Some of us wouldn't even acknowledge the mere idea that these two professions are totally different from each other. I did not know that until I met one of my friends. He is running a startup and already getting some good revenues.

They had planned to increase the bandwidth of their workforce. Interestingly, he was also looking for an HR professional. So far so good.

But, when I put up a question to him if he needs HR specialist or generalist, his expression behaved as if I talked in some alien language. I could sense the big What! Lingering in his mind.

It was a matter of astonishment for me. People don't know the basic difference between these two unrelated roles. Well, it is never too late. This post gives the clear difference between these two job roles and shares the qualities that a recruiter specialist should have.

So, how is HR generalist different?

As the name suggest, a generalist looks after the broader human resources activities in the company. What really makes a generalist different than a specialist is that the former takes care of recruitment for different types of job positions.

The generalist deals in the plethora of HR activities which revolve around many job functions.

On the other hand, a specialist is an expert in a specific type of job function. For an example, an HR specialist in a technology company would know ins and outs of the need of a software role.

They also expect to bring superior results because of their targeted specialization. More often than not, an HR specialist is the one who gets to recruit the hire for a senior level position.

Now that we know the basic difference, so let’s get back to my friend’s problem. It turned out his company was in the requirement of HR specialist. Considering his request, I gave him some useful tips to identify the good specialist.

Let’s take a look at some of them that should help you in identifying the right HR specialist for your organisation.

Understanding of candidates

What is the target audience for a hiring manager? Candidates! A talented specialist is very well aware of the likes and dislikes of their target audience. This is a very crucial thing to learn, as it gives the strong base on developing the killer job description which ultimately is used to get the attention of the targeted candidates.

Also, A specialist should be well versed with the kind of platforms where the said candidates roam. For an example, if your company is hiring software developers then a specialist in your company should be experienced enough to know every bit of the platform like Github or Stack Overflow and know the tactics to get the attention of the candidates.

Similar background

Having a similar background of the specialist as that of the targeted candidates, the likelihood of a successful recruitment process becomes quite high. Let’s take an example to understand its importance.

You want to hire a frontend developer and you go ahead and ask your HR manager to close the open position. If your HR manager doesn’t have any idea as to what relevant skills he/she should look for, then the whole point of assigning this very task is useless.

Impressive track record

You hire a specialist for a very targeted hiring. Thus, asking for a good track record shouldn't bother the HR expert. Better ask about the successful placements that have been processed by the specialist. Specifically, in his/her field of specialisation.

If the specialist is good then she/he will have no qualms in sharing the details of hiring success with you.