Glossary of Terms

Understand Common HR Terms



The ability to automate a judgment based on background screening outcome. This judgment often results in “meets requirements” or “does not meet requirements” outcome. Once adjudication takes place automatic distribution and/or adverse action can occur.

Applicant Tracking System (ATS)

Any system, whether in paper or software form, that manages both an organization’s job posting and data collection (i.e., resume/applications) process to efficiently match prospective candidates to the proper positions.


A common measure used in human resources to evaluate the average costs incurred in recruiting and hiring new employees. Generally the equation is total recruitment costs divided by total number of new hires. Typical components of this measure include relocation costs, advertising/job board fees, interviewing expenses, referral bonuses, recruitment staff compensation, skills assessment and pre-employment screening.

Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA)

A credit bureau that gathers and provides information about individuals - such as if they pay their bills on time or have filed bankruptcy - to creditors, employers, and landlords. Companies that perform pre-employment screening services are also considered CRAs and are governed by the FCRA, as are the employers that use background screening services.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

A technology designed to help organizations maintain interaction with their customers.

Employee Relationship Management (ERM)

ERM applications work in conjunction with ERP systems, which hold critical employee data. Through the Internet, ERM applications give employees access to their own training, benefit and payroll information.

Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO)

A system of employment practices regulated by the EEOC under which individuals are not excluded from any participation, advancement, or benefits due to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or any other action that cannot lawfully be the basis for employment actions.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

The federal agency responsible for administration of several statutes that prohibit discrimination; has power to subpoena witnesses, issue guidelines that have the force of law, render decisions, provide technical assistance to employers, and provide legal assistance to complainants.


Recruiting methods that take place via the Internet such as job boards.

Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)

The FCRA is designed to protect individuals, by promoting accuracy, fairness, and privacy of information in the files of every Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA). Companies that perform pre-employment screening services are governed by the FCRA, as are the employers that use background screening services.

Form 8850

A form used by employers to pre-screen and to make a written request to a State Employment Security Agency (SESA) to certify an individual as either a member of a targeted group for purposes of qualifying for the work opportunity credit, or a long-term family assistance recipient for purposes of qualifying for the welfare-to-work credit.

Form I9

Federal form required of all appointees to verify their U.S. citizenship, or if they are aliens, their eligibility for employment in accordance with the Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1986.

Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS)

Software-based systems that manage all or a part of the human resources function of an organization. Typical functionality includes employment demographics, benefits/compensation management, training, payroll and reporting.


An operating language established by voluntary members of the human resources community who agree to use common definitions to facilitate automated exchange of all HR-related data between organizations.


The actual part of a software program or Web-based application that the user sees and uses. This is normally designed to be easy to use and aesthetically pleasing.

Job board

Any formal, organized place where jobs can be posted for prospective applicants to view and apply. Examples include bulletin boards, Web sites (i.e., and recruitment agencies.

Management reports

Reports designed to reflect pre-screening report activity. An example is a report that displays turnaround time for reports and types of reports ordered. This is different from the pre-employment screening report, which displays information specific to the individual candidate.

Pre-employment screening

Pre-employment screening services include background verification, drug screening, skills assessment and behavioral assessment tools. A thorough background screen verifies important factual information about a prospective employee (i.e. identity, employment history, education credentials). It also helps gain critical information about an applicant’s character and past history that isn’t always apparent in an interview or application, such as criminal history, credit history, and driving record.


Input into a system that affects existing data immediately, as opposed to a batch-processed system that collects all data inputs and then processes them all at a later time. This is a common buzzword that indicates that data can be accessed or edited immediately.


A common measure used in human resources to evaluate the average amount of time it takes to fill an open position. This is normally measured from the point the job request is submitted by the hiring manager to the point the new employee walks in the door.

Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) 

A federal income tax credit that encourages private sector employers to hire eight targeted groups of job seekers.


Short for Extensible Markup Language. XML is a language designed especially for Web documents. It enables the definition, transmission, validation, and interpretation of data between applications and between organizations.

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