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COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

Talent Acquisition is NOT a Function of Human Resources

By September 2, 2021September 7th, 2021No Comments

One of the biggest mistakes organizations make with talent acquisition is they think it is a function of Human Resources. It’s not.

Talent acquisition is as much an HR function as fundraising is a function of the finance department. Fundraising is responsible for attaining the assets for the organization. Finance manages the funds obtained by your fundraising team. The same can be said of the relationship between talent acquisition and human resources. The only difference is the type of asset – monetary versus people.

Let’s think about all the things that our HR teams must do:

  • Ensure employee engagement and alignment to the business goals
  • Coaching/mentoring management
  • Career pathing/career development
  • Training
  • Onboarding
  • Culture development and maintenance
  • Retention
  • Compliance and reporting
  • Benefits administration
  • Managing employee relations
  • Managing diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives
  • Overseeing compensation

All these functions equate to maximizing the employee experience once people are hired and on the team. Again, like how finance works to maximize the fiscal resources once they are brought into the organization.

The role of the talent acquisition team is to attract people to the organization and ultimately make sure the selected people join. This requires skills most closely aligned with a fundraising function.

Talent acquisition must:

  • Advertise
  • Network
  • Market the organizational brand
  • In some cases, convince people to decide to join the organization
  • Negotiate terms and conditions for people’s investment to join the organization
  • Build long-term strategies for candidate pipelines, future hiring needs and the overall growth plan for aligning business strategy with the strategy for hiring

These are all functions that align with and require the skills of fundraising professionals. So, why does talent acquisition become a function of human resources? Typically, it comes down to a lack of understanding of the function and cost. Many HR professionals not only do not enjoy working in talent acquisition but do not have the skill set much less the bandwidth.

In terms of cost, the volume of a few hires a year may not warrant the FTE expense. If this reality rings true, organizations should consider utilizing a consultant or part-time employee. It is no secret the cost of making the wrong hire and there is plenty of work that can be done outside of recruitment because it is only one facet of talent acquisition.

As you think about organizational structure and defining roles, it is important to think not only about capacity but also capability and effectiveness. As such, even if the case cannot be made for an FTE for talent acquisition, leverage other resources for people who specialize in talent acquisition. Remember the people who bring in your funds are not the same people who manage it; just as the staff who bring in your employees should not be the same people who manage them.


To discuss your talent acquisition concerns and needs, contact HR services at any time.

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