People AND Recruiting? Why Not Both?

Spoiler alert: Most startups do it wrong

Photo by me, on Unsplash

A lot of entrepreneurs talk about the power of “and”. It’s a mental shift where you walk someone through the journey from “I hate work. I need better life balance” to “What work can I do AND have better life balance?”

See that? Subtle, but powerful.

We do it all the time in our lives. Eggs AND bacon. Dinner AND a movie. Peanut butter AND jelly. Two is better than one, economies of scale and all that.

So it’s natural when i see companies who need their first HR teams/experts because they need good policies, but they’re also hiring a ton so they need good recruiting, so they naturally combine these roles into a People AND Recruiting function! Problem solved!


Not so fast.

Reality is, in our bacon and eggs example above, you would never ask the chicken to make both eggs and bacon. They are fundamentally different things.

(Follow my logic here one more second)

We love the outcome of the combo. But precisely because they are so different do they pair so well together! “Eggs and Chicken” is just not as appealing, although the supply chain and scaling opportunities would be exponentially simplified!

In the end, it’s a little silly to ask one person to be in charge of such vastly different things and do them all well:

  • Care about all employees. Make them feel valuable.
  • Write policies for all employees. Make sure things are fair and everyone’s rights are maintained.
  • Hire new people to the team. All the teams. Make sure they are the best people, too.
  • Onboard and hire everyone. That employment paperwork is the worst. Make sure we don’t get in legal trouble.
  • Oh, make sure we cut costs, too. Gotta keep and eye on the bottom line.
  • We have to keep up our hiring in sales or we won’t hit our sales numbers.
  • An engineer left. Can you find another replacement?
  • We think an internship program would be great. Mind slapping one of those together. Has to be awesome.
  • Ah, there’s some questions about remote work and office expenses. Can you do a thing about that? Make it fair but not too generous.
  • This person needs a work visa renewed? Can you make that happen?
  • We always did annual reviews around this time of year. But they suck. Can you fix that and make them not suck, but make sure we also do them?
  • I think we need a better PTO policy. Will you get me some options?
  • Are we paying people fairly? We can’t break the bank, but let’s check into that.
  • I want to hire this person in Minnesota. No problem, right? I told them you’d get them the offer. Oh, they started last Monday, actually.
  • I’m not sure the employees are getting enough attention. Can you make sure that happens?

Going a little bonkers yet?

Though this is the life I see many “startup” HR, people and talent individuals go through. (And burnout from)

It’s mind-numbingly complex and each of the above scenarios is fraught with legal, logistical and other socially complicated issues.

Do you really want to hinge the legal liabilities AND success of your company’s growth on asking one person to be an expert in employment law, interpersonal relationships, management coaching, all the whole sourcing, screening, attracting and closing top talent across your company?

Would you ask your operations leader to also sell and do tech support? Of course not. But HR people are tasked with these disparate duties all the time

In short, having one person do all these things well is, ridiculous.

For years now, my team and I have been helping companies manage these complexities through a blended, hybrid model of embedded/external consulting and work.

For example:

  • We provide a proven Senior level HR person to directly work with the founding team/C-suite on high level issues. This is often your “point person”, allowing one-point of contact to drive progress and get results/reports.
  • Backing them up is a team of HR certified professionals who have their hands on all the best, state of the art policies and procedures across the spectrum of “full stack HR”. From vacation policies to workers compensation. Soup to nuts.
  • We also can consult with your HR system vendors (or find you one) and implement systems and tools to automate your world.
  • We can work with your attorneys (or ours) to ensure you and your people are compliant and protected.


  • We are a very, very good recruitment agency too.
  • Your hiring managers get ONE PERSON to work with, a senior recruiter with many years of experience recruiting the people they are looking for.
    • Engineers? We compile the best .
    • Accountants? We’re all credits and no debits.
    • Operations? We’re well documented leaders here.
    • Sales & Success? We’ve got your number.
    • Tech support and customer service? We’re standing by.
    • C-level executives? We’ll corner-office the market for you.
  • We can place one-off or multiple roles.
  • We work under various models ranging from hourly or retained to contingent direct placement, all with an eye on growth, speed, agility and cost-controls.
  • Got your own internal recruiters? We’ll augment your team and even train them up if you like.


We can start providing you all these services immediately, with a cost structure that would be comparable to hiring just one senior person to your team.

Need more flexibility to control cash? No problem. We start with what you need. AND can provide everything else on demand.

Your company AND ours, we can do great things for your people AND you can get back to business.

Ready to have your cake AND eat it, too?

Let’s talk.

My Favorite Things

Kindle Paperwhite

It goes without saying that, for me, the Kindle Paperwhite has been a truly excellent product. Made by Amazon, the Paperwhite fits a niche within the Kindle e-reader family that I think is truly great.

