Two of the most important functions of a human resource department are staffing and recruiting. This is because when the right people have been employed at the right positions and in correct numbers, there are higher chances of attaining organizational success. Though the two terms are often considered to mean the same, they differ in terms of their functions. Recruiting refers to the process in which potential applicants for a job are sought and are encouraged to apply for the vacant post, whereas staffing is the process in which the most suitable individuals are hired for a job.

These two terms are explained in greater detail in this article, following by the differences between the two.

Definitions and explanations


Recruiting is considered as a systematic process that is used to find potential employees for a job, who are then short-listed to choose the one who best fulfills the requirements of the job. In this process, a large number of candidates from the job hunters are attracted to apply for the vacant position. In fact, it is through the recruitment process that people get to know about job openings within a company, and decide if they want to take up the job or not.

Organizations first need to determine the number of employees they require and the skills and competencies that these employees should have. This would ensure that they find the best fit for their jobs. Organizations can use either internal recruitment or external recruitment to attract suitable candidates for their job openings.  In internal recruitment, a suitable applicant for the job is sought from within the organization. Internal employees are offered an opportunity to move ahead in the organization by awarding them promotions and positions at a higher level within the organization.  On the other hand, in external recruitment, suitable candidates from external sources are sought. This may be done through job posting in newspapers, recruitment agencies, employee referrals, university recruitment programs, etc.


Staffing refers to the process of selecting and hiring the most suitable candidates from all those who applied for a job, as well as retaining a skilled and competent workforce. In the present times, the business environment is quite competitive and it is very difficult for organizations to maintain their employees. Hence, it is important for organizations to choose the most appropriate and well-qualified candidates and then provide training to them so that they develop the skills that are required to fulfill the industry requirements. Finally, they should offer competitive salaries and benefits to these employees so that the best performing employees remain satisfied and continue to work for their organization.

Staffing usually involves various steps. These include: determining the workforce requirement, i.e. the number and kind of employees required for the vacant job, encouraging possible employees to apply for the job opening, choosing the best employees from a pool of candidates who applied for the job, placement of the right individuals who were hired for the job because of their skills and qualifications, training and development of the selected employees, job appraisals, promotion, incentives and compensation, as well as retirement or termination of employees.

Difference between staffing and recruiting

The main difference between staffing and recruiting is pointed out as follows:

1. Meaning

The process of recruitment pertains to the search for possible employees for a job and urging them to apply for the job. On the other hand, staffing refers to the process of approaching, employing, training, rewarding and retaining the employees of an organization.

2. Scope

Recruiting has a limited scope and is just one aspect of staffing. Staffing, however, has a wide scope and involves several critical steps.

3. Type of function

Recruitment is one of the functions of staffing pertaining to the employment of prospective employees, whereas staffing is a management function that involves various managerial activities, one of which is recruitment.

4. Time duration

The process of recruiting is a short-term one. In contrast, staffing is a long-term and continuous process because new opportunities may emerge within the organization, requiring the recruitment of new employees. In addition, some employees may retire or leave their jobs because of which new vacancies are created in the organization. Hence, the staffing process keeps on repeating.

5. Organizational level where it is carried out

Recruitment is carried out in the initial stages of employment, where potential candidates are sought and applications are accepted. However, staffing is a managerial function that is carried out at all organizational levels and involves different activities that extend from the time the employees are recruited till they leave the organization. Some of its functions are recruitment, selection, compensation and benefits and promotion.

Staffing versus recruiting – tabular comparison

A tabular comparison of staffing and recruiting is given below:

Staffing vs Recruiting
A process of looking for potential candidates and encouraging them to apply for the job opening A process of hiring, selecting developing and retaining employees of an organization.
Type of function
A function of staffing Management function
Limited scope Wide scope
Time duration
Short-term Long-term
Organizational level
Carried out in the initial stages of employment Carried out at all organizational levels

Conclusion – staffing vs recruiting

The key assets for any organization are its skilled, qualified and dedicated employees. Such employees play a critical part in the efficiency and success of any organization. Hence, it is very important to consistently incorporate new and talented employees within the organization, as well as retain the existing hardworking employees. This is why the processes of recruiting and staffing are critical as they ensure that the most suitable employees are selected for the required post. They also ensure that the right people are given the right jobs in the organization, at the right time and in the right numbers. When this kind of system is in place in an organization, it becomes possible for the organization to attain its objectives and achieve success and development.