Sunday, March 1, 2009

Glossary of HR terms

Ability Testing (cognitive) – A test that measures the applicant's ability to think, comprehend, analyse, and correctly arrive at the most logical conclusion.
Accomplishments -- These are the achievements you have had in your career. These key points really help sell you to an employer -- much more so than everyday job duties or responsibilities. In your cover letters, resumes, and job interviews, focus on key career accomplishments -- especially ones that you can quantify.
Aptitude Testing - A specific test of job knowledge or core technical ability to perform the job to defined standards. Aptitude testing is normally specific to occupation e.g. accountancy or a specific skill, e.g. typing (words per minute).
Attracting - Getting the attention of a wide range of potentially suitable job applicants. So they are aware of the vacancy, know how to apply for it and are motivated to apply for it.
Background Check -- Used by employers to verify the accuracy of the information you provide on your resume or job application -- and beyond. On the rise as prices fall on these services. Items checked include employment verification, educational background/degrees, references, credit history, medical records, driving record, court records, criminal records, and more.
Behavioural based interview - An interview technique that focuses on a candidates past experiences, behaviours, knowledge, skills and abilities by asking the candidate to provide specific examples of when they have demonstrated certain behaviours or skills as a means of predicting future behaviour and performance.
Behavioural competency - The behaviour of the employee which is the subject of measurement and appraisal in terms of whether or not the behaviours shown by an employee are those identified by job analysis/competency profiling as those contributing to team and/or organisational success.
Behavioural Interview Questions - Questions that require the applicant to talk about their actions or behaviour in a previous work situation that demonstrates a relevant competency, (SBO - Situation - Behaviour - Outcome).
Behaviourally anchored rating scale (BARS) - An appraisal that requires raters list important dimensions of a particular job and collect information regarding the critical behaviours that distinguish between successful and unsuccessful performance. These critical behaviours are then categorised and appointed a numerical value that is used as the basis for rating performance.
Benefits -- An important part of your compensation package, and part of the salary negotiation process. Note that every employer offers a different mix of benefits. These benefits may include paid vacations, company holidays, personal days, sick leave, life insurance, health insurance, childcare, flexible hours, gym memberships, and more. Can be worth anywhere from 20 to 40 percent of your salary. See also Compensation Package and Salary.
Best Practice (recruitment) - A process evolving from research, experience, experimentation, and critically evaluating, reviewing, analysing, and seeking feedback to ensure it is as effective, valid and efficient as possible thereby increasing the likelihood it will result in superior recruitment outcomes.
Candidate - 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.
Career Change -- Changing your occupation by devising a strategy to find new career choices. Most experts now predict that the average person will change careers three to five times over the course of his or her work life. Change may occur because you do not enjoy the work as much as you used to. Or maybe you cannot progress further in your career.
Career Coach -- Also called career consultant, career adviser, work-life coach, personal career trainer, and life management facilitator. These professionals have been likened to personal trainers for your life/career, serving the role as your champion, cheerleader, advocate, mentor, partner, and sounding board on all issues related to your job or career search.
Career Objective/Job Objective -- An optional part of your resume, but something you should contemplate whether you place it on your resume or not. It can sharpen the focus of your resume and should be as specific as possible -- and written in a way that shows how you can benefit the employer.
Career path - Refers to the series of any combination of work roles, occupations, or jobs that a person moves through by design and coincidence as their career unfolds. From the company or industry perspective, Career Path is a route that may be taken by workers within a matrix of positions that are connected by increased and new acquisition of skills and knowledge.
Chronological Resume -- See Resume.
Cognitive Ability - Ability with regard to thinking, comprehending, analysing, and evaluating.
Cold Call -- When a job seeker approaches an employer (usually through an uninvited cover letter) who has not publicly announced any job openings.
Company Research -- See Researching Companies.
Compensation Package -- The combination of salary and fringe benefits an employer provides to an employee. When evaluating competing job offers, a job seeker should consider the total package and not just salary. See also Salary and Benefits.
Competencies - They spell out what we need to know and do at work: the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to be effective.
Competitive advantage - ‘People are the source of competitive advantage’. Other systems in an organisation can be copied but not the people in the organisation.
Confidentiality agreement - An agreement restricting an employee from disclosing confidential or proprietary information.
Contextual Performance - Ability to engage in (and frequency of) duties outside the core technical requirements, (e.g. mentoring new staff), that contribute more to the organisational, social, and psychological environment.
