Staffing 101: Understanding Staffing Lingo

As a small business owner, I spend a ton of time talking to other business owners, friends, and really, anyone who asks, what I do day to day.  And I’m totally guilty of one major offense:  talking the lingo of the industry I’m in that makes absolutely ZERO sense to anyone else!  But I know I’m not the only one who does this; everytime I speak to a jobseeker about their work and what the ideal job would be for them, and we start to get into the nitty gritty of what their day-to-day includes, I’m immediately bombarded with acronyms and terms that I have no clue about.  I generally make sure to stop and ask, and usually the response is a laugh, and a “of course!  I forget I’m talking tech/real estate/finance/etc.” and they fill me in.

But, sometimes I forget too, and I start spouting off about reqs, HM’s, candidates, DP’s, temps, RPO, and any other random recruiting terms that exist in my day-to-day, and I wanted to share some of that terminology with the general public and for anyone interested.  This is especially important I’m talking to hiring mangers and clients to make sure they understand what the process looks like, and what they’re potentially agreeing to when they work with me, or any other staffing agency, for that matter.

I will preface this by saying: some companies have alternative names for these things, but it’s usually not too far off!

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DP – “Direct Placement” which refers to placing a candidate into a full time position with the client/employer I am working with.  Typically the agency is paid when the chosen candidate begins working with the client officially.

Candidate – The individual I recruit to become a candidate for the position I am trying to fill with my client.  Also known as the jobseeker.

HM – “Hiring Manager” which is the individual who is responsible for overseeing the job I am currently helping to fill at the client company.  This can be a department manager, or if it’s a small company, the President or Business Owner.  I consult with the HM for any questions relating to the position or the candidates in process.

Temps – This generally refers to a candidate/jobseeker who accepts a contract-based position.  This means they agree to work on a time-contingent basis.  This can be a daily, monthly, or even yearly contract.  Traditionally the temp is paid hourly or weekly, but that can vary depending on the length of the contract.

RPO – “Recruitment Process Outsourcing” which essentially means outsourcing a large-scale staffing effort to a third party hiring agency.  Usually the client/employer contracts a Recruiter (like Halsen Solutions!) to handle this staffing effort.  We can work remotely or on-site to manage the entire staffing process, and essentially act as an extension of the employer looking to hire.  The difference between this and Direct Placements are that DP’s are usually contingent – the staffing agency finds the candidate, and once the placement is officially made, the agency is paid their fee.  During RPO, the employer/client retains the services of the agency (usually paying the staffing agency a retainer fee + hourly rate) over a certain, agreed upon time to fill a certain number of positions.


So, there you have it!  Halsen’s crash course on staffing terminology.  Of course, there’s tons more lingo, but this is a good start for any company/employer looking to engage a staffing agency for their open positions.  Hopefully, you’ll remember to call Halsen Solutions when you need help hiring!


– Beth Halgash, President, Halsen Solutions

Staffing 101

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