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Fielding lots of calls from recruiters lately? Here are the terms you need to know!

If you’ve ever been reached out to by a recruiter, you’ve probably heard terms thrown around like “temp” or “temp-to-hire.” Like any field, recruiting & staffing comes with its own jargon that can be hard to follow if you’re not familiar. As a potential candidate, it is important that you feel confident in your understanding so you can make an informed decision on if what you’re discussing is the right option for you. Let's take a look at some frequently used recruiting terms below!

P.s., if you’re working with a 5-star recruiter, they’ll make sure you understand everything you need to know, but who doesn’t love feeling empowered with their own knowledge of what it all means?!

Temporary Employee (Also known as: Temp/Contract/Contingent)

  • Temporary Employees are usually hired for a set amount of time (e.g., 3 months, 6 months, etc.) in roles that are not meant to lead to full-time employment. Temps are often brought on to fill a temporary need such as for a specific project, during busy season, or to cover during the extended leave of a current employee.

  • Though an estimated time-frame is usually given, extensions can be made for temp employees if agreed upon by the company and temp.

  • Temporary Employees are typically employed through an agency and do not receive the same benefits as regular staff of the company, but rather receive benefits through their agency. They will sometimes make a higher hourly rate for their expertise when brought on as a temporary employee vs. as a regular employee.

  • Temp employees can be full-time or part-time

Temp-to-Hire Employee (Also known as: Contract-to-Hire, Temp-to-Perm)

  • Temp-to-Hire employees are brought on with the condition that the role may lead to full-time employment dependent on performance and continued business need. This is a good way for companies to get a better sense of your skills & work ethic before bringing you on as a regular employee. It is also a great way for you to determine if the role is a good fit for what you’re looking for!

  • Temp-to-Hire employees can be full-time or part-time.

Direct Hire (Also known as: Permanent Hire)

  • Direct Hires are employees that are hired for a permanent position within a company. From the start of their first day, they receive pay and benefits from the company directly.

  • Though a company can do a direct hire independently, they often partner with staffing agencies to recruit for direct hire roles in higher level or hard-to-fill positions.

  • Direct hires can be full-time or part-time

Employer of Record (Also known as: EOR)

  • An Employer of Record serves as the legal employer of temp, temp-to-hire, and pay-rolled employees for another company. The EOR handles onboarding & offboarding, payrolling, tax filings, and other administrative & legal duties related to employment.

  • Staffing Agencies can be, but don’t have to be, the EOR for the candidates they recruit. As a candidate, you may work with a recruiter from an agency, as well as a separate Employer of Record.

  • TLDR; whoever you get your paycheck from is your Employer of Record


  • This is just a fancy name for the position you’re taking on as a temp or temp-to-hire employee! An assignment can be, but does not have to be, fixed to a certain time (e.g., 3 months).

  • If you were to take on a different assignment for the same company, you would have a different title and responsibilities


  • When we hear this word from our clients, you can usually catch us doing a quick happy dance behind our computers! To be “converted” means you are being transitioned from a temp-to-hire position to a permanent employee of that company.

  • Once converted, permanent employees receive their pay & benefits directly from the company they are performing job duties for.

Though this short-list covers only a handful of niche terms, we think they’re the most important ones for you to know. So next time a recruiter gives you a call, we hope you can kick up your feet and speak with confidence knowing exactly what they mean!


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