The staffing industry, like many specialized industries, has a lexicon all its own. And while some terms are self-explantory, others mean little to those outside the industry. We have therefore compiled a short list of some of the most common staffing industry terms and acronyms.

Administrative or Clerical Staffing: Administrative or Clerical Staffing typically includes the following positions, among others: secretaries, general office clerks, receptionists, administrative assistants, word-processing and data entry operators, cashiers, and phone operators.

American Staffing Association (ASA): The American Staffing Association is the voice of the U.S. staffing industry. Along with its affiliated chapters, ASA promotes the interests of the industry through legal and legislative advocacy, public relations, education, and the establishment of high standards of ethical conduct. ASA was founded in 1966 to ensure the quality of temporary help services and to promote flexible employment opportunities. Members now offer a wide range of services, including temporary and contract staffing, recruiting and placement, outsourcing, training, and human resources consulting. The association's member companies operate more than 15,000 offices across the nation and account for 85% of U.S. industry sales. (information taken from the American Staffing Association web site

Candidate: A Candidate is a job seeker who has submitted his or her information to a staffing agency in the hopes of attaining a position that is best suited to their specific skill set. A candidate may be seeking a permanent or a temporary position and often will work with a recruiter to determine those positions for which they are best qualified.

Employee Leasing or PEO (Professional Employer Organization): In an employee leasing or PEO arrangement, a businesses places all or most of its work force onto the payroll of a staffing firm and the staffing firm assumes responsibility for payroll, benefits, and other human resource functions. In this instance, the staffing firm essentially becomes the human resources department for its client.

Employment Agency: An employment agency typically finds employment or jobs for individuals who are seeking employment. Different from a staffing agency, an employment agency may charge an individual an upfront fee to find them a job. The fee may be paid in advance or taken as a percentage of the salary of the obtained position.

General Labor and Industrial Staffing: General Labor and Industrial Staffing typically include the following positions, among others: manual laborers, construction workers, food handlers, cleaners, assemblers, drivers, tradesmen, machine operators, and maintenance workers.

Health Care Staffing: Health Care Staffing typically includes the following positions, among others: physicians, nurses, medical technicians, therapists, home health aides, and custodial care workers.

Information Technology Staffing: Information Technology Staffing typically includes the following positions, among others: consultants, analysts, programmers, designers, installers, and other occupations involving computer sciences (hardware or software) or communications technology (Internet, telephony, etc.).

Long-Term Staffing: Long-term and Contract Staffing involves a staffing firm supplying employees to work on long-term, indefinite assignments. Employees are recruited, screened, and assigned by the staffing firm.

Managed Services Staffing: Managed Services Staffing involves a staffing firm assuming full responsibility for operating a specific customer function on an ongoing basis. This relationship is primarily an outsourcing of one or more aspects of a client’s business (i.e. – payroll administration).

Payroll Services Staffing: The client recruits its own employees but asks a staffing firm to hire and assign them to perform services. Or workers currently employed by the customer are placed on the payroll of a staffing firm. Payroll services staffing is distinguished from PEO arrangements in that the workers generally are on temporary assignments and make up a small percentage of the customer's work force.

Permanent Placement/Direct Placement Staffing: Permanent Placement or Direct Placement Staffing involves the placement of a candidate with a hiring firm on a permanent basis. In this method of staffing, the staffing firm often performs a comprehensive screening of all viable candidates and the hiring firm will then interview only the best pre-screened candidates. The staffing firm is typically compensated based on the yearly salary of the hired candidate.

Placement: A Placement occurs when a staffing firm brings together a job seeker and an employer for the purpose of establishing an ongoing employment relationship.

Recruiter: A Recruiter is the person within a staffing firm that is responsible for identifying and screening/evaluating qualified candidates for an open position within a client business. The recruiter generally works closely with the hiring firm to determine which candidates are best suited for any open positions.

Recruiting Firm: A recruiting firm is a firm that identifies and helps to procure employees for hiring firms. In contrast to a standard staffing firm, a recruiting firm does not typically place employees within the hiring firm and assume the administrative duties associated with the employees, such as payroll taxes, insurance, etc.

Technical and Mechanical Staffing: Technical and Mechanical Staffing typically includes the following positions, among others: engineers, scientists, laboratory technicians, architects, draftsmen, technical writers and illustrators, automotive mechanics and machinists , and other individuals with special skills or training in technical fields involving math or science (excluding information technology).

Temporary Full-Time Staffing: Temporary Full-Time Staffing involves the placement of a candidate in a full-time position within a hiring firm whose needs are only temporary.

Temporary Part-Time Staffing: Temporary Full-Time Staffing involves the placement of a candidate in a part-time position within a hiring firm whose needs are only temporary.

Temporary Staffing: Temporary Staffing involves the placement of human resources for non-permanent employment needs. The duration of the placement may have specific parameters or be undefined.

Temp-to-Hire Staffing: Temp-to-Hire staffing is the placement of a candidate within a hiring firm for an often-predetermined evaluation period. During the evaluation, it is determined whether the candidate is suited for the position. The candidate is offered the position on a permanent basis at the end of the evaluation period. Temp-to-hire staffing is often preferred by companies that are hiring for a key position within the company.