This glossary of executive search and recruiting terms was created over a two year period when Mark Haluska and myself, David Perry, wrote Executive Recruiting for Dummies.

Executive search and recruiting terminology can be confusing, the glossary is designed to provide readers with concrete definitions of the common terms used in all the major aspects of executive search and recruiting.   We trust it will serve as a handy guide for hiring managers, human resource staff, recruiters, researchers, sourcers and everyone else involved in recruiting for your organization.

Here are a few definitions from the glossary of executive search and recruiting terms:

  1. benchmark candidate: A person who represents the “ideal candidate.” The recruiter and search chair interview the benchmark candidate to gauge whether the job description is clear and correct. This interview occurs before the recruiter actively begins the search.
  2. candidate universe: The group of candidates who might meet the basic qualifications for an open position and are considered worthy of further investigation. Creating this list of potential candidates is the first step of every search. The candidate universe will vary in size depending on the job type, industry, geography, organization, and hiring manager requirements.
  3. confidential candidate brief (CCB): A document used by the recruiter in lieu of a résumé or CV during the qualifying stages of a candidate search. The CCB asks specific questions about a candidate’s experience relative to the position that needs to be filled.
  4. off-limits agreement: An agreement that prevents a recruiter from targeting executives at one client company for employment at another company — in other words, putting them off-limits. The standard off-limits policy, outlined by the Association of Executive Search Consultants, stipulates that a search firm will not approach a company that it has worked for during the previous two years. Also known as a hands-off agreement.
  5. position profile: A detailed document that describes the ideal candidate, including key responsibilities and relationships. A marketing tool, the position profile is shared with prospective candidates to sell them on entering the search process.
  6. search committee chair: The person responsible for managing a proactive, timely, fair,
    and legal search process to find and hire an executive.
  7. talent mapping: The process of building an intelligence chart for a given organization or industry. Talent mapping involves identifying the names, titles, responsibilities, and accomplishments of people in companies in the targeted industry who may be qualified for a position, either now or in the future. See also candidate universe.

After you check out the entire glossary please do let us know if we missed any terms.

A Handy Glossary of Executive Search and Recruiting Terms

Click here to read the Glossary of Executive Search and Recruiting Terms piece in its entirety and download a copy.