Among all the types of recruiters, human resources (HR) recruiters are perhaps the most often misunderstood. The title itself even seems a bit redundant. It makes things even more muddled that the phrase “HR recruiter” can refer to two totally different positions.

As someone who has worked in and around the HR industry for nearly 25 years, I’m accustomed to clearing up the confusion. What does an HR recruiter do? Here’s what you need to know:

Corporate/Internal HR Recruiters

The HR recruiter job description you’ll most often see is that of the corporate HR recruiter. As a job seeker, these are the folks with whom you have probably been in touch. Internal HR recruiters are employees of a company who source and hire talent for internal positions within that organization.

At senior levels, these HR recruiters develop recruitment strategies and plans as well as act as a connector between key internal and external contacts. Internally, these recruiters assess the company’s staffing needs by communicating with hiring managers and senior executives regarding what talent they need. Externally, they communicate regularly with university career officers, headhunters and candidates to ensure that the pipeline of talent is full and the right people can be tapped as needed. Additionally, senior HR recruiters may also handle contract negotiations.

More junior HR recruiters can be found at career fairs and conferences actively interacting with candidates of all levels. They are less involved with strategic planning and more involved with the day-to-day activities of recruitment including screening resumes, organizing interviews, checking references and conducting initial interviews with candidates.

Recruiters of HR Talent

So how do those internal recruiters land their jobs? Well, they are often tapped by the second type of HR recruiter, which is where my expertise lies. HR recruiters, like those at Lucas Group and other executive recruitment companies, source and place talent for HR departments.

However, we don’t just source candidates for internal human resources recruiter jobs. HR recruiters like myself work with all types of HR professionals. Human resources departments have a vast range of responsibilities including developing their company’s personnel and executing hiring strategy through training, retention and succession planning; executing total rewards strategy through compensation and benefits; managing employee and labor relations; as well as executing contracts, managing payroll, overseeing new employee orientation and ensuring compliance with labor and safety laws.

Recruiting HR professionals is similar to many other industries in the sense that there are just as many technical skills involved as, for instance, in accounting or computer programming. In fact, HR professionals need to be well-rounded in these areas and more. We seek out candidates who have excellent professional experience including exceptional organizational skills, social skills and the ability to handle sensitive situations efficiently and tactfully.

Human resources professionals play a key role in setting the tone of a company’s culture so it’s essential that we as recruiters identify the right personalities for these roles. It’s this unique element of HR recruiting that many of us find the most interesting.

Do you think either type of HR recruiting could be a career path for you? Leave a note in the comments below: