piston

English translation: string-pulling or backroom deal-making

GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
French term or phrase:piston
English translation:string-pulling or backroom deal-making
Entered by: Drmanu49

10:25 Feb 28, 2020
French to English translations [PRO]
Bus/Financial - Human Resources
French term or phrase: piston
Hello folks. This term appears in the heading and body of a newsletter article for a French transport and logistics company. Here is the context:

The article is headed "LA COOPTATION N'EST PAS PISTON !".

Then it goes on to say:

La cooptation repose avant tout sur l’entretien et l’activation d’un réseau (personnel ou professionnel) pour obtenir des recommandations dans le cadre d’un recrutement.
Cette pratique met en lien un candidat, un recruteur et un collaborateur (l’auteur de la recommandation).
Contrairement au piston qui consiste à placer une personne dont les compétences n’ont pas été vérifiées, avec la cooptation le coopté devra, tout comme un candidat « classique », traverser toutes les étapes du processus de recrutement pour valider son profil.
Dans l’imaginaire, avec le piston, le candidat accède au poste sans forcément avoir les compétences pour celui-ci.

Now, I understand the meaning - string-pulling, "old boys' network", that kind of thing - my struggle here is how to render this in English and I cannot seem to find a more technical industry term to cover this concept. As ever, your insights would be much appreciated!
Susan McDonald
France
Local time: 20:01
string-pulling or backroom deal-making
Explanation:
are adequate translations
Selected response from:

Drmanu49
France
Local time: 20:01
Grading comment
Selected automatically based on peer agreement.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
4 +3string-pulling or backroom deal-making
Drmanu49
4 +2cronyism
polyglot45
4nepotism
Jeanie Eldon
4old boys' network
Danielle Coleman
3Networking ain't queue-jumping
Wolf Draeger
4 -2favoritism
Vittorio Ferretti
Summary of reference entries provided
Who you know, not what you know
B D Finch
Cronyism fwiw/hth
writeaway

Discussion entries: 7





  

Answers


4 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +3
string-pulling or backroom deal-making


Explanation:
are adequate translations

Drmanu49
France
Local time: 20:01
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in FrenchFrench
PRO pts in category: 26
Grading comment
Selected automatically based on peer agreement.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Tony M: I'd agree with 'string-pulling', but NOT with 'backroom...', which is rather different.
1 hr
  -> Thank you Tony.

neutral  writeaway: https://www.larousse.fr/dictionnaires/francais-anglais/pisto... as found in Larousse
3 hrs

agree  Adrian MM.: a matter of string-pulling www.wordreference.com/fren/piston cf. enchufe (an electrical plug) in Spanish and 'Vitamin B' in Austria.
10 hrs
  -> Thank you.

agree  B D Finch: I'd also agree with string-pulling rather than backroom. Though I think it's and/or connections.
1 day 3 hrs
  -> Thank you.
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6 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): -2
favoritism


Explanation:
"nepotism" favours parents only

Vittorio Ferretti
Local time: 20:01
Native speaker of: Native in GermanGerman

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
disagree  Yvonne Gallagher: No, doesn't work and "nepotism" does NOT refer only to "parents"
1 hr

disagree  B D Finch: Not merely does "nepotism" NOT refer only to "parents", but you don't seem to understand the meaning of "parents" in English (hint: it's not the same as in French).
3 hrs

agree  SafeTex: I just don't get the objections to this.
12 hrs

disagree  Tony M: 'piston' can often rfere to a 'bottom up' scenario, whereas 'favouritism' is a 'top-down' situation: you can't say "my friend in the typing pool used favouritism to get his boss to hire me"
20 hrs
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23 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
old boys' network


Explanation:
I think there is nothing wrong with this phrase, proposed by the asker, and in current use. Of the other alternatives proposed, I think 'cronyism' is the best.


    https://londonlovesbusiness.com/the-real-influence-of-the-old-boys-network/
Danielle Coleman
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:01
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 4

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  Tony M: I think this has other cultural connotations that would be inappropriate here.
49 mins

neutral  Yvonne Gallagher: with Tony's comments
1 hr
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43 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
nepotism


Explanation:
preferential treatment due to having connections

Example sentence(s):
  • Nepotism is the practice of those with power (perhaps your boss or manager), showing favouritism towards friends or family; usually by way of giving them a job or benefits. Originally, nepotism meant favouritism of family members, but today it has a much

    https://www.cv-library.co.uk/career-advice/work-life/dealing-nepotism-workplace
Jeanie Eldon
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:01
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  Tony M: Your definition shows what is wrong with this: "...favouritism towards friends or family" — in the case of 'piston' here, it would not be restricted to only those people. Again, introduces an unwelcome extra connotation....
30 mins

neutral  Yvonne Gallagher: with Tony's comments
1 hr
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10 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +2
cronyism


Explanation:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cronyism

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 3 hrs (2020-02-28 14:05:46 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

you can also talk about givng someone a leg-up

polyglot45
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in FrenchFrench
PRO pts in category: 24

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  Tony M: I am uneasy about this, since 'piston' doesn't necessarily mean the people involved are actually 'cronies' of any form.
1 hr

neutral  Yvonne Gallagher: with Tony's comments
1 hr

agree  writeaway: Imo, this is a good answer for a one-word solution.
2 hrs

agree  Rachel Fell
3 hrs

disagree  Drmanu49: Not necessarily cronies or political.
3 hrs

agree  Stephanie Benoist
8 hrs
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10 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
Networking ain't queue-jumping


Explanation:
If as you say your difficulty isn't with the meaning of piston but rather how it's used in the title of the newsletter, then maybe this is one way to sidestep the problem.

This rendering has the advantage of being short and punchy and hopefully making readers