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Talent Acquisition

The ongoing cycle of processes related to attracting, sourcing, recruiting, and hiring (or placing) employees within an organization. This includes elements of employment branding, outreach, networking, and relationship building with potential candidate communities to continually build and enhance the talent pool for an organization.

Talent Acquisition Technology

Industry segment of the Workforce Solutions Ecosystem, defined as technology based businesses related to attracting, sourcing, recruiting, and hiring (or placing) employees and non-employed workers within an organization. This includes elements of employment branding, candidate attraction, networking, and relationship building with potential candidate communities to continually build and enhance the talent pool for an organization. Talent Acquisition Technology is a broad category which includes Job Boards for advertising vacancies online, Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) for processing new hires, Vendor Management Systems (VMS) for managing staffing suppliers and an emerging category of online services operating within the ‘Human Cloud’.

Talent Engagement

A term to encompass a variety of services related to staffing or payrolling services. Talent Engagement is made up of the following categories, all of which have their own definitions in this lexicon: Managed Service Providers, Recruitment Process Outsourcing, Payrolling, Online Staffing, and Professional Employer Organizations.

Talent Exchange

An online (possibly cloud technology-based) platform spanning worker type (direct employee or contract, task-based, project-based or position-based), location (work where appropriate, needed), and time (global environment, work when it makes sense). This broad definition could conceivably include job boards/social networks, crowdsourcing platforms, and what Staffing Industry Analysts identifies as “Human Cloud” platforms such as oDesk, Elance, etc., and is used in the e-recruitment process.(See also: E-recruitment, Human Cloud, Job Board, Crowdsourcing, Online Staffing, Online Services.)

Talent Management

Interconnected human resource processes designed to source, attract, select, train, develop, retain, promote, and move “regular employees” (as opposed to contingent workers) through an organization with the aim of improving revenue, customer satisfaction, quality, productivity, cost, cycle time, and market capitalization. The major aspects of talent management normally include recruiting, performance management, leadership development and workforce planning/identifying talent gaps. (See:Workforce Management, Total Talent Management)

Talent Management System (TMS)

A talent management system (TMS) is an integrated software suite that addresses recruitment; performance management; learning and development; and compensation management.

Talent Pool

Passive and active sources of talent who are selected based on common interests, location or skills who are potential targets for the sourcing of future candidates.

Talent Pool Management

Proactive approach to registering and managing a group of passive and active candidates and organizing these into interest groups and creating communities of prospective candidates to support candidate interests and to meet client objectives (e.g., diversity, skills, location, seniority). Evidence of talent pool management would include metrics that monitor the size of the pool against pool targets, including new additions as well as how many drop out of the pools. The talent pool is actively managed through a communications plan (supported by CRM technology) and candidates are often given the opportunity to join a pool or unsubscribe after which they may or may not receive company updates or communications that relate to their area of interest or expertise.

Technical Services

The provision of technical and engineering personnel including engineers, computer programmers, systems analysts, designers, drafters, writers, editors and illustrators.

Technical Services Firm

A firm that locates, recruits, and hires technical and/or engineering skilled personnel and then contracts with another company to assign its workers at the customer’s location for a specified duration and/or project.


Working at home, or at another off-site (satellite) location, for an organization whose office is located elsewhere, with one-way or (usually) two-way electronic linkage to that organization via phone, fax, modem, and/or the Internet or a company Intranet. Home work may be full-time, occasional, or a scheduled part of the workweek.


Common abbreviation or colloquial expression for temporary worker.



Temporary Agency Worker (TAW)

Formal legal description in Europe used to describe a temporary supplied via an intermediary such as a staffing firm.

Temporary Employee (“Temporary”)

An employee who performs work for an organization with the expectation that the work will be for a fixed duration. Temporary employees may be hired directly by the employer or sourced through a staffing company and work fulfilling client assignments. May also refer to temporary workers from an internal pool employed directly by an organization for an intentionally limited time period.