According to wikipedia, the Kindle e-reader started as a project by Amazon’s 126 lab back in 2007. Today, the king of all e-readers, the kindle boasts the ability to read more than 6 million kindle ebooks as well as any number of compatible file formats such as PDF and other files.

For a limited time only (as of this writing) it also looks like you can trade in an old kindle device and get 20% off a new one. Nice.

Why the Paperwhite?

The Paperwhite, specifically, fills a niche I love in the reading space. Some of the “features” I enjoy include:

  • Looks nice. I am not a snob, but I like my devices to look well made and feel well-constructed as well.
  • NO notifications! I can finally read interrupted!
  • The gentle screen lighting works for night reading (even in bed), on airplane flights, and even in bright sunlight.
  • Audiobook listening with whispersync! with any bluetooth headphones (I pair my airpods) or your car stereo to listen to your books when your eyes are busy.
  • The weight is perfect. It feels lighter than a book, about the same as a phone, but balanced perfectly for one hand to use.
  • It’s waterproof, too. Just feels better when reading poolside.

The Case

I also enjoy the blue case from INFiLAND, which uses magnets to stay closed, and automatically wakes/sleeps the device on open/close. There’s several colors/options to choose from as well and they feel really great in the hand.

Tips and Hints

Pro-tip: The whispersync feature connects any kindle devices, including your phone, tablet or computer, but the real killer-app comes in when you link an audible audiobook with whispersync to your kindle books. Then you can swap between reading and listening with the flick of a button.

Add the Audible Narration to Kindle books

Pro-pro tip: If you own the kindle book already (or just bought it), often you can get the audiobook for a discount! Nice. For example, if you bought the timely Just Mercy book on Kindle today, the combined discount between the book’s selling price and the discount for adding the Audible Narration for the Just Mercy Book is about the same as buying the book at full price. NICE!

? Don’t tell amazon that this actually drops the price of the audiobook to less than one monthly credit for being an audible subscriber. Shhh.

Check It Out!

Check out the Kindle Paperwhite (Waterproof) on Amazon’s Kindle Page. Great father’s day gift for your favorite guy who can’t catch a break to read a favorite book, or who might need a slight nudge to relax or learn something new ?.

Robert Merrill

Disclaimers & Links

I am not a professional product reviewer, but I have been blogging about pro-tips, hacks, tricks, apps and other things I love since 2004 (Remember Blogspot!?).

These are some of my favorite things, and I like sharing them. Often, I will share a referral link or, affiliate link and if you purchase something after clicking the link, I might generate a little cash from it. This isn’t a trick, but if they will give you $5 for trying a product and give me $5 for taking the time to mention it, I’m in.

As always, none of the things I share are “secret”. The links I share do not add cost to products you might buy, but the companies selling them might send along a few bucks my way which I will use to pad the vacation jar. If you don’t like this idea, then feel free to rip open and find direct links on your own for these at any time.

Should you ever want to simply thank me for advising you on something you liked, or just buy me lunch, my Square Cash app link is $rahhb (get $5 for signing up, lol) or Venmo me @rahhb.

My Favorite Things

My Favorite Things

Call me sentimental, but I like sharing my favorite things. Apps, tools, processes, books, whatever I like. I will share them in this category

Blog Hiring Process Improvement Recruiting Industry Recruitment Process Automation Workplace

Recruitment Automation 101

A trend that is becoming pretty exciting right now is recruitment automation. Likely accelerated by the tools that are more readily available like integromat and zapier, and more open APIs between HR apps and Applicant tracking systems, recruitment automation is a brave new world of growing and improving your HR and Recruitment Systems and keeping your human interactions exactly that, more human.

The most important item to stay focused on when considering recruitment automation is the candidate. What is the end-result, and what is the purpose of what you are trying to automate.

Keep the Main Thing the Main Thing

Picture of Steven R Covey
Steven R Covey, author of the 7 Habits of Highly Successful People

Steven R. Covey, of 7 Habits of Highly Successful People (Amazon) fame is accredited with the famous line “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” #

As you consider what you are trying to automate and why, this is an important piece of the puzzle. Just because something can be automated does not mean it should.

Another way to look at this has become my unofficial axiom for recruitment process automation in general:

Automate the things computers do well, so you can do the things humans do well.

This means rethinking the old standbys like calling candidates personally to book calendar appointments, but then sending blind, generic emails from “noreply” email accounts when they are no longer considered in the process.

Perhaps, automating your calendaring time could help candidates feel in some control of the process as well as allowing you to let candidates know they are not being considered any longer for a role with a personal call, not a heartless “thanks but no thanks” message.