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I'm just out of school so this is my first run in with a recruiter and I am a bit confused with the language they are using (English is my 2nd language).

A recruiter contacted me and asked if I was "open to a permanent position".

What do they mean exactly with "open"?

What is the appropriate response if I'm already employed but looking for work?

Do I then respond with "yes, but my notice period is [x weeks]"?

  • Can you clarify what termination period is? Expiration of your current contract? Or do you mean "notice period"? (Notice period is how early you must tell your current employer that you will quit) – Mars Mar 5 at 1:23
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    @Mars yes sorry, notice period is what I meant. – Charanor Mar 5 at 1:43
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    Then yes, "Yes, I am interested. However, I'm currently employed" is a totally fine answer! The recruiter will ask about the notice period later, or you can say what date you are interested in working from. (In case you want some time off before your next job to prepare or recover) – Mars Mar 5 at 1:45
  • Since you mention English is a 2nd language, I just wanted to note that in this context, "open" means "willing to consider". They are asking "Would you consider applying for a permanent position?" – Seth R Mar 5 at 15:38
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He is asking whether you want to be a permanent employee, or a contractor - which is unusual, as contractors generally need some industry experience (always, in my experience, but there might be some exceptions form niche skills).


To make it clear, contractor is "work an hour, get paid for an hour", nothing more. You are temporary, and will probably be let go at the end of the project.

And permanent is "annual salary agreed, paid holiday & sickness, company contributes to you pension, training courses, when the project ends you will be moved to another, etc".

These are general descriptions, but you ought to understand the difference now.

And, as a new grad, your answer to "do you want a job" should probably be "yes" ;-)

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    I was going to upvote the pre-edit answer, but I'm pretty sure there's a difference between contractor and contracted employee. There's also definitely a difference between salaried and permanent employees. The additional info sort of makes the answer harder to understand. I'd just say "regular employee vs temporary employee". – Mars Mar 4 at 6:59
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    I will upvote your comment in any case (and add a horizontal line after the pre-edit text ;-) Sure, there are differences, but they are of degree, not kind. There is vast, yawning chasm between working for yourself and working for a company, and that's what I was trying to convey to an OP who can't really grasp this without work experience, and with English as a second language. Sure, he can understand the words, but can't really grok "what does this mean to me, personally?" until he has worked for a few yeas (I think - I could well be, and often am, wrong ;-). – Mawg says reinstate Monica Mar 4 at 7:04
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    @Mars What difference do you see between "salaried" and "permanent" employees? – Martin Bonner supports Monica Mar 4 at 9:38
  • As a new grad with a job, I would suggest he probably doesn't want another job right now. Much better to get two or three years experience first. – Martin Bonner supports Monica Mar 4 at 9:38
  • Where does he say that he has a job? I missed that. "I'm just out of school so this is my first run in with a recruiter", but I don't see that he has a job – Mawg says reinstate Monica Mar 4 at 11:35
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You've received correct advice in other answers, but I am adding an answer to address the literal questions you asked, just to make sure it's clear. I'm doing this because I think you're confusing the actual content of the question you're being asked with a different question, because of your unfamiliarity with the way they're choosing words.

What do they mean exactly with "open"?

"Open" used in this way means "interested." Are you open to X? means, are you interested in X?

What is the appropriate response if I'm already employed but looking for work?

That's a separate issue. The specific question you were asked doesn't have anything to do with whether or not you're currently working, or how quickly you can start a new job. They are trying to find out if you want contract work or if you want to be a full time employee.

Do I then respond with "yes, but my notice period is [x weeks]"?

You can certainly tell them this, but it won't directly answer their question. You also need to tell them if you want to be a contractor.

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    I think this actually answers the question. The other answers interpret into this way too much, when i think OP doesn't understand the meaning of the sentence. – kirbby Mar 5 at 14:23
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    @kirbby yes - I almost think this question would fit on ELL.SE since it's mostly about the meaning of the words in the generic sense, but it definitely fits here too, given the workplace context. – dwizum Mar 5 at 14:27
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    I would give this more upvotes if I could. I think this is the only answer that actually addresses the question being asked. – Seth R Mar 5 at 15:46
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I think he's just checking whether you are looking for a temporary job before starting a university course (or leaving the country, or having a baby, or whatever).

Some companies want people they can invest in for the long term, others only have a short-term need.

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Your appropriate response is most likely to simply ask the recruiter what they meant.

The recruiter's job is to find you work, and if they use terminology you aren't familiar with you can absolutely ask them about it.

As others have said, a Permanent position is one where your contract is open-ended. As opposed to a fixed-term contract where you may get renewed or released automatically after (for example) six months.
Or as opposed to a Contractor job, where you're hired on for the task, typically with a set time-period, but you're an external contractor, bound by a different set of rules, and either working for yourself, or for an agency.

To be "open" to something is to be willing to accept it.
If you were only looking for a summer job, you would probably not be looking for a permanent role, so the recruiter is checking that you're willing to take on that kind of work.

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