Recruiting Belongs Under Finance

There was a blog posting by David Lynn recently here on ERE that asked where recruiting belonged: under HR?

I could feel the blood rushing into my fingers as I answered: “I have strong feelings about this. It belongs under finance with a leg into biz dev and mergers & acquisitions as well.”

And it does.

Here’s why:

Recruiting is such a vital function in an organization because it touches every person in that organization. Not every department can be said to do this. We all know a company is as good as its people.

Recruiting belongs under finance because it is basically a competitive intelligence function.

Yes, recruiting involves talking to people in the outside world, and if you’re doing it right you’re gathering intelligence along the way. I suspect applications like could be very useful in these maneuvers, but I am talking out of school because I am not using it (yet). But any application that could capture (and distribute) the notes, thoughts, and facts that any contributor in the company enters regarding a particular candidate would be wildly useful as an “M&A” tool.

“He said money seems tight around his company and he’s worried moving forward about the viability of his position.”

If I was working as an M&A professional (and I have) I would look at that and think, “Hmmm…I wonder if they’re having cash-flow problems.”

I’d then take a look at the company in question (if it was a competitor and I was tasked with finding objects to buy) and do a preliminary inquiry into the company’s possible availability.

“Hello Mrs. CFO. This is Maureen Sharib. I am with XYZ and our desire to grow is why I am calling you. Could we maybe have a conversation around a possible partnership between our two companies?”

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Putting it like that belies the fact that I know they’re having cash-flow problems, or at least something is going on inside her company that is making their employees think so. A gentle knock on her door but an opening for discussion, nevertheless.

I’d approach finance first because, after all, this is the drive engine of the company. She’s going to be consulted anyway in an event like this, so why not include her from the get-go and make friends early? Let it be her idea taking it to her boss.

Reporting up through finance makes sense for business development as well.

“He’s frustrated with the technology inside his company. Doesn’t feel they’re keeping up.”

Wow. If I was working in business development and had something I could sell to this company, I’d sit up straight and immediately pull Hoover’s up for contact information, and then I’d call.

“Hello, Purchasing. This is Maureen Sharib and I have a technology product that could change your employees’ attitudes towards their jobs.”

Let Purchasing walk with the glory. You just made a sale.

This isn’t brain surgery and appears to me to be common sense. What does it appear to you as?

Maureen Sharib has been a “Socratic sourcer” her entire sourcing career; from the moment she first picked up the faxed list of Silicon Valley high-tech companies that was her target list to “phone source” in 1996 to today she has instinctively followed this method of investigative sourcing using (mostly) the telephone.  She is a proponent of sourcing as a synonym for success and envisions the craft moving away from a dangerously drudgery-paced life-form existence to an exciting investigative/competitive place within organizations where practitioners co-exist within a framework of market research, human resources, and C-level future planning. She owns the phone sourcing and competitive intelligence firm, Inc. You can contact her at Maureen at or call her at (513) 646-7306.  If she’s not on the phone she’ll pick up!