There is some debate, especially at start-ups and SME’s, as to who is responsible for the recruiting of new employees into the business. In larger organisations there is usually a set process in place which can be followed easily, however in smaller organisations the internal resources can be limited and therefore such processes don’t always exist.

Regardless of an organisations size it is very important to understand who is responsible for what, when recruiting. The war for talent is more prominent now than it has ever been, and candidate experience can be a huge factor in the decision-making process for job seekers, so organisations cannot afford to get this wrong.

It is first important to understand the main advantages that each party brings to the process:


  • Continuity across the business
  • Recruitment skills and experience
  • Smooth process from first contact through to onboarding and beyond
  • Free up time for line managers to complete their own day to day tasks

Line Manager

  • Knowledge of the role and its requirements
  • Ability to form a personal connection and ensure a personality fit
  • Best placed to make the decision on who to hire

As you can see from the above, in order to perfect the candidate experience throughout the recruitment process, both HR and the Line Manager have a very important role to play. Without HR there is a lack of continuity across the business, which can lead to a disjointed recruitment process and problems further down the line with organisational culture and employee engagement.

In short, the HR function should be responsible for the organisation and logistical side of the process. HR should define the process, with the candidate experience in mind, and manage the candidate(s) and line manager through this to ensure it is as smooth as possible for everyone involved.

In terms of the line managers influence, this comes into play when defining the responsibilities of the role, identifying the correct personality fit and giving the candidate(s) a personal touch during the process (predominantly at interview stage).

There is clearly no one best practice to perfect the recruitment process, especially when you consider the difference in internal resources from organisation to organisation. There are several variables to think about when allocating the time of HR and the line manager and putting the organisations own stamp on the process, such as:

  • Who makes the offer to a candidate?
  • Do we involve HR in the face to face interviews?
  • Who conducts the pre-screen call (if at all)?
  • Who creates the shortlist?

Ultimately from the business’s perspective, it should be the line managers decision on who gets hired, with HR providing them with all the information and tools they need to make this decision.

From the candidate’s perspective, they want to feel a personal connection and get a feel for the role from the line manager and be seamlessly managed through the process and get a good overview and feel for the business from the HR function.

Both HR and the Line Manager have an important part to play in the process and there is no exact science as to who should do what. As long as you have a plan or process in place with both parties involved throughout, this will ensure a smooth experience for candidates and your recruitment process will be effective.

If you need any advice on your talent process then please get in touch.