5 recruitment buzzwords and what they mean

Last updated:
June 28, 2023
June 30, 2023
min read
Gem Siocon
recruitment buzzwords
Table of contents

Recruitment is constantly changing. The job market has been inundated with various trends and buzzwords that reflect the newest workplace trends and the shifting of employees’  mindsets. 

In this article, we’ll discuss the five most common recruitment buzzwords, their meaning, how they started, and their impact on recruitment. 

Quiet Hiring 

What does it mean? 

According to Gartner, quiet hiring is a recruitment practice where organizations employ additional skill sets without actually hiring new workers. It addresses business needs by assigning employees new responsibilities. It is conducted unofficially and discreetly, involving only a few applicants or employees. The company may also recruit temporary employees to do specific work. 

When did it start?

The quiet hiring trend appeared in early 2023 to address the massive layoffs by US companies to cut costs in anticipation of a recession. Many companies reduce expenses using their existing workforce or contractors to perform essential functions. 

One of the most notable companies that used this recruitment technique was Google

Its quiet hiring strategy taps its workforce to search and interview external candidates. For each role, 5 to 6 Google employees create a hiring committee to screen and evaluate applicants based on five key criteria. 2 of these criteria are internal references and employee testimonials, which makes it difficult for candidates without internal connections to get a job in Google. 

Examples of quiet hiring

  • Employees are given a new set of responsibilities without promotion or salary increase
  • Company provides customized learning development programs in preparation for extra tasks or project
  • Company asks you to perform activities outside your job description
  • Company makes promises to hire new full-time employees to take the additional workload but instead does not do any recruitment, and recruits temporary workers 

Impact on recruitment 

  1. Reduced costs - employers can save on recruitment expenses by tapping only on their existing employees to bring in new candidates. Moreover, they can only hire temporary workers instead of full-time employees
  2. Address skills gap - companies may hire contract workers to resolve the missing competency in the workforce
  3. Limited candidate pool - the company can only reach a certain number of applicants due to employee referrals, which may hurt the company’s diversity and inclusion or create a failure to comply with anti-discrimination laws 

The Great Resignation

What does it mean? 

The Great Resignation is described as the massive resignation phenomenon that is happening across the globe, despite strong labor demand and low unemployment conditions post-pandemic. 

When did it start?

Texas A&M University professor Anthony Klotz coined the term on May 2021, when millions of people quit their jobs.

Covid-19 prompted the Great Resignation, where many employees left their companies. However, this phenomenon is not just because of the pandemic but a continuation of the developing trend of people leaving their jobs for the past 10 years. The main causes cited were wage stagnation amid the growing costs of living, lack of career development opportunities, inadequate benefits, inflexible work policies, and chronic job dissatisfaction. 

Examples of the great resignation

Impact on recruitment 

As candidates’ preferences and priorities evolve, recruiters face difficulties attracting and retaining high-quality applicants to meet business needs. Events like this should prompt HR and employers to review recruitment strategies to keep up with these labor market changes. 

To address the Great Resignation, employers must improve their salaries and benefits packages. Rising costs and the demand for remote work should prod organizations to offer salaries that reflect the job market. Another point to address would be the introduction of remote/hybrid work policies that allow employees to have a work-life balance. Learning and development opportunities must also be available to support employees’ career growth goals, so they don’t resign and search for another employer. 

Quiet quitting

What does it mean? 

Quiet quitting means performing only the job's minimum requirements. Employees put only the necessary work and effort into completing tasks.  Rather than resign, they would rather stick to what’s in the job description and set strict boundaries to avoid working long hours. 

It is a pushback from previous generations' usual ‘work hard’ ethic. Quiet quitting is linked to employee burnout and disengagement. According to a Deloitte study, Gen Z employees prioritize work-life balance. So by quitting quietly, these employees can go home and leave work behind to pursue non-work-related activities. 

When did it start?

Quiet hitting was introduced by career coach and employment influencer Brian Creely. He used the phrase when speaking about an Insider article about how employees are ‘coasting’ at work. It became viral on Tiktok, in particular with Gen Z workers. 

The term became popular during the Great Resignation, sparked by the labor rights movement in the USA. Many employees started contemplating their work, pay, and how they were treated inside the workplace. Low pay, feeling disrespected, and lack of career advancement were the main causes for Americans to quit their jobs in 2021, as per a Pew Research Center survey. 

Examples of quiet quitting 

  • Coming to work late or leaving early
  • Having too many breaks or extended breaks 
  • Taking too many absences more than once 
  • Not attending meetings or not speaking during meetings unless addressed directly
  • Drop in productivity levels
  • Rejecting tasks not covered outside job description
  • Reduced contribution to team projects
  • Not responding to emails after working hours and weekends
  • Not volunteering to additional work, responsibilities or leadership roles
  • Avoiding social events at work or missing team building activities 
  • Lack of enthusiasm or passion at work

Impact on recruitment 

You need to fine-tune your recruitment process to attract high-quality candidates that can become committed and highly-engaged employees to reduce the likelihood of quiet quitters in your organization: 

1. Write accurate job descriptions

Make sure that the duties and responsibilities in your job description reflect the daily realities of the role. A mismatch between the job description and what’s happening daily can cause employees disillusionment and dissatisfaction. Ultimately, it can lead to quiet quitting behavior. 

