Recruitment terminology 101: your guide to different types of hiring

Content Team

As you set out to find a talent partner or learn more about the talent industry, does it feel like it’s raining recruitment terminology?

Fear not: we’ve developed a glossary of recruitment lingo.

It’s designed to help you understand the staffing industry — no umbrellas or raincoats required.

Let’s get started.

Two Hudson RPO workers discussing recruitment
Recruitment terminology defined: browse this glossary of recruitment lingo to grow your knowledge of the staffing industry.

Temporary staffing

Temporary staffing agencies provide employees for short-term assignments. Temporary employees are typically included on the staffing organization’s payroll.

This option may be suitable when a new project arises. Or, it may be worth considering if you require a certain skill set for a designated period of time (such as the holiday season), and the need doesn’t justify a new full-time position.


Some recruitment agencies will source and recruit for contract-to-hire roles. The contract-to-hire scenario allows both the employee and the hiring company to evaluate whether the candidate is a good match before the role becomes permanent.

A typical contract lasts about three months. The contract can expire if the match doesn’t suit the candidate and business. It’s important to note, however, that not all candidates are willing to leave a stable job for a riskier contract-to-hire scenario.

Direct (permanent) hire

Direct hires are for permanent, full-time positions. Permanent roles tend to offer company benefits.

Hiring a recruitment firm for a direct hire is ideal for unexpected vacancies. A recruitment firm can also help if your internal team lacks the time or resources to fill the role. It may also be a good solution for hard-to-fill roles.

The recruiting firm will be involved during the initial sourcing, recruiting, and hiring process. Once an offer is accepted, the employee is added to the client’s payroll.

Types of recruitment offerings

Recruiting also comes in different shapes and sizes to accommodate your varying candidate needs.

Read on to discover the standard types of recruitment offerings. These solutions can help solve your immediate hiring challenges, while laying the groundwork for longer-term growth.

team discussing employer branding around computer
Learn the different types of recruitment.

Contingent recruiting

With contingent recruitment more than one company competes to fill an open position for your company. The contingency organization collects a fee only if your company hires their candidate.

Contingent recruitment can be attractive to businesses due to the low initial investment. However, the placement fees are typically more expensive, and contingent recruiters are unlikely to take on hard-to-fill roles.

Since the contingent recruiter is financially motivated, the focus may lean towards candidate quantity over quality.

Managed Service Provider (MSP)

An MSP is an outsourced company that manages their clients’ temporary staffing programs.

MSPs provide a small team of recruiters or coordinators who manage all the requirements to ensure a smooth operation. This team will use a vendor management system (VMS), which is a technical platform, to run the program.

Large organizations that hire thousands of contractors and hundreds of staffing agencies typically MSPs.

Learn more about managed services.

Recruitment Process Outsourcing

Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) agencies manage an organization’s permanent recruiting efforts enterprise wide, within a specific department or for a specific short-term project (such as hiring sales people for a new product launch).

RPO recruiters effectively become part of your company. They function as an extension of your team and may even be based onsite at your company’s offices.

The RPO team owns the design and execution of the recruitment process. They drive continuous improvement and assume responsibility for results. Companies of all sizes turn to RPO solutions for their scalability and flexibility. RPO solutions are also valued for their ability to disseminate best practices.

RPO can be delivered as a short-term project, or even as an end-to-end solution. Learn more about the differences between project RPO vs. end-to-end RPO.

Learn more about RPO services.

Recruitment tracking terminology

Recruitment tracking terminology is also nuanced. Whether you’re a talent sourcer, recruiter, or hiring manager, these phrases help keep everyone on the same page.

Using the right term for each step of the hiring process enables you to accurately track and report progress. This process can also help you identify gaps which may require further review or additional support.

With the right terminology driving the process, you can help ensure hiring targets are achieved and business partners remain satisfied.


This refers to market and talent mapping. A talent sourcer is typically responsible for talent pooling. This information is then offered to the recruiter or hiring manager.

When building a talent pool, the sourcer does not yet contact candidates. The list of possible candidates may be given to the onsite team, or another recruiter, for candidate screening.

Long-listing candidates

This is the list of candidates who have been screened by a talent sourcer. The sourcer will have identified these candidates as suitable for further consideration, typically by the on-site recruiter.

Short-listing candidates

This refers to the number of candidates from your long-list who are recommended to the hiring manager. The recruiter typically makes a recommendation on who to short-list.

Here’s an example of recruitment-tracking, phrase by phrase

The talent sourcer begins by building a talent pool. From the talent pool, she or he then identifies and screens 10 candidates. She or he identifies six as being suitable for the role. These six candidates are forwarded as a long-list to the onsite recruiter. Next, that recruiter decides to short-list five of them. Finally, these five candidates are recommended to the hiring manager.

If a talent sourcer is also managing the relationship with the hiring manager, the short-list and long-list numbers will be the same.

Hudson RPO

Content Team

The Hudson RPO Content Team is made up of experts within the Talent Acquisition industry across the Americas, EMEA and APAC regions. They provide educational and critical business insights in the form of research reports, articles, news, videos, podcasts, and more. The team ensures high-quality content that helps all readers make talent decisions with confidence.

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