The Difference Between A Recruiter, A HR And A Hiring Manager

You get a call from a recruiter, not just any recruiter but THE RECRUITER from your dream company on the dream job you have applied for.

But before you throw caution to the wind, mind you, the recruiter might not even work in the company but belongs to an organization that headhunts for talent.

Not to pour cold water on you, the challenge doesn’t end here.

A recruiter or a recruiting company can only get your resume in the door of the iron cast HR door of your dream company thus far.

So what is the difference between them, the HR and the hiring manager?



They source for talents all over the world, whether it is through networking sessions like job conferences or online platforms like LinkedIn. They can help to tidy up your resume in hopes that you get selected for the job. When you do get hired, they get a commission out of it as well. They are likely to brief you on the company’s expectations and how to score their interviews. You became their product that they need to market and sell you to the company.

Human Resources

They are the ones that liaise and engage the recruitment and headhunting companies. And they are the ones who will screen through thousands resumes. I don’t envy them actually. They narrow down the resumes into a selected few, usually less than 10 before passing them to the hiring manager. Sometimes, they will use algorithms software to eliminate those that don’t fit the criteria.

Depending what requirements they feed into the system, usually, those who don’t make the first cuts are qualifications or lack of it then comes experience. Sometimes, they may even indicate what school they want their candidates to graduate from. Sound unfair? It is. But when you have thousands of application for 1 position, this is inevitable. However, I have worked in a company that screen thousands of resumes by human eyes because they don’t believe the value of qualifications and experience equates to good employees and for that I applaud them.

Hiring Manager

And then the resumes land on my desk. I’ll screen through the 10 resumes and prepare to provide feedback to the HR. At this stage, sometimes we get the HR to conduct the first interview by phone and either we sit in and listen silently or we get a recorded version of the phone call. From the 10, we will cut down to half.

5 of the applicants will be scheduled for the face to face interview. Depending on the severity and ranking of the roles applied for, we might have several rounds within the same day or schedule different days. I usually like to schedule all in one day because I know interviewees need to take off days to come in and it doesn’t seem fair if I get them to come on 3 different days, with the end result not choosing them.


Again, depending on the position applied for, it might be a group interview where it is 1 interviewer versus a group of candidates or a group of interviewers versus 1 candidate. I’ve conducted and experience both of the types whether as an interviewer or interviewee.

Next up, is the one to one with the hiring manager. Sometimes I like to pull in another manager with me just to have a different angle to the interview. He or she might observe things that I missed out during the interview.

Finally, it will narrow down to the final two and if there are any doubts, this is the time where the department head (erhm, my boss) will step in and conduct the final interview.

Once we selected the incumbent, it doesn’t end here. A good company will require a hiring manager to provide solid reasons to HR on those 9 applications that did not make the cut. Solid reasons do not include “I don’t like how he looks.” or “She’s too old for the job.” So that HR can bring the feedback to the recruitment agencies and let them know what are the areas for improvement and to align our company’s expectations on candidates.

Even with that one candidate we selected, the pay package might not meet his expectations and he turned down the offer. We might just need to fall back on the second choice instead of going through the whole process, which is time-consuming and resource draining.

I hope this article will throw some light to the newly graduated and those who are on a job hunt. This is also why companies may take a longer time to finally call you for an interview. The job you are applying for may just have a thousand applicants vying for it as well.

Do you find this useful? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

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