Corporate Culture -- The collection of beliefs, expectations, and values shared by an organisation's members and transmitted from one generation of employees to another. The culture sets norms (rules of conduct) that define acceptable behaviour of employees of the organisation. It is important for job seekers to understand the culture of an organisation before accepting a job.
Counter Offer/Counter Proposal -- A salary negotiation technique used by job seekers when a job offer is not at an acceptable level. Almost all elements of a job offer are negotiable, including the salary, non-salary compensation, benefits, and job-specific issues.
Curriculum Vitae -- Also called a CV or vita and similar to a resume, but more formal, and includes a detailed listing of items beyond the typical resume items, such as publications, presentations, professional activities, honours, and additional information. Tends to be used by international job seekers, and those seeking a faculty, research, clinical, or scientific position.
Declining Letter -- A letter sent to an employer to turn down a job offer. The writer should keep the door open in case he or she would like to approach the employer again someday.
Degrees & Certifications -- Recognition bestowed on students upon completion of a unified program of study, including high school, trade schools, TAFE, colleges and universities, and other agencies.
Dress for Success -- First coined by author John Malloy in the 1970s, the term Dress for Success signifies tailoring one's attire, grooming, and overall appearance toward making a great first impression in a job interview -- as well as maintaining a professional look while on the job to aid career advancement. Will dressing properly get you the job? Not by itself, but it will give you a competitive edge and help you make a positive first impression.
Emotional Intelligence - Describes the mental ability an individual possess enabling him/her to be sensitive and understanding to the emotions of others as well as being able to manage their own emotions and impulses.
Employee Relations - A broad term used to refer to the general management and planning of activities related to developing, maintaining, and improving employee relationships by communicating with employees, processing grievances/disputes, etc.
Employee retention - organisational policies and practices designed to meet the diverse needs of employees, and create an environment that encourages employees to remain employed.
Employment Gaps -- Are those periods between jobs when job seekers are unemployed, either by choice or by circumstances. Employers do not like seeing unexplained gaps on resumes, and there are numerous strategies for reducing the impact of these gaps on your future job-hunting.
Empowerment - The process of enabling or authorising an individual to think, behave, take action, and control work and decision-making in autonomous ways.
Equity theory - Based on the notion that people are motivated by a desire for fairness, that is, to be treated fairly and will compare their own efforts and the rewards of others in the organisation with a view to judging the fairness of their treatment.
Exit Interview - An interview between a member of staff of the organisation that an employee is leaving to ascertain the reasons for the employee leaving the organisation. Should not be carried out by employee’s immediate superior. Used for possible changes.
Fixed Term Employment - An employee and an employer may agree that the employment of the employee will end at the close of a specified date or period or on the occurrence of a specified event or at the conclusion of a specified project.
Follow-Up -- An often overlooked and critical part of job-hunting. In the early phases of searching for a job, job seekers must be proactive in showing continued interest in all job leads -- contacting employers after you have submitted your resume. Follow-up is also important after the job interview, first with a thank-you letter, but then also with contact expressing your interest and fit for the position.
Franchise - The right under which a franchisee person or company may market a product or service, as granted by the franchisor (the proprietary owner). A franchise agreement is the contract defining the terms and conditions between the franchisor and franchisee. Franchises often give exclusive rights for a specified area.
Hidden Job Market -- Only about 5-20 percent of all job openings are ever publicly known, which results in about four-fifths of the job market being "closed," meaning you cannot find out about any new openings unless you do some digging. Strategies for uncovering the hidden job market include networking and cold calling.
Human Capital - The collective knowledge, skills and abilities of an organisation’s employees.
Intangible rewards - Non-monetary re-enforcers such as praise given to an employee in recognition of a job well done, or a particular achievement.
Interviewer Bias - When an interviewer fails to rate an applicant only on their ability to provide evidence of relevant job related attributes or competencies. When judgment is impaired by stereotyping, emotion, and subjective evaluations. Common forms: halo / horn effect, contrast effect, similar to me effect, and central tendency.
Job analysis - The preparatory stage for writing job descriptions.
Job Application -- Sometimes also referred to as an Application for Employment. Many organisations require you to complete an application (either to get an interview or prior to an interview). Even though many of the questions duplicate information from your resume, it is extremely important to complete the application neatly, completely, and accurately.
Job Boards -- Also referred to as Job Sites. There are five levels or types of job boards: general job boards (such as and, industry-specific job boards (such as Frontline Retail), geographic-specific job boards (such as JobsWA), and company career centres (such as Jobs@IBM).
