A Guide to Recruitment and Staffing Terms

Hiring is one of the most important aspects of any business, so it is vital to understand the language used by recruiters and human resource managers to discuss the candidate journey from online application to job offer. The following is a glossary of the words and terminology commonly used to recruit top talent:

Applicant – Any person applying for a job with a company, whether they are filling out an application in person or through an online application process.

Applicant Tracking System – A software program that collects, organizes, and tracks important information for the hiring process, such as applications, submitted resumes, pre-employment assessment results, and interview scheduling and outcomes.

Background Checks – The screening of candidates to verify the accuracy of the information they provide on their applications, and to investigate whether they have past criminal activity on their records. This will include a criminal background check, and may include reference checks, and verification of college degrees, certifications, and licenses.

Candidates – People under consideration for a particular job within a company who have moved beyond the initial screening of their resume and application.

Candidate Experience – The feelings, reactions, and impressions candidates have about a company’s recruitment and hiring process, from job postings to the interview process to job offers.

Contingent Workers – People who are recruited and hired to work for a company for a set period of time, either for the duration of a specific project, to replace an employee on leave, or for peak and busy seasons. Often they are experienced, with specialized skills and certifications required for the role. These workers do not receive benefits from the company, and are either freelancers or employees of a recruitment agency.

Contingent Workforce – The collection of contingent workers an organization has at any given time.

Contract Hires – This term is used interchangeably with contingent workers. Contract hires are similarly hired to work for a company for a set period of time and are not employees of the company. They may be freelancers or employees of a recruitment agency, and work on a project basis or during the busy season.

Contract-to-Hire – Employing a worker for a role on a trial basis. This lets employers see whether someone will excel in the day-to-day responsibilities of a position before offering them the job permanently. This approach can save money on hard-to-fill roles and reduce employee turnover.

Direct Hire – A person hired for a specific, permanent position. Direct hires are employees of the company from their first day.

Employer Brand – The values, opportunities, sense of purpose, and perks a company offers to current and prospective employees. A positive employer brand helps companies retain top performing employees and draw skilled talent for new roles. Employer branding occurs at all employee and candidate touchpoints, including the company careers page, online applications, interviews, benefits and compensation packages, onboarding, training, reviews and feedback, and corporate social responsibility.

Hiring Funnel – The process of hiring from beginning to end. At the widest point of the funnel are all the applicants and sourced talent, in the middle are the candidates selected for interviews and skills assessments, and at the narrowest point are the people who receive the job offer and onboarding.

Military Hiring – A dedicated effort to hire veterans of the US Military who bring unique skills and experiences to the workplace.

Onboarding – The process of introducing, acclimating, and training a new hire to the workplace and their specific role. Effective onboarding gives new employees the equipment and information they need to feel confident and succeed in the position.

Pre-Employment Assessments – Skills and behavioral tests that determine a candidate’s ability to do the job for which they are applying.

Recruitment – The process of sourcing and hiring talent for a particular role with a company, or sourcing and hiring talent for large scale workforce needs.

Recruiter – A person who sources candidates and helps organizations hire and retain contingent or full-time employees. Ideally, a recruiter understands the needs of job seekers and companies, so they can ensure the best outcome for both.

Sourcing – The proactive search for candidates for a particular job position, or for a role that is expected to open in the near future. The most effective sourcing is achieved through multiple methods, including networking, resume searches, and social media mining. Effective sourcing also draws top candidates who are not currently in the job market, but would consider a new position if they received an appealing offer.

Staffing – The process of screening and selecting people to fill job positions open at a company. Though ‘staffing’ can refer to an organisation’s entire recruitment and hiring function, it is most often used to describe the process of sourcing and hiring for temporary, contingent, and seasonal roles.

Talent – During the hiring process, ‘talent’ refers to all of the applicants and candidates for a particular role. In human resources management, ‘talent’ refers to all of the direct hires and contingent employees who make up a company’s workforce.

Talent Acquisition – Strategic, long-term recruitment plans that align with a company’s business objectives. Talent acquisition helps companies prepare for the future by including pending retirements, global and industry-wide economic forecasts, cyclical customer demand, as well as the unexpected, in their recruitment strategy.

Temporary Hire – A person hired to do a particular job for a set period of time, either for seasonal work or for a specific project. Temporary hires are not typically considered employees of the company.