Hiring vs Recruiting: Differences Explained

by Sandra Jenkins

As an HR manager, you can’t afford to be unclear. Miscommunication is not only financially costly – it can also result in lost time and wasted efforts.

That’s why defining terms is extremely important within the workplace. Take hiring and recruiting, for instance. Although these two terms are often used interchangeably, they have some key differences that would do you well to learn.

In this article, we’ll discuss hiring vs recruiting and how they differ from each other.

Hiring vs Recruiting: How Do They Differ?

Hiring and Recruiting: How Do They Differ?

To say it simply, hiring is the process of taking a candidate to fill a job vacancy, while recruiting is the process of finding candidates and getting them to apply for a position at your company.

As mentioned above, hiring and recruiting are two terms within the HR sphere that many people tend to use interchangeably.

However, they actually have stark differences.

For one, hiring is a one-time process. After a job vacancy has been filled and there are no other vacancies, hiring is already finished. Recruiting, on the other hand, is an ongoing process that continues even if a company doesn’t have any job vacancies.

This means that you can look at hiring as a short-term event vs a long-time strategy like recruitment.

Feeling confused? In the next sections, we’ll talk about these two in more detail.


When a company says that they’re hiring, it means that they’re actively looking for someone to fill an open position.

For jobseekers, this means that there’s a chance that they might get to work for this company. For managers, this means that they’ll be setting interview schedules and meeting with potential hires.

If HR fails to hire a new employee within a particular time frame, the company may suffer in terms of lost productivity. That’s because failing to hire means failing to fill an open position – and an unfilled position means that a company is operating at a lower efficiency.

As a result, it can cost a company extra money. According to an article by LinkedIn, unfilled positions cost businesses around the world a total of $8.5 trillion in unrealized revenues per annum.

Therefore, companies who are hiring have to set a deadline that they have to reach in order to minimize potential losses. This is different from recruiting, wherein there’s no particular deadline that has to be met.


Unlike hiring, recruiting simply means finding the best talent that you can possibly have at your company.

In addition to this, unlike hiring, recruiting is a never-ending process. Even when there’s no vacant position right now, as an HR manager, you always have to prepare for the unexpected. In case an employee files their two-week notice, having an ongoing recruitment effort means that you won’t be caught off-guard without a perspective replacement.

This is why recruiting involves constantly improving your company reputation, increasing awareness of your brand, and selling the concept of your working at your company to other professionals in your industry.

Once you find people who you think can do the job, you can network with them and make sure that they’re within your reach should anything happen. If you ever end up needing a new employee in the near future, these valuable connections will prevent you from having to scramble to find a replacement.

Candidate Pool: Hiring vs Recruiting

Candidate Pool: Hiring vs Recruiting

Speaking of connections, your candidate pool tends to differ depending on whether you’re hiring or recruiting.

This section will discuss the difference between a hiring pool and a recruiting pool, also known as a recruitment pool or a talent pool.

Hiring Pool

Your hiring pool typically consists of interested and available applicants who are willing to apply for a position at your company at the drop of a hat.

Take note of the keyword: available. All candidates in your hiring pool should be available right at this very moment.

No matter how good someone is at their job or how fantastic of a person they are, if they’re currently tied to another commitment or contract, they can’t possibly be in your hiring pool. Only candidates who, in case you decide to hire them tomorrow, are ready to start work should be included in your list.

Recruiting Pool

Since recruitment is a long-term strategy, your recruiting pool doesn’t have to consist of only available applicants.

Of course, the first requirement is still their interest – after all, you can’t convince someone to join your company if they’re not interested in the first place.

However, even passive job seekers or candidates who are still working for another company at the moment can be included in your recruiting pool. The only thing you have to do is to reach out to them and confirm that, if a certain position opens up at your company, they’ll be interested in applying for the said position.

Why is this distinction important? Simply put, not including great but unavailable candidates in your recruiting pool is nothing but a disservice to you. What if they no longer have a job when a position at your company opens up? What if they’re unhappy at their job and are willing to transfer to something better? What if you can sway them with a higher salary or bigger benefits?

If you limit yourself to only those who are available right now and don’t widen your recruiting pool, you’ll definitely miss out on a lot of things.

Besides, by limiting yourself to only available candidates, you’re basically ignoring one of the main differences between hiring vs recruiting pools.

Differences Between the Hiring Process and the Recruitment Process

Differences Between the Hiring Process and the Recruitment Process

The difference between hiring vs recruiting extends to the actual process, as well.

This section will talk about how the hiring process differs from the recruitment process, no matter how similar they may seem.

The Hiring Process

The hiring process typically begins with a job ad or job post for an open position at your company.

Once the job description has been posted on your chosen platform, be it a job board, a social media site, or something similar, the next step is to wait for interested applicants to apply.

Assessment and selection will follow after. As an HR manager, your role is to find the best candidate for the job, with all the qualities and skills needed to get the work done. This is especially true for higher-level positions.

For entry-level positions and temporary positions, though, hiring may be less stringent, but they still have to go through the same process.

At the same time, you don’t have to rush when hiring for lower-level positions since it leaving them unfilled for a bit longer shouldn’t cost the company as much.

The Recruitment Process

The recruitment process begins even before you start hiring – in fact, it should begin even before a job vacancy opens up at your company.

As mentioned previously, you should ideally already have a talent pool to pick candidates from in case an emergency situation arises. To save time, you can also already have these candidates pre-screened and pre-assessed.

It doesn’t matter if they’re still employed by their current company – if they make a great fit for yours, you should keep their contact information within arm’s reach so that you can easily reach them once a vacancy opens up.

Keep in mind, a good recruiter is always on the lookout for top talent. While this may seem too much for some, the truth is that you can never have too many good candidates. Especially when you’re hiring for high-level positions, you have to be certain that you’re making the best decision for the company.

Knowing the Difference Between Hiring vs Recruiting

Hiring and recruiting are two of the most important tasks in HR. They both require a great deal of time and effort to pull off, and they both result in tremendous rewards when done correctly.

With the right hiring and recruitment strategies, as well as the best tools to automate your tasks, you can have a more efficient, productive, and talented workplace in no time at all!

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