Job Description - A written description of a job that includes information regarding the general nature of the work to be performed, specific responsibilities and duties, and the employee characteristics required to perform the job.
Job evaluation - Used for compensation planning purposes, it is the process of comparing a job with other jobs in an organisation to determine an appropriate pay rate for the job.
Job interview - An interview led by a potential employer or a recruitment agency with the aim to select a candidate who is the best match for a job / position. Both the employer and the job seeker want to determine if the fit is right between them. First impressions are very important and preparation is critical to interviewing success. There are various types of job interviews: screening interviews, situational interviews, stress interviews, phone interviews, etc.
KPI - Key Performance Indicators - Tasks that have been agreed between an employee and line manager/HR with an expectation that they will be completed satisfactorily in the time agreed or as an ongoing task.
KSA - Knowledge, Skills and Abilities – the personal attributes that a person has to have to perform the job requirements.
Letter of Acceptance -- Used to confirm the offer of employment and the conditions of the offer; i.e., salary, benefits, starting employment date, etc. It is always a good idea to get the entire offer in writing.
Letter of Agreement -- A brief letter outlining the conditions of employment. Whether initiated by the employer or the candidate, it is always a good idea to get your entire offer in writing. Sometimes is form-based or may even be an employment contract. See also salary and salary negotiation.
Letter of Recommendation -- A letter of support for your skills, ability, and work ethic, usually written by a former boss or co-worker, but could also be from a teacher or personal reference. Seen as worthless in job-hunting because no one who would write you a recommendation letter would say anything negative about you. See references.
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator - A psychological test used to assess an individuals personality type.
Networking -- Involves developing a broad list of contacts -- people you have met through various social, professional, and business functions -- and encouraging them assist you in looking for a job. People in your network may be able to give you job leads, offer you advice and information about a particular company or industry, and introduce you to others so that you can expand your network.
Objectivity - The factual reality, independent from feelings, emotions, bias, prejudice, and subjectivity.
Offer of Employment -- An offer by an employer to a prospective employee that usually specifies the terms of an employment arrangement, including starting date, salary, benefits, working conditions. Also called a job offer.
OH&S - Occupational Health and Safety – the law relating to the health and safety of personnel at work.
Onboarding - A relatively new term, it is more far reaching than historical orientation programs It links new employees with team members very early in the employment process and continuing after the traditional orientation program ends.
Online recruitment - It uses the internet as a channel for advertising job vacancies and often to manage applications. This streamlines and improves the recruitment process while freeing up managers for other tasks.
Organisational Culture - A pattern that emerges from the interlocking system of the beliefs, values and Behavioural expectations of all the members of an organisation.
Orientation - The introduction of employees to their jobs, co-workers, and the organisation by providing them with information regarding such items as policies, procedures, company history, goals, culture, and work rules. Similar to Induction.
Outplacement - A benefit offered by the employer to displaced employees that may consist of such services as job counselling, training, and job-finding assistance.
Passive Job-Search -- A strategy where employed workers stay prepared for new job and career opportunities by maintaining a current resume, continuing to network, staying registered with one or more job-search agents. You are not openly on the job market, but keep an interest in new possibilities.
Peer appraisal - A performance appraisal strategy whereby an employee is reviewed by his/her peers who have sufficient opportunity to examine the individual’s job performance.
Performance Improvement Plan - when you have identified a performance problem and are looking for ways to improve the performance of an employee. The Performance Improvement Plan plays an integral role in correcting performance discrepancies. It is a tool to monitor and measure the deficient work products, processes and/or behaviours of a particular employee in an effort to improve performance or modify behaviour.
Performance Management - This is a process of identifying, evaluating and developing the work performance of employees in an organisation, in order that organisational objectives are more effectively achieved and understood by employees.
Performance planning - A total approach to managing people and performance. Involving setting performance aims and expectations for the organisation, departments and individuals employees.
Personality Testing - Normally not a test but a standardised self-completed questionnaire that requires the applicant to select preferences that best describe themselves. The output is a summary of personality characteristics ratings relative to standardised norms.
Psychometric Testing (recruitment and selection) - Incorporating ability testing, aptitude testing and personality testing.
Quantitative - Relating to, or expressed in terms of quantity, research based on numerical data.
