Perhaps not as famous as George Carlin’s infamous Seven Dirty Words, Staffing Talk’s Five Forbidden Words are hopefully just as widely understood among staffing professionals as Carlin’s are for those in TV. But I’ll let you be the judge …


an individual with limited-term employment

Not so much a forbidden word as politically incorrect or faux pas, “temp” (and its plural form, “temps”) has garnered a dirty and quazzi-derogatory reputation as meaning “inferior worker.” In that respect the word is much like “midgets,” a term that people no longer use because it came to represent “inferior person.” People are especially confused by the word’s currently acceptable nomenclature “little people,” seeing as how it literally points out that you’re referring to people who are small (or “vertically inferior”). Likewise confusing is the replacement for “temp,” which is simply “temporary worker/employee,” just a longer form of the exact same derogatory word. In some circles, “temps” are referred to as “contractual,” “seasonal,” “interim,” “limited term,” “casual staff,” “freelance,” or “independent contractor,” but everyone know those are just fancy bullshit ways of saying “temporary worker/employee.”

Temp Agency

an organization that provides employers with limited-term workers

The term “temp” has become derogatory (see previous listing). There’s nothing wrong with the term “agency,” other than the fact that it’s associated with following the word “temp.” Therefore, it has been sullied and is undesirable.

So all contemporaries in the staffing industry fall in one of three categories:
1) Staffing Business – a bipolar term used for both vague and straightforward purposes. Straightforward cases are those in which the leadership has a simple, no-nonsense approach. (ex: “What do you do?” “I run a staffing business.”) Vague cases are those in which said business doesn’t necessarily do staffing, but deals with staffing. (ex: “What do you do?” “I work in the staffing business.”)
2) Staffing Company – a simple term clearly stating that the core of their business specifically deals with staffing. Often used to describe larger operations, or adopted by those that have grown out of their “staffing “business” phase. (ex: “What do you do?” “I own a staffing company.”)
3) Staffing Firm – in concept, exactly the same as a staffing “business” with one clear distinction: they care about sounding fancy and, therefore, are far more pretentious. (ex: “What do you do?” “I’m with a staffing firm.”)

Staffing (UK only)
noun / transitive verb

the selection of workers for a specific job

Much like calling elevators “lifts,” lawyers “barristers,” cookies “biscuits,” and fries “chips” (more examples here), those Limey food-boiling bastards in the UK refuse to call this trade “staffing.” They call it “recruitment.” It doesn’t matter who’s right or wrong (Wikipedia suggests they’re right), because in America we have a saying. It goes, “We’re Number One!” (Other variations include: “We’re the Best … At Everything!” and “America … Fuck Yeah!”) And, therefore, we’re always right. So you should change.

P.S. It’s called a résumé, not a CV. “CV” sounds like a street drug or sexually transmitted disease. Get it right, you damn redcoats.

Cold Call
noun / verb

contacting someone who is not expecting it, and trying to convince them to buy something

A mere mention of this phrase has been known to make one recoil in repulsion, producing mental images of used car salesmen and door-to-door charlatans in plaid suits harassing them to pay money and sign on dotted lines. (Sometimes their thoughts will stray to being attacked by sharks, stemming from the slang term for aggressive salesmen and then moving on to the literal man-eating ocean beasts.) The actual practice of “cold calling” is less prevalent but still exists today. It’s often referred to as “dialing for dollars,” a phrase originating from a TV gameshow popularized in the 60s and the preferred term to the shark-insinuating “cold calling.”

Social Media

digital networking communities often used to share personal information, ideas, messages, and content (videos, articles, photos)

Once widely considered a trend that would revolutionize the staffing industry, social media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, GooglePlus, and Pinterest are now tightly associated with trolling (in the case of businesses) and worthlessness (in the case of individuals). It turns out individuals use these sites for such personal reasons as wasting time, appearing self-important, complaining about things, and showing animals doing human things. While individuals don’t use the sites for professional reasons (in fact, it could arguably be the antithesis of professionalism), businesses use them for only professional reasons such as job boards and self-promotion. And never the twain shall meet.

Potential Candidates to Become Forbidden Staffing Words in the Near Future?
Health Care

Tags: Business, Funny, Forbidden words, George Carlin