Staffing Glossary: The terms you need to know!

Seeking a job through a staffing agency can be a super rewarding process. There’s lots of support for you along the way. But, if you’re new to the staffing industry, there are lots of terms that may not be familiar to you.  It took me a few months to figure out all of the abbreviations and jargon used around the office.  So, to save you the extra step of Googling, I’ve put together a little glossary of staffing terms for you that should help as you complete your job search!


Applicant: the person seeking a job.

Background check: the process some employers use to confirm the information that the applicant provides and to check their criminal history, credit history and other records. Not all employers use background checks but many do. Some staffing agencies will require upfront background checks to speed up the process upon hiring.

Candidate: the applicant who the agency has determined has the necessary qualifications for the job.

Direct Hire: a job where the applicant is transferred to the employer payroll as opposed to the staffing agency payroll.

Employee: anyone working directly for a company with no specific end date.

On-boarding: the process and paperwork that the applicant completes after being hired to become part of the company

Recruiter: the person at the staffing agency that helps connect the applicant to the client. Applicants work with recruiters to find the jobs that meets their skillset.

Staffing: the industry that connects people looking for jobs to companies seeking talent.

Talent: the pool of applicants available for the staffing agency to draw from and then connect to the open positions that the clients need filled.

Temp-to-Hire (TTH): a position that begins as a temporary position but has the possibility of becoming a full-time position.


These are the basic terms that you should know. If you’re looking for a more extensive list, glance through this glossary by Staffing Industry Analysts.


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