I am trying to compose a sentence, and I am currently stuck for the right word. I am trying to say:

In a job interview, the audience would be the employer and the ---------

That is the word I am looking for. I cannot put "employee" as he has not been employed yet. Is there a single word for someone looking for a job? "Job-seeker?"

  • It's, um, linguistics – Thursagen Aug 15 '11 at 10:34
  • 3
    "Unemployed" ;-) – Kit Z. Fox Aug 15 '11 at 13:00
  • Thursagen, in what way does it's "linguistics" make "audience" correct in this case? I'm intrigued. – temptar Aug 15 '11 at 14:22
  • It's kind of metalanguage. It's a technical term for the person/persons receiving the act of communication – Thursagen Aug 15 '11 at 23:05
  • Maybe the word "audience" has some specialized meaning among linguists, but for general use, the word is inappropriate here. An "audience" is a person or persons who are listening to an event, not the participants. "In a job interview, the PARTICIPANTS are the employer and the applicant." If there is an audience at a job interview, that would mean people watching without participating in the interview. Normally "audience" is used for people watching a play or movie or listening to a concert, that sort of thing. – Jay Dec 15 '11 at 14:56

Are you looking for applicant?

Another synonym is candidate (but with a broader meaning).

The Merriam-Webster definition is:

ap·pli·cant - noun \ˈa-pli-kənt\
  •   Definition
        Applicant: one who applies <a job applicant>
  •   Examples
        We interviewed 30 qualified applicants for the job.
        have numerous applicants for the job
  • First Known Use

N.B.: 1776? What kind of job could that have been?

  • I think that jobs existed before 1776, even if that usage of the word 'job' did not. – z7sg Ѫ Aug 15 '11 at 10:53
  • 3
    @z7sg Ѫ, My mistake. I was hinting at the American Revolution but G. Washington actually took office in 1789, 13 years and a few battles after the Declaration of Independence. So that applicants hadn't probably stepped forward in 1776. – Alain Pannetier Φ Aug 15 '11 at 11:53

The person could be a candidate or an interviewee. He/ she could also be referred to as a prospective employee.

  • "Prospective employee" sounds good. Could you compress it into one word? – Thursagen Aug 15 '11 at 10:31
  • 1
    @Thursagen: Not all concepts have single words that accurately describe the concept in every language. – oosterwal Aug 15 '11 at 12:55

I would lean towards interviewee in this case.


The term for this is candidate.

  • 2
    Why is this the only term? Can you provide more details? Can you provide any references that backup your answer. Did you know that two other answers also mention "candidate"? – Mari-Lou A May 11 '15 at 18:34

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