Got a question from an Egyptian MBA student in Germany  (yup, that’s right – I’ve gone international thanks to Xing – love that site).

Here’s the Q, and then the A.  (Just in context, I’m inclined to view human resources and recruiting as pretty clearly separate – there’s overlap, of course, but more along the lines of the overlap that happens when sales lines up a contract and then hands it off to finance to set the client up in AR, etc).

> Hello M. Burns,
> i am an MBA student in germany. I am egyptian, and i am in the
> process of chossing the major within MBA studies.
> I would like to ask you for advice concerning the 2 fields Human
> Resources Management & Marketing. Actually i am interested in Human
> Resources Management field, but i am afraid i can not find an
> internship and job in the near future.
> from your experiences what would you advise me to do? and how do you
> see the H.R.M. field in the work areana?
> I would like to thank you in advance.
> kind regards,
> maha

Hi Maha – Thanks for the question.  I’m going to post this whole thing to my blog – https://recruiter.wordpress.com, since I think it’s a great inquiry.

Actually, I think it would be interesting if you could define your major so that it bridged marketing and HR, and geared up to become a Recruiter instead of an HR-type (they’re actually very distinct disciplines as we’re discovering on this side of the pond).   Here’s why: the best organizations (ZoomInfo, Google, etc) are very smart about how they attract and retain their talent.  This means they’ve turned traditional HR concepts on their heads, and look at it like this – view your open positions as products you’re trying to “sell”, and the overall culture of the organization as it’s “brand”.  So, you have a marketing message and a product line. You define a marketing campaign geared at driving interest in working at your organization.  You use a Web-based applicant tracking system to capture potential “clients” (job applicants0, and then assess how “hot” the lead is (i. e., how qualified the candidate is).  From there, you bring in the prospect (think of it as a sales call where the potential client comes to you), market the role the them (at the same time, they’re marketing themselves to you – it’s weird, I know).  Make an offer, negotiate terms & contracts (this is where it gets more like biz-dev, because you’re looking at bartering of services and knowledge, with some cash mixed in, and you’re setting up an exclusive partnership), and close the deal.  It’s a classic lead-gen driven sales process, from start to finish.  Frankly, it’s like an entire business cycle, and various steps along the way can be easily related to most aspects of business.  The one area that is touched on the lightest – ironically – is Operations and Finance.  You’ll get involved setting up salary and benefits, and possibly some logistics around IT & office set-up, but not much accounting beyond that.  You’ll spend more time thinking like a marketer and sales person – and yet, until things change, you’ll probably wind up being part of Operations.  Just a hold-over from the traditional habit of shoving Recruiting into HR.

Traditional HR doesn’t think like this, which is a shame – when you look closely at the most successful organizations (the top 5% in any industry), you’ll almost invariably find out that those firms look at recruiting as a sales and marketing driven role, and not a reactive, operational one.  They may not consciously define it this way – or even break it out of HR – but when you look at how they operate you’ll see the diference.  They’ll be strategic, proactive, and creatve in how they drive talent into the organization.