Jargon looking for a job you’ve heard (but maybe don’t understand)

Whether you are a recent college graduate or a long-time employee looking to change careers, the job search can be a bit overwhelming. Especially when you hear jargon and buzzwords you don’t know, but you might not want to admit it.

To help, we have put together a list of words that could be explained. Here’s a list of job search jargon you’ve probably heard (but maybe don’t understand)

ATS (Candidate Tracking System)

Software used by companies to process job applications, track candidates and organize the hiring process. It is important that applicants keep ATS in mind when formatting the resume, as some systems automatically reformat and distribute information in unexpected ways. If your resume is overly formatted with tables and columns, or is in a format that the ATS cannot recognize, it may not make it to the hiring manager all in one piece (more on that here ).

Behavioral questions

These interview questions are designed to draw on past experience as a way to identify future performance. For example, “Can you think of a time when you were not successful? What was the situation? What did you learn from this experience?”

Corporate culture

This refers to a company’s collective values, mission, ethics, code of conduct … its personality. The culture will be different depending on the nature of the company and the employees themselves, but it’s always worth researching before applying for a job or seeking information during an interview.

Compensation package

This may not be the case, but it bears repeating: compensation is more than money. It includes direct benefits, such as salary and bonuses, as well as indirect benefits, such as benefits, benefits, licenses and more. When considering a job offer (or talking to a potential employer), make sure you negotiate the entire compensation package, not just the salary.

Reserve workforce

These are employees who are employed on request (as opposed to permanent employees). This could include freelancers, contract workers, temporary workers or consultants.

Hidden job market

This refers to the fact that only a small percentage of jobs (5 to 40 percent) are posted online or advertised in any way. The rest of the openings are filled by networking, referrals or other means.

On board the ship

Employees include everything a company does to welcome new hires and prepare them for success. It’s more basic training, though it’s part of the onboarding process. It begins the moment an applicant receives a job offer and can last for weeks or even months.

Remote work

aka teleworking, distributed teams, digital workplaces … there are many ways to describe it, but it basically works outside a traditional office. More and more start-ups are working with completely remote teams that work around the world and love to reap the benefits, and employees love it too.

Situational questions

These interview questions are the theoretical counterpart to behavioral questions – they are designed to measure your analytical and problem solving skills. For example, “You disagree with the way your supervisor wants to deal with a problem. What would you do?”

Transformation skills

Professionalism, work ethic and self-confidence are just some examples of the hard-to-measure skills that employers are increasingly looking for in applicants. They are essentially personal attributes, rather than more measurable “difficult” skills such as language proficiency or programming certification.

Talent network

Essentially, a talent network is a way for applicants to keep up to date with your career opportunities – provide your contact information or send your resume to a general inbox to find out when important job openings occur.

Transferable skills

These skills may not be directly related to the job you are applying for, but they can be viewed as an indirect asset. They often go hand in hand with soft skills, but they could also be something like managing a budget that could go beyond many different industries and applications.

Do you want to learn more? There are many sector-specific glossaries and many are worth noting even if you are not an expert in that sector. Check out these jargon lists for PR, advertising and technology to really impress your next interviewer.


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