem excessive, it's often the key to finding, selecting and building a relationship with the perfect person for the job. When you're selecting candidates for upper-level roles that require decision-making, this well-planned approach is especially effective.

Both processes can absorb enormous amounts of time and require a great deal of organization. Whichever option you choose, it's recommended to use technological tools to streamline the required steps, saving you time and money in the long run. Luckily, there are excellent options for companies of all sizes.

How to simplify the hiring and recruiting process

By using talent management software like VeriKlick, companies may set certain hiring and recruiting tasks to perform automatically, hence cutting back on employee time investment and simplifying the hiring and recruiting processes.

Your hiring and recruiting documents should be stored in one easy location so there's no need to scramble around looking for a candidate's resume or a new employee's contract. You can keep interview schedules and vital candidate information organized and allow for efficient access with this form of technology in place. You may even require less staff to manage HR tasks.

Software for hiring and recruiting is ideal for improving your hiring ROI. In fact, by using talent management software, you can drastically reduce HR's onboarding time investment by up to 50%, thus reducing costs for your company with the following:

  • Electronic signatures
  • Document organization
  • Vacation management
  • Employee software access

In short, technology can save you precious time and money. Now that you know the differences between hiring and recruiting, consider adopting talent management software for your organization. You may find both your hiring and recruiting processes vastly improved.

Image Credit: fizkes / Getty Images
Komal Dangi
Komal Dangi Member
Komal Dangi is CEO of Synkriom lnc. a global IT staffing company that supports both on / offshore clientele and resources. Its patent-pending product, VeriKlick, is a web-based tool for use in the HR space that eliminates candidate bait-and-switch, fake resumes and increases hiring ROI.