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30 recruitment terms you need to know about

Rullion's Recruitment Jargon BusterAre you perplexed and confounded by the complexity of recruitment terms and acronyms? Let me re-phrase that.... Are you confused about the language of recruitment and unsure what some shortened words and phrases mean?

Our Jargon Buster will guide you around some of the most commonly used recruitment terms. 

Recruitment Abbreviations


Employee Value Proposition

EVP is the combined rewards and benefits that an employee will receive in return for their performance. Your EVP, in tandem with your Employer Brand, will be the determining factor in attracting and retaining talent in your organisation.


Fixed Term Contract

Used for interim, maternity or project works for a fixed period of time.


Full Time Equivalent

The hours worked by one employee on a full-time basis. The concept is used to convert the hours worked by several part-time employees into the hours worked by full-time employees.


Job Description (sometimes known as JS/Job Specification).

A list of the responsibilities, requirements, qualifications, preferred skills, application process, benefits and other relevant information. Often forms part of a job advert.


Key Performance Indicator

A value to measure performance against a target. An example of this in a recruitment context is ‘time to hire’ where the value is the amount of days to recruit from a job going live to a candidate’s offer or start date.


Net Promoter Score

A measure of a customer’s willingness to recommend a company's product or service to others. It can be measured through surveys and may form part of a candidate journey to gauge satisfaction in a recruitment process. Score is measured between 1-100.


Pre Employment Screening.

The process of performing background checks of potential employees and validating the applicant’s work and experience. PES can also uncover any criminal history, workers compensation claims or previous employment issues.


Service Level Agreements.

An agreement of commitment between the service provider and client to set out the expected performance level. 

Recruitment Compliance 


Agency Worker Regulations

These are in place to give temporary workers the right to the same pay and working conditions enjoyed by a comparable permanent worker. Day one rights include use of collective facilities such as a crèche. After working for the same client in the same role for 12 weeks, a temporary worker becomes entitled to the same pay and working conditions.


IR35 is the United Kingdom tax legislation designed to tax "disguised employment" at a rate similar to employment. In this context, "disguised employees" means workers who receive payments from a client via an intermediary and whose relationship with their client is such that had they been paid directly they would be employees of the client.


Right to Work

All candidates need sufficient rights to work in the UK and this is the responsibility of the agency to ensure compliance for submitted candidate. An applicant’s original documents must be shown and checked for validity, before being held on file. RTW is enforced by the Government to prevent illegal working.

Recruitment Methods 

Assessment Centre

These are group interviews where candidates can go through a number of tasks to gauge suitability. Assessment centres can include role play, team activities and competency based questioning. Best used for volume recruitment campaigns to effectively assess lots of candidates with minimal resources.

Competency Based Interview

An interview in which a candidates ability is tested to uncover their suitability for the role. This may involve asking how someone would react to hypothetical situations or situational led role play. A great tool for a role where the candidate does not have previous experience but shows the right attributes to do the job.


This is the process for new employees to gain the essential company knowledge, skills, values and behaviours to become effective as soon as possible.


In the case of redundancies, a recruitment agency would provide support and guidance to these employees with the aim of finding suitable work elsewhere.

Talent Acquisition

The art of attracting new employees to the business through an attraction plan and a pro-active approach to candidate sourcing.

Talent Pipeline

A Talent pipeline is a pool of candidates who are suitable for an organisation’s ongoing need for individuals who could fill key vacancies as the company grows, or circumstances change.

Talent Pool

A pro-actively sourced list of suitable candidates for future requirements. Working with an agency in partnership, these candidates can be screened and kept aware for future requirements or short notice assignments.

Recruitment Models 

Master Vendor

A recruitment solution where a nominated agency takes full responsibility for staffing requirements. This may include the use of a second tier network of alternative suppliers which is then managed by the Master Vendor.

MSP - Managed Service Provider

The name used by the nominated service provider managing a contingent recruitment solution. Solutions can include Master Vendor or Neutral Vendor.

Neutral Vendor

In this case the service provider facilitates the release of roles to an agreed list of suppliers and provides impartial management of the recruitment process without filling any staffing requirements. This process is usually supported by a VMS to ensure efficiency.


Preferred Supplier List

A list of eligible agencies for the external recruitment of roles within your company or group of companies. Usually under annual review, measured on performance metrics and can go to tender to encourage competition. A PSL is commonly used across the board for all Preferred Agencies as well as Approved Agency List where there is no strict review or tender process.

RPO - Recruitment Process Outsourcing

A form of business process outsourcing where an employer transfers all or part of its recruitment processes to an external provider. RPO providers can manage the entire recruiting/hiring process or can manage one or two aspects of the process, essentially serving as an extension of the company’s HR department.

This can form part or full transfer of your recruitment operations to a capable recruitment agency. The nominated agency can act on behalf of the company and actively create efficiencies, cost savings and process improvements. An RPO looks at efficiencies and uses agency experience, reputation and capability to source direct candidates and implement talent pooling while reinforcing the company brand and EVP.

Sole Supply

A company may wish to appoint one supplier to work alongside their direct recruitment processes. This will normally include exclusive discounts for sole supply due to volume and reduced competition.


Recruitment Technology


Applicant Tracking System

An ATS manages your recruitment process and normally forms part of your online careers page. Functions include candidate journey mapping, talent pooling, authorisation, supplier management, employer branding, interview scheduling and contract issue. A good ATS will also supply real time detailed recruitment analytics such as time-to-hire, supplier performance and survey results.

Careers Page                     

Situated on the main site, this page will contain all of the recruitment information in one place. Normally shown as the page will feature all vacancies and application process and will normally follow the same design of the site as opposed to a Microsite.

Careers Site or ‘microsite’

A website dedicated to the recruitment part of your business. This can include testimonials from candidates, recruitment journey explanation, videos from current employees, role progression plans, current vacancies and application processes. A careers site will normally reflect the culture and personality of the business. This can have a completely separate website address, for example: or


Human Resources Information System.

A technology solution used to manage personnel and includes facilities such as holiday and sickness reporting and monitoring.


An invisible frame on a website to display content from another source. A careers page would have an iFrame which displayed the recruitment portal from their ATS. This gives candidates all the functionality of specialist technology but works seamlessly with the site in terms of visuals and performance.

SAAS - Software as a Service

Normally accessed by users via a web browser, Software as a Service, is a centrally hosted software licensing and delivery model in which software is licensed on a subscription basis. In recruitment, examples could be cloud based ATM or VMS systems/software.


Vendor Management System

A technology platform to monitor, manage and reduce the compliance risk of your temporary workforce. Can form part of a recruitment solution and can be provided with a suitable agency partner. These are often SAAS products.

These are just a few of the day-to-day industry abbreviations or recruitment terms. Get in touch if you would like to know more.