Temporary Help

The furnishing of employees to meet the short-term and/or project needs of another employer. Originally used primarily as replacements for office or light industrial workers, temporary help has come to be used across a broad range of skills and occupations. Most of the companies delivering this service are now referred to as staffing firms or temporary staffing firms.

Temporary Help Company

An organization engaged in the business of furnishing its own employees (temporaries) to handle customers’ temporary staffing and special projects needs. A temporary help company recruits, trains, and tests these employees, then assigns them to clients for a finite (albeit sometimes very extended) time period.

Temporary Help Services

Temporary help services typically comprises a third party recruiting and hiring its own staff and assigning those staff to perform work at, or services for, other organizations that need the services of those staff. Assignments of such staff are used typically to support or supplement the other organizations’ workforce in situations such as, but not limited to, employee absence, skills shortage, seasonal workload, or to perform special assignments or projects. On termination of the assignment, the third party providing the temporary help services customarily attempts to reassign the staff to other organizations.

Temporary Placement

A term that is often used to distinguish between the temporary help services of a staffing firm and its “permanent placement” activities. In a legal sense, the term may be used incorrectly, because “placement” refers to affecting an employment relationship, and providing a temporary worker involves the provision of a service by a person already employed by a temporary firm.

Temporary Pool

A group of in-house employees hired directly by a company and used to fill temporary job assignments at that company.

Temporary Staffing

A service segment of the Staffing Industry that provides temporary help and related staffing services to businesses and other clients. The temporary staff provided are recruited, screened, possibly trained, and (in most cases) employed by the temporary staffing provider, then assigned to client organizations. Although the customer typically assumes supervisory responsibility for these workers, in certain service arrangements coordination or supervisory functions may be provided by the supplier.

Temporary Work Agency (TWA)

Formal legal description in Europe used to describe a staffing firm.


Transition of a temporary worker to permanent employment status. This may be on an ad hoc reactive basis where an employer finds that a temporary worker can fulfill a permanent job vacancy or a more formal employment service concept where a client company proactively plans to make a traditional hiring decision during or after a temporary help assignment. The term is falling out of favor due to aversion to the use of “permanent” when referring to a typical “at-will” employment situation. The fee for transitioning a temporary worker in this way would normally be charged at a discount to the staffing company’s standard permanent placement fee and normally related to the length of time the temporary has been assigned to the client. Temp-to-perm fees may be subject to legislation in certain European jurisdictions. SIA counts fees from “temp-to-perm” conversions as a form of direct hire revenue. (Other terms used to describe this process are temp-to-direct, temp-to-hire, try-before-hire or try-before-buy.)


A service segment of the Other Workforce Solutions Industry, Testing is the practice of administering written, oral, or other tests as a means of determining the suitability or desirability of a job applicant or for evaluating the suitability of an existing employee. These may include the evaluation of hard skills such as performance assessments and job knowledge tests but also soft skills by way of personality examinations using various psychometric techniques. Pre-employment screening undertaken before someone is offered a job or temporary position may also include background checks and drug testing which are commonly conducted for hiring in safety critical roles such as heavy machinery or driving and government agencies although there is a growing trend for tests to be administered in a wider range of industries.

Time and Expense System

A system and method for collecting and recording time and expenses. Time and Expense systems can be stand-alone products or integrated in other applications, such as VMS or ERP software.

Time and Materials Contract

Time and materials is a standard phrase in a contract in which the buyer agrees to pay the provider based upon the work performed by the contractor’s employees and subcontractors, and for materials used in the performance of the Assignment. This is opposed to a fixedprice contract in which the buyer agrees to pay the contractor a lump sum for fulfillment of the contract no matter what the contractor pays its employees, sub-contractors and suppliers.

Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)

A business analysis that assesses cost to include direct cost (purchasing price) and indirect cost (related to the use of a service or product). In temporary staffing services, this is often used by employers to ask temporary staffing agencies for proposals to decrease the total cost of using temporary employees, besides the hourly bill rate. Options to reduce TCO are implementing specific Sourcing Models (see definition), close monitoring (e.g., consolidated reporting), or additional services like wage management.