Recruiters/Head hunters/Executive Search Firms -- Professionals who are paid by employers to find candidates for specific positions. They often recruit candidates, but job seekers can also approach them. Often specialise by industry or geographic region. Avoid any firms that require you to pay for their services.
Recruitment - The process of attracting and objectively assessing applicants to determine their suitability for employment.
References -- A group of people who will say good things about you and who know specifics strengths that you offer. Can include work references (current and past supervisors), educational references (former teachers or school administrators), and personal references (who can speak of your character). Always ask people before including them as a reference for you.
Researching Companies -- The process of gathering information about a company, its products, its locations, its corporate culture, its financial successes. This information is extremely valuable in a job interview where you can show off your knowledge of the company, and can help you in writing your cover letter.
Resigning/Resignations -- When you decide it is time to quit your job (also referred to as giving notice), it is always better to submit your official resignation -- with your industry's customary amount of notice. Whenever possible, do not leave on bad terms with your employer.
Resume -- A key job hunting tool used to get an interview, it summarises your accomplishments, your education, as well as your work experience, and should reflect your special mix of skills and strengths.
Salary Negotiation -- An extremely important process in which job seekers attempt to obtain the best compensation package possible, based on skills and experience, the industry salary range, and the company's guidelines.
Salary Requirements -- Some employers may ask you to state the salary you require for a specific job opening. You have to be careful here. If your salary requirement is too high, you will not get an offer. If it is too low, you will not get what you are worth. The best strategy is to state that you are open to any fair offer and are willing to negotiate.
Salary Survey - A published summary report of salary information of benchmarked positions from multiple employers. Human Resources uses a comparison of multiple salary surveys to price jobs to the labour market.
Situational Interview Questions - Questions that require the applicant to talk about their actions or behaviour given a hypothetical work situation that demonstrates a relevant competency.
Subjectivity - Judgment based on personal impressions, feelings and opinions rather than reality (see opposite objectivity).
Successfully Recruiting - Having the preferred job applicant actually accept the offer of employment.
Talent Management - Talent Management, often times referred to as Human Capital Management, is the process recruiting, managing, assessing, developing and maintaining an organisation’s most important resource—it’s people!
Task Performance - Ability to perform the core or technical job requirements, (compare with contextual performance).
Testing -- An increasing number of employers are using a variety of career and skill-based tests to screen job applicants. Thus, you may be asked to take any number of tests during your job search, from aptitude and personality tests to honesty and drug tests.
Thank You Letters -- After every interview, you should send a letter thanking each person who interviewed you. It is just common courtesy, and only a small percentage of job seekers actually perform this crucial ritual, so you will stand out from the crowd.
360-degree feedback - An appraisal process whereby an individual is rated on their performance by people who know something about their work. This can include direct reports, peers, managers, customers, or clients; in fact, anybody who is credible to the individual and is familiar with their work can be included in the feedback process. The individual usually completes a self-assessment exercise on their performance, which is also used in the process.
Training Needs Analysis - A method of analysing how employee skill deficits can be addressed through current or future training and professional development programs, as well as determining the types of training/development programs required, and how to prioritise training/development.
Validity - The degree to which an assessment method or process measures what it is supposed to measure.
Work Sample Test – A short test or exercise containing a problem or scenario that is similar to that encountered in the recruiting position.
Work-life Balance - Having a measure of control over when, where and how an individual works, leading to their being able to enjoy an optimal quality of life. Work-life balance is achieved when an individual’s right to a fulfilled life inside and outside paid work is accepted and respected as the norm, to the mutual benefit of the individual, business, and society.

1 comment:

Dan-Octavian Cătană said...

Thanks a lot for your kind words.

Si Deus nobiscum, quis contra nos?
Îndrăzneşte să cunoşti!
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(Edmund Burke)
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Nu voi fi un om obişnuit pentru că am dreptul să fiu extraordinar. (Peter O`Toole)
Modestia este, faţă de merit, ceea ce este umbra pentru figurile dintr-un tablou: îi dau forţă şi relief. (La Bruyere)
Maestru este numai acela care este dăruit cu harul de a învăţa pe alţii. Cu adevărat maestru este numai cel care, având el însuşi multă bogăţie sufletească, ştie să dea tot, ştiinţă, pricepere şi suflet, fără intenţii preconcepute şi fără să aştepte nimic în schimb. (Octavian Fodor)

Talent hits a target no one else can hit, genius hits a target no one else can see. (Schopenhauer)
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. (Aristotle)