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HR Recruitment – The top 5 mistakes employers make

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HR Recruitment – The top 5 mistakes employers make when looking to fill an HR vacancy

In addition to our 20 years of HR outsourcing, we’ve recruited a lot of HR people for a lot of clients over the years, from top of the tree HRDs to HR administrators and internal recruiters.

In advance of taking on an HR vacancy our team will spend a lot of time forming an understanding of what the employer is looking for….the longest conversations are about HRBP positions in medium sized companies, usually of less than 300 employees, and normally when the HRBP will be the sole managerial HR role. Here’s our summary of the top mistakes larger SMEs make when looking for their ideal internal HR role.

Assuming that one role can cover everything

HR is a multi-disciplinary function, and it is rare to find an HR person who can expertly cover more than 1 key discipline – these include Reward, Employee Relations, Recruitment and Learning and Development. ‘Generalist’ roles, for example HR Business Partner or HR Advisor, may have none of these specialisms to any particular degree. Adverts seeking people to ‘lead our talent management and retention strategy and advise on a range of complex ER issues’ are a waste of time – in 30 years I’ve not met an individual who can do both of these things to any level of competence!

Not really knowing what is expected of HR

A lot of organisations don’t really know what HR is, and look to appoint an HR Manager (or similar title) because other employers of a similar size have one, or perhaps an investor suggests they should. Left to their own devices, HR Managers may head off in their own direction, delivering at best unexpected outcomes, and at worst unwelcome ones. In the first 3 months of this year, we’ve dealt with two cases where internal HR Managers lodged tribunal claims against their own employers, gathering evidence from emails designed to embarrass senior executives.

Not properly testing the experience of HR interviewees

HR people are generally quite good at being interviewed, so it’s very important to have a clear vision of what you expect the appointee to deliver, and then test this at interview and reference checking stages. Direct experience-based questions are great for separating those who have delivered from those who can waffle. It’s important employers are clear on what they expect HR to deliver for them before embarking on recruitment campaigns.

Filling an HR role with someone without proper HR experience or qualifications

As organisations grow, there will always be someone available who ‘could do HR’, largely because their bosses don’t know what else to do with them (and have an equally unclear view of what HR is). In the old days ‘personnel’ was a nice lady in an office with a box of tissues that employees could confide in (the lady, not the tissues), but that is a far cry from what HR is today and organisations following this route will miss out on the value that qualified HR can add, from reducing the risks of litigation, to driving strategies to underpin employee engagement, talent management, performance management and retention. Allowing an unqualified ‘spare’ employee to evolve into an HR role rarely produces good outcomes.

Not properly evaluating the possibility of outsourcing

HR is one of the most commonly outsourced functions and very many organisations at the smaller end of SMEs (generally defined as 10 – 500 people) should be outsourcing HR. As well substantial costs savings and headcount savings, a good quality outsource HR provider (like will be able to help define relevant HR objectives, which is an important start point for deciding between internal and outsourced HR. Care must be taken to select the right provider though– most of the well marketed ‘HR’ services are in reality a very narrow service delivering off the shelf templates & low-level HR process advice e.g. for disciplinaries. These services are identifiable from their call centres, insurance protection, face to face selling (which circumvents cooling off period laws) and the multi-year contracts they require. They are a far cry from HR outsourcing.

myHRdept are uniquely positioned in providing both quality HR outsourcing and HR recruitment services, helping clients find qualified HR staff, assessed against a well-defined specification.

HR support and HR recruitment from myHRdept

If you need help developing an HR agenda for your organisation, or are thinking of recruiting an HR person, myHRdept’s HR support services can help. With 20 years’ experience of HR outsourcing and recruiting for HR positions of all levels and across all sectors, we are uniquely positioned to objectively evaluate both options. As well as employing fully qualified employment solicitors, HR Advisors and HRBPs, we also have experienced HR Directors from major global companies, able to help you set your strategic HR goals.

If you’re thinking of outsourcing your HR or employment law needs, why not contact myHRdept? Call us on 01628 820515, email us at to discuss your requirements, or contact us via our website and we’ll call you back.

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