Glossary of Terms for Recruiters

The recruiting world is full of industry-specific jargon. It can be a bit of a culture shock when you first start hiring or working as a recruiter.

To help you quickly get acquainted with the language of the industry, we’ve put together a thorough glossary of essential recruiting terms. If you’re familiar with these terms, you’ll be able to understand most recruiting tools and feel more confident positioning yourself as a subject matter expert in the recruiting industry.


Active Job Seeker – An active job seeker is an individual who is motivated to find and accept a new job opportunity. They actively seek and take interviews, whether they are unemployed or not.
Antonym: Passive Candidate

Activity – A task in the recruitment workflow that needs to be completed so the process can continue (also could be part of creating a candidate profile).

Applicant Cycle Time (ACT) – This is the amount of time that a successful candidate spends in the selection process for an opportunity. ACT only accounts for candidates who are actually hired, and is a good metric for evaluating how efficiently a recruiting team handles qualified candidates.

Applicant Tracking System An ATS tracks hiring status, personal information, and other candidate information throughout the hiring process, from initial contact to successful placement. An ATS is your primary tool for managing candidate relationships. 

Application Drop-Off Rate – This is how many candidates start the application process, but don’t finish their application. ADR is useful for evaluating your overall candidate experience with your application process. A good application experience should result in more candidates completing their applications.


Benefits – These are programs that employers offer to employees in addition to their salary and other financial compensation. The most common benefit package is health insurance.

Boolean Search Search that allows the user to combine words or phrases using the words AND, OR, NOT (Boolean operators) to limit, broaden, or define your search (this aids in producing more relevant results).


Candidate Portal – A portal where job candidates can apply to specific jobs or submit ‘general information’ for future opportunities.

Client Portal – A portal where recruiters can interact and engage with clients and/or hiring managers to receive feedback on candidates.

Conversion Fee – Placement fee earned by an agency (or 3rd party) recruiter when candidate is hired as an employee of the client company. Conversion fee is often in addition to the hourly fee earned during the term of the contract.

Cost to Acquire – The total cost in recruiting resources required to fill all the opportunities in the fiscal year. This metric shows how much it costs a recruiting agency or department to fill each position during the year, and helps when measuring recruiting efficiency. 


EEO – Equal Employment Opportunity – Federal laws governed by the EEOC that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person’s race, color, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. Laws apply to all types of work situations: hiring, firing, promotions, harassment, training, wages, and benefits.

Employer Branding – This is a recruitment marketing technique that positions an employer as the best place for top talent to accept a job. 


Full Text Search – In text retrieval, full text search refers to techniques for searching a single computer-stored document or a collection in a full text database.


Incentive Pay – Compensation given to employees for working additional hours, completing additional assignments that may be outside their usual scope of work, or exceeding performance standards. Incentive pay may or may not be monetary. Stock options and expense payments are often used as incentive pay.

In Mail – Way for recruiters to message personally potential candidates about career opportunities. This is a ‘business-oriented’ form of social media that has the advantage of providing context for recruiters and candidates.


Job Board – An advertising and publicity vehicle for hiring managers to post current job openings in a central location.

JD (Job Description) – A formal account of an employee’s/potential candidates job responsibilities; way to clearly identify and spell out the responsibilities of a specific job.


Labor Cost – The total costs associated with employing one employee. These costs include salary, benefits, taxes, and insurance.


Offer Acceptance Rate – The percentage of candidates who accepted job offers, from the total number of candidates who received verbal or written job offers.

Onboarding – The process of hiring and introducing an employee to company goals and culture.


Passive Candidate – An individual who is employed, but is open to hearing about new employment opportunities. Passive job seekers are not actively searching and applying for jobs.

Phone Screen – Step in recruitment process before an in-person interview where suitability for a particular role or purpose is evaluated. This often narrows the applicant pool, is more efficient and less costly (than other options), and is a step prior to an in-person interview.

Pipelining – Part of the recruiting process where hiring managers purposely maintain a database of candidates to fill potential requisitions. The hiring manager forges a relationship with candidates that go beyond what’s on his/her resume–and tracks all interactions with them–calls, emails, in-person meetings, interviews, placements and so on.


Recruiting CRM – A CRM system specifically designed to help recruiters manage their relationships with candidates and employers to align talent with opportunity.

Recruiting Firms – Third party recruiting professionals that are specialized in specific industries, with established relationships with candidates and talent. 

Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) – The process of outsourcing some or all of the recruiting process. Usually, corporations use RPO to improve hiring efficiency or compliance.

Recruitment Software – Software used by recruiters for performing various recruiting tasks. Some recruiting software is specifically designed for recruiters, like the Crelate Talent ATS and Recruiting CRM. Other software, such as Microsoft Excel, is not designed specifically for recruiters, although many recruiters use it.

Reference Check – Step in the recruiting process whereby references (provided by candidates) are checked/verified by hiring managers/recruiters.

Resume Parser – The conversion of a free-form resume document into a structured set of information suitable for storage, reporting, and manipulation by software. It helps recruiters to efficiently manage electronic resume documents sent electronically.

Req (Requisition) – Request by supervisors who want to hire additional staff (or replace employees who resign or are terminated). A recruiter will compose job postings based on requisitions and discussions with hiring managers or department supervisors. Requisitions are part of the ‘checks-and-balances’ procedures that many organizations follow for workforce planning and staffing actions.


Send Out – A potential job opportunity ‘sent out’ to potential suitors.

Social Recruiting – The process of using social media—typically Facebook and LinkedIn—for finding and recruiting candidates.

Source of Hire (SOH) – A metric that tracks which job board, career fair, or other talent source each successfully hired candidate came from. This helps recruiters and agencies determine their most valuable talent acquisition channels, so they can most effectively invest recruiting resources.

Sourcing – The process of finding new talent and adding candidates to the pool of available candidates.

Sponsored Job Posting – An advertisement created by an employer/job sponsor/hiring manager, or a recruiter that alerts current employees or the public of an immediate or future job opening within a company or recruiting agency.

Stages – Parts of a recruitment process that is set up by the hiring manager or recruiter – things could include: new candidates, initial coffee meeting, phone screen, interview, shortlisted, reference check, and so on.

Submittal – A person or thing that has been presented to others for a decision- For instance, the submittal of an employment application.

Submittal to Hire Ratio (SHR) – The ratio of candidates that are submitted to job opportunities compared to the number of hires made. This metric shows how effective recruiters are at evaluating candidates and ensuring the most qualified candidates are submitted to each position. 

Syndication – The process of publishing job openings/positions on job search engines such as: Indeed, SimplyHired, Glassdoor, Monster or Job board syndication is when a candidate applies to a listing they find on a job board–their application will go directly to your recruitment software site.


Talent Pool – A database where recruiters and HR managers keep desirable candidates and talent to engage for future job opportunities.

Talent Relationship Management – Software that brings the very best of traditional Customer Relationships Management functionality to bear, while also focusing on recruiting, networking, on-boarding, growing, and maintaining lasting relationships with individuals.

Time to Fill – The time it takes from job requisition to hiring an employment. To read about other important recruiting metrics, check out our free ebook.


Upward Mobility – This measures the potential for moving up into a higher paying or higher status position within an organization once a candidate has been hired.


Vendor Management System (VMS) – An application for businesses to manage and procure staffing services, temporary services, and permanent placement services, as well as contigent and contract labor.

View – In Crelate Talent, a view allows recruiters to see all of their upcoming tasks/activities and also quickly and easily track how their candidate placements are going (what stage(s) they are in).