Feeling confident about your job application but confused by some of the words in the job description? You aren't alone.
HOURS OF WORK
Typically 5 days a week
35+ hours a week
Generally 9am through to 5pm Monday to Friday, but may include weekends
Works less than 35 hours a week
Hours and days worked can vary greatly job to job
PERMANENT You will be required to sign a contract of employment and you will usually receive employee benefits such as health cover or pensions. If you are looking to advance your career a permanent position will be more suited to you, and this usually offers more job security.
TEMPORARY You won’t usually be entitled to company benefits and sometimes you may work through a recruitment agency rather than directly through an employer. Temp roles are typically for a short period of time e.g. holiday or maternity cover. This can be an effective way of gaining work experience if you are unable to commit to a permanent job e.g. student summer work.
ZERO HOURS CONTRACTS The employer is not required to provide a minimum number of hours per week and the employee is not required to accept any work offered. However, employees are still entitled to holidays and to be paid minimum wage.
P.A. / PER ANNUM When used against a salary this means the total amount of money you will earn each year.
PRO RATA This term is used to describe the salary for a part-time job and is a proportionate salary for the amount of hours worked. An example is if a full-time job (40 hours) pays £16,000 a year, 20 hours pro rata would be a proportionate salary of £8,000 per annum.
OTE: ON TARGET EARNINGS This figure is a suggestion on what could be earned in a year, but is not a guaranteed salary. This is normally used when describing a commission-based job, such as sales.
THE JOB ADVERT
JOB DESCRIPTION A list of duties and responsibilities relevant to the job you are applying for. This includes what would be required of you and what tasks you will be expected to do.
PERSON SPECIFICATION A list of skills, knowledge and experience (usually in bullet point format) required for the job you are applying for. The list is usually broken down as “Essential” or “Desirable”.
ESSENTIAL You must have the skills, knowledge or experience to be able to do the job. This can be from any experience you have gained, including voluntary work/ home experience/college/school as well as from work experience.
DESIRABLE These are skills, knowledge or experience that employers would like applicants to have. It is an added bonus if you have the skills listed under desirable, however, it is not essential that applicants meet these criteria.
THE APPLICATION PROCESS
SHORTLISTING This is the process the employer goes through to select successful applicants for interview. They will review applications received and only shortlist the ones closest to the person specification. Those who are not shortlisted are typically rejected from the recruitment process.
ASSESSMENT (CENTRE) This would indicate that the interview process includes a practical test, exercise or assessment, as well as/instead of a traditional interview. This could include taking part in a group task letter or composing a letter or email, and is to assess your suitability for the job.
STARTING THE JOB
PROBATION OR PROBATIONARY PERIOD A period of time set by the employer that starts from day 1 of your new job, and typically last between 3 and 12 months. This is a chance for your employer to assess your suitability for the role. During this time, you may not get all the benefits, pension or holidays that other employees are entitled to. During your probation, you should have regular meetings with your manager to assess your performance. Probation may be extended if you are not meeting the standards required by the employer. At the end of your probationary period, your employment will either be confirmed or terminated; it will usually only be terminated if you are not performing to an acceptable standard.
PERFORMANCE IN THE JOB
KPIs Key Performance Indicators are set out by a company to help employees understand what they are working towards, and for the company/individual to identify any further development or training the employee may require. A manager will often use a KPI plan to outline an employee's expected performance standards and goals as well as outlining areas for skills improvement. This should be reviewed with the employee on a regular basis.
For example: A KPI for a telephone banking advisor might be that they take a minimum of 20 customer calls per 8 hour shift.
PAY AND TAX
NATIONAL INSURANCE (NI) You will begin paying National Insurance once you are aged 16 and over and are earning more than £157 per week. National Insurance Contributions are paid to allow you to qualify for certain state benefits including – in later life – the State Pension.
TAX CODES It is normal to pay tax on your wages but different people pay different levels of tax. Therefore, depending on circumstances, employees will have different tax codes; how much tax is paid relates to how much your income is.
P45 This is a certificate given to an employee at the end of their employment with a company. This provides details of tax code, gross pay, and tax paid for that year. This certificate is then passed to the individual’s new employer.
IN THE JOB
CODE OF CONDUCT Rules outlining the responsibilities, religious rules, social norms and proper practice for individual employees or for the company as a whole. It is important to follow the rules outlined within the code of conduct and to behave in a professional manner at all times.
FLEXI-TIME Some employers offer a flexible working hours arrangement to their staff. Employees still work their set number of weekly hours, however, instead of a standard “9am-5pm”, the start and finishing times are selected and mutually agreed by the employer and employee.
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