Words that Have a Completely Different Meaning to Recruiters

August 22, 2014

People say that learning to speak a new language is quite hard and quite unlikely once you are out of school.


In fact, all of us pick up and speak multiple languages every day quite effortlessly…we usually just call them professional jargon.

And when it comes to our industry, recruiters and professional jargon are like peanut butter and jelly. They just go together.

Here is the proof (and also a handy list you can share with non-recruiters so they can decode what you are saying):

1. Purple Squirrel

the-real-purple-squirrel  image by Phillytemps

Regular  Definition: A creature with an unfortunate genetic mutation

Recruiter Definition: This is a mythical being, product of the vivid imagination of over-ambitious hiring managers. It’s the non-existent candidate that checks all the req boxes and also saves babies and puppies in her spare time.

2. Passive

passive-candidate image by Sholeh

Regular  Definition: Accepting or allowing what happens or what others do without active response or resistance.

Recruiter Definition: A potential candidate who is currently happy in their job and not looking for a new role but is approached and lured by a recruiter to a new opportunity.

3. Pipeline

pipeline image by Timothy Wildey

Regular  Definition: A long pipe, typically underground, for moving oil, gas, etc., over long distances.

Recruiter Definition: A carefully curated list of stellar candidates that you hope to pick from as future jobs open. Your secret cookie jar that you cannot tap into just yet.

4. Screen


Regular  Definition: A movable device; a framed construction that is designed to divide, conceal, or protect. Also a monitor for TVs, computers.

Recruiter Definition: The call that determines if a prospect will become a candidate. The watershed moment.

5. Dashboard

dashboard image by Garrett Voight 

Regular  Definition: The panel facing the driver of a vehicle or the pilot of an aircraft, containing instruments and controls.

Recruiter Definition: The home page on your ATS that lets you know what candidates are in play and where.

6. Requisition

requisition image by Photologue_np

Regular  Definition: An official order demanding the supply or use of goods.

Recruiter Definition: A job opening, a search, a headcount. Your reason for living/breathing/existing as a recruiter.

7. Turndown


Regular  Definition: What happens in a hotel room at about 5pm, and in the best case scenario fresh sheets are accompanied by a little delicious chocolate square on the pillow (or a whole basket of treats if the above picture is to be believed).

Recruiter Definition: The call you make to tell someone they aren't getting the job; like breaking up with someone.

8. Kickoff

kickoff image by Bill Slattery Jr.

Regular  Definition: The start of a football game.

Recruiter Definition: The meeting you have with your hiring manager where he/she describes the 'purple squirrel' they expect you to find.

9. Comp

free-mealimage by Patrick Mc Donnell

Regular  Definition: A free meal in a restaurant.

Recruiter Definition: The number of zeros in a candidate's salary offer required to make your hire.

10. Sourcing


image by CollegeDegrees360

Regular  Definition: Crediting the works of others in your research projects.

Recruiter Definition: The practice of recruiting talent using strategic search techniques.

11. Intake

intake image by Darwin Bell

Regular  Definition: An amount of food, air, or another substance taken into the body.

Recruiter Definition: The meeting that takes place between hiring manager and recruiter to kickstart the recruiting process.

12. Talent

talent image by David Yu

Regular Definition: A special ability that allows someone to do something well.

Recruiter Definition: The awesome and smart people that you want to hire.

13. Check-in

checkin image by Jason Kuffer

Regular Definition: To arrive and register at a hotel, airport or event.

Recruiter Definition: A mobile web app that lets you instantly capture leads at events and manage them easily in LinkedIn Recruiter.

14. Close

close image by Ben Husmann

Regular Definition: To move (a door, window, etc.) so that things cannot pass through an opening; to end a business day.

Recruiter Definition: When you get a signed employment contract back (and the celebrations begin).

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