2. Hire for culture fit 

More than skills, hiring people who are considered a good culture-fit for your company is also important. New employees who fit into your culture are more likely to be productive, enthusiastic, and excel in their roles. They find purpose in their positions and won’t limit themselves to perform within their job description. They seek more responsibilities because they want to grow their careers in the organization. 

3. Improve company culture 

Quiet quitting won’t show in the organization during the early stages of the employee’s tenure. It shows as the employee works and experiences the workplace culture. To understand how your employees feel about your culture, check out employer review sites like Glassdoor. Review the comments so you can take action to improve your recruitment and employee engagement strategies accordingly. 

Data-driven Recruitment 

What does it mean? 

Data-driven recruiting refers to the use of data and analytics to improve the overall recruiting process. 

When did it start?

Data-driven recruiting has been evolving over time with the increasing availability of technology and data. It can be traced back to the late 1990s and early 2000s when companies began using ATS and online job boards to collect and analyze recruitment data.

During this time, companies started recognizing the value of gathering and analyzing data on applicant sourcing, candidate qualifications, and recruitment metrics to make more informed hiring decisions. The use of data in recruiting further expanded with the rise of social media platforms and professional networking sites. 

In recent years, technological advancements and the increasing availability of big data and machine learning have accelerated the adoption of data-driven recruiting.

Modern recruitment platforms and ATS now integrate analytics features, enabling recruiters to measure the effectiveness of their sourcing strategies, optimize candidate screening processes, and make data-backed decisions throughout the hiring pipeline.

Overall, data-driven recruiting has evolved over time and continues to develop as organizations recognize its potential to enhance efficiency, reduce bias, and improve the quality of hires.

Examples of data-driven recruiting 

  • Resume screening - use software that analyzes resumes and assigns scores based on experience, skills, and education 
  • Skills assessment – Scores from tests and examinations that measure the applicants’ skills, competencies, and personality traits
  • Job interviews – scores candidate’s responses to job interview questions related to  work experience, interpersonal skills, and cultural fit

Impact on recruitment 

Using a data-driven approach to recruitment will help you improve your overall recruitment strategy like 

  1. To speed up the hiring process, you focus on speed-related KPIs like time to fill, and time to productivity of candidates
  2. To cut down on recruitment costs, you analyze cost-related metrics like cost per hire or job advertising performance 
  3. To ensure employee retention, concentrate on quality-related metrics like quality of hire, new hire turnover, and new hire retention rate

Diversity Recruiting 

What does it mean? 

Diversity recruiting refers to attracting, sourcing, and hiring individuals from diverse backgrounds, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, disability, and cultural or socioeconomic backgrounds. It aims to ensure that the workforce reflects the diversity present in society and promotes equal opportunity and inclusion within organizations.

When did it start?

Diversity recruiting emerged as a response to historical and ongoing inequalities and underrepresentation in the workforce. No specific date or moment marks the beginning of diversity recruiting. It can be traced back to the civil and social justice movements that fought for equal rights and opportunities for marginalized groups.

However, diversity recruiting as a deliberate strategy to actively seek out and attract candidates from diverse backgrounds gained prominence in the 1980s and 1990s. Since then, diversity recruiting has expanded, covering gender, age, sexual orientation, disability, and socioeconomic background. It has become an integral part of talent acquisition strategies for many organizations, driven by both ethical considerations and the recognition that diverse teams lead to better innovation, problem-solving, and organizational performance.

Examples of diversity recruiting 

  • Writing inclusive job descriptions - crafting job descriptions and ads that use inclusive language and emphasize the organization's commitment to diversity and inclusion.
  • Building diverse interview panels: building interview panels consists of individuals from diverse backgrounds who can assess candidates fairly and from a variety of perspectives.
  • Participate in career fairs and networking events dedicated to diverse talent - meet and interview a large pool of applicants from various backgrounds  

Impact on recruitment 

  1. Reach more candidates -diversity recruiting expands the pool of potential applicants, which increases the chances of finding qualified candidates with a more diverse range of expertise and experiences
  2. Stronger employer brand and reputation - candidates from diverse backgrounds and underrepresented groups are more likely to be attracted to companies that promote DEI. 
  3. Compliance with legal and ethical requirements - organizations will comply with legal requirements related to equal employment opportunity and anti-discrimination laws.

Why should recruiters pay attention to these buzzwords?

Recruitment buzzwords often reflect larger trends and changes in the job market, which can provide valuable insights for recruiters and employers. Here's how they can help understand what to focus on to attract top candidates and foster engaged employees:

  1. Buzzwords indicate the emerging practices and expectations in the job markets so recruiters can align their recruitment strategies to remain competitive and appealing to top candidates
  2. Buzzwords mirror the changing preferences of job seekers so recruiters can adapt their policies, benefits, and work arrangements to better suit candidates' needs
  3. Buzzwords can influence the employer's brand perception so by incorporating these terms into their employer branding efforts, they can effectively communicate their employer value proposition to potential candidates. 


Whether it's a one-time event or something more long-term and permanent, HR professionals should keep up with the latest information about careers and recruiting. 

While recruitment buzzwords should be taken into the proper context and with an understanding of their real meaning, incorporating them into your recruitment efforts can be a valuable strategy for staying relevant, attracting top talent, and demonstrating industry knowledge. 

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