The Difference Between A Human Resource Manager and a Hiring Manager

Here at the Recruit Shop Blog, we sometimes throw terms around without necessarily defining them for the broader audience. Since many of our clients are entrepreneurs, franchisees, and startups, it’s common to go into recruitment not always fully understanding the terminology.

One common area of confusion is the difference between a “human resource manager” and a “hiring manager.” Although the two terms can sometimes be used interchangeably in some companies, they can have very different meanings in others.

What is a Human Resource Manager?

Human resources is the department that handles all tasks as they relate to those that either currently work for your company, or may work for your company in the future. Just like an office supply manager would be in charge of office supplies, so too is a human resource manager in charge of humans as resources.
Their job encompasses a wide range of goals, and yes, hiring is often one of those goals:
• They recruit and hire staff for open positions
• They make sure that new employees have what they need.
• They make sure that existing employees have what they need.
• They make sure that each part of the company has the resource (person) they need.
• They make sure that employees are satisfied, handle employee complaints, and more.
Human resource managers are, as the name implies, the people in charge of the human resource department. Although they have many other roles, they do generally handle many hiring tasks, but they are not necessarily hiring managers.

What is a Hiring Manager?

Human resource managers have a specific title within the organisation. Hiring managers, on the other hand, can be anyone in the company at any time.

The hiring manager is the person at the workplace, generally a supervisor of some kind (although not necessarily), that is in charge of making the final decision on who to hire to replace ONE position. For example, if the IT department is looking for a new coder, then the head of IT may be the hiring manager for that job, as they are the final decision on who they want to add to their department.

The manager of the sales department may be the hiring manager for the new Sales Lead hire. The manager of marketing may be the hiring manager for the Social Media Specialist position. In theory, the hiring manager may not be a manager at all. Any employee within an organisation may considered the hiring manager if they are tasked with finding someone for an open position.

Hiring Managers and Human Resources

Human Resource managers may also be hiring managers, especially with large companies that depend almost exclusively on their HR departments. But since most applicant approval is left to someone in the department they will eventually work, that is often not the case.

Finally, the person in charge of finding and interviewing candidates may be called the hiring manager even if they are not the manager that makes the final decision. For example, if you are a department manager that has someone on your staff advertise the job, review resumes, interview, and then you are simply there for one final interview and approval, the person that did all the work was “managing the hiring” so they may be referred to as either “hiring manager” or “hiring staff” and the term is often interchangeable.

Hopefully, this clears up a bit of confusion between the terms. When we talk about recruitment, frequently we talk about the word “hiring manager” as a catch all for anyone on staff that is involved, because the tips and strategies are the same regardless of their actual title.

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