Recruitment terminology 101: your guide to different types of hiring

Recruitment terminology

Recruitment terminology defined: browse this glossary of recruitment lingo to grow your knowledge of the staffing industry.

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.


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

types of recruitment

Learn the different types of recruitment.

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.


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.

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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.

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