Total Talent Acquisition

A model for Talent Acquisition, subsumed within the concept of Total Talent Management and therefore encompassing the acquisition of all human talent in the broadest sense including “permanently hired” workers as well as all types and sources of “contingent” workers (see Talent Management, Contingent Worker), as well as non-human talent including robots, bots, software and automation. Total Talent Acquisition (TTA) refers not only to the operational approaches to sourcing, recruiting, and engaging talent, but also to higher level strategic considerations of structuring or managing the talent supply chain (i.e., decision about outsourcing, sourcing geographies, etc.). Alongside this comprehensive definition of TTA, there is a spectrum of solutions that are rather less than “total” and only partially meet the definition such as the acquisition of permanently hired workers and some types of contingent workers (i.e. temporary agency workers). Nevertheless, such approaches may be described as TTA by those supplying and using them. TTA differs from Total Talent Management (TTM) in that it does not incorporate policies and practices for the ongoing management and motivation of workers. As such, TTA may be a precursor to the implementation of a full TTM program.

Total Talent Management (aka Total Workforce Management)

A model of talent or workforce management that includes an organization’s acquisition and management of all human talent in the broadest sense including “permanently hired” workers and all types and sources of “contingent” workers (see Talent Management, Contingent Work/Workforce), as well as non-human talent including robots, bots, software and automation. Spurred by organizational bifurcation and the rising importance and preferences of contingent workers, this model seeks to integrate the respective management of “permanent hire” and the “contingent” workforce by HR and Procurement functions. An employer that practices Total Talent Management (TTM) will consider various options such as hiring an employee, using a contingent worker, acquiring or hiring a robot, etc. And when thinking about “engaging” talent, an employer that practices TTM will design programs/approaches that engage ALL Talent, not just employee talent. Alongside this comprehensive definition of TTM, there is a spectrum of solutions that are rather less than “total” and only partially meet the definition such as a program that includes permanently hired workers and some types of contingent workers (i.e., temporary agency workers). Nevertheless, such programs may be described as TTM by those supplying and using them. While Total Talent Management is a term that tends to be used by hiring organizations, RPOs have begun using the term “Blended Workforce Management” to refer to the same concept but provided as an outsourced service by an RPO. Total Talent Management is Staffing Industry Analysts’ preferred descriptor for this phenomenon/development. (See: Contingent RPOBlended Workforce.)

Traditional Employment

Our preferred term for what previously has been called “permanent” employment. Because no job is truly permanent, “traditional employment” provides a better contrast to “contingent employment.”

Traditional Staffing

A segment of temporary staffing that includes, but is not limited to, workers with the skills, knowledge and training required for occupations in light industrial, office/clerical and general labor categories. Sometimes referred to as “Commercial Staffing.”

Training & Accreditation

A service segment of the Other Workforce Solutions Industry, there are many forms of work-related Training provided by third-party experts. Some may relate to a very particular job role such as electrical engineering, accounting or nursing, some provide education on broader skill sets such as sales techniques, public speaking/presenting, health and safety and leadership, while others help workers develop better skills on a particular software program. Many staffing firms will provide training where it can improve the skills (and, therefore, the value) of a temporary worker and, in certain countries, such as France, such training is a legal obligation. Accreditation is formal, third-party recognition of competence to perform specific tasks.

Transactional Pricing

Pricing model that is based on a unit that can vary over time. For instance, price per applicant or price per contractor.

Transfer of Staff

Refers to the transference of staff under outsourcing arrangements. Most countries have legislation in place which determines the obligations of the employer, the responsibilities of the outsourcing firm and the rights of workers. These principles are enshrined under EU law within the Business Transfers Directive and under UK law under the Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment (TUPE) legislation. See Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment (TUPE)

Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment (TUPE)

UK legislation based on the European Union Business Transfers Directive designed to protect the rights of employees including continuity of service, conditions and terms of work in a situation in which an undertaking or service provision — in part or whole — is transferred. This can be an issue when an existing contract for the provision of temporary workers is terminated and transferred to another supplier that does not wish to take on the existing staff.

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