Stop Thinking of HR as Customer Service

In yesterday’s Advisor, recruiting expert Jeremy Eskenazi, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, CMC, offered his “Recruiting Rocks” tips. Today we’ll discuss why he thinks recruiting should not be a customer service function.

Some think HR should think of itself as a customer service organization, but Eskenazi says this is not the case. Recruiting professionals should not consider themselves customer service professionals, he insists. Why? Because, says Eskenazi, HR:

  • Is not a vendor,
  • Has “skin in the game,” and is part of the company,
  • Is a partner in the company’s success,
  • Has the ability to say “No” when appropriate, and
  • Is not in charge of hiring talent.

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If HR is not customer service, what is it? “We are consultants,” Eskenazi says. He goes on to express that:

  • We must view ourselves and our peers as experts in our areas of expertise.
  • We must convey that expertise through deeds and actions.
  • We must stay on top of trends in our profession.
  • We must be willing to take a stand and back it up.
  • We must be willing to back down if we have made our point and it is not accepted.

Eskenazi offers this helpful table to differentiate between a customer service (or order-taker) orientation, and a consultant orientation, and how these two orientations interact with the hiring manager (HM).

Customer Service—
The Order-Taker

The Consultant

Believes everything the HM tells him or her

Proceeds with attitude of “friendly skepticism,” but asks the tough or intelligent questions

Wants to be liked by the HM

Wants to get the HM great talent

Will get the HM what he or she wants

Will get the HM what he or she needs

Thinks it’s impossible or inappropriate to say “No” to the HM

Understands that sometimes saying “No” is part of what makes a good consultant

(Adapted from: Corporate Executive Board)

Project Management Project Management is the new “power” skill for recruiting and staffing professionals. Because we don’t really control our recruiting process, we “project manage” or facilitate it. Even some recruiting and staffing professionals are getting certified as a Project Management Professional (PMP) from the Project Management Institute (

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