It’s undeniable: jobs change… and the names we give them too! And as you can imagine, not everybody is in the same boat. Let’s start with the lucky ones: Human Resources Directors. 60 years ago, they were called “Personnel Managers”. This title was somewhat limited in its implications and had some very administrative connotations. Yet, from this far-from-illustrious job title, those who currently do this job have now a title that has evolved in such a way that it can inspire envy and provoke true vocations. Human Resources Director – a position that is perceived as strategic and which includes skills management, professional development, etc. And “Personnel” has been replaced with “Human Resources”.
HR Directors are, in the eyes of us recruiters, somewhat privileged. Take the term “placement agency”. If by “agency” one means an intermediary in the service sector (as in real estate or insurance), when it comes to the word “placement”, one thinks more of logistics than recruitment, completely dehumanising our profession. In other words, we are allegedly salespeople with the responsibility of putting the right peg in the right hole.
But that’s not all: we are also called “Recruitment Offices”. Here, the image conveyed is completely different! “Office” evokes a place where a professional works (lawyers, solicitors, architects…). In our collective memory, it suggests distance and a significant social barrier. When one adds the term recruitment, which comes from military jargon, the image becomes even more curious. We become professionals who are highly skilled at enlisting soldiers for clients.
We become professionals who are highly skilled at enlisting soldiers for clients.
… I’ll deliberately pass over the fanciful term of “head hunter”, as I refuse to consider our candidates as game and our consultants as poachers.
I therefore feel duty-bound to put things straight once and for all and to claim, as our HR Director friends did before us, a title that corresponds to our importance. Let’s then recapitulate the fundamentals of our profession. We are here to find the best collaborators for our clients: persons possessing a complex array of skills, their own personality and a unique identity. They must integrate a specific culture, fit into a team that has as many personalities as it has members, and do a job that complements that of those already present.
And all this we do through an evaluation of the person’s history, an analysis of what characterises him/her today and a projection of the potential he/she will represent tomorrow. And if that were not already enough, we intervene so that all these people will succeed in co-habiting, with the objective of building what we call today a company’s “human capital”, just like an architect builds a project.
Can we honestly describe this role using terms like “placement agency” or “recruitment office”? Here are a few new nominations I would like to propose to you today. How about: “Team Architect” or “Human Capital Builder”? They seem pretty enhancive to me! “Recruitment business partner” would bring us a little closer to you. And seen from another angle, we could be called “Career Path Designer”, “Opportunity Maker” or even “Career Agent”. And you, what name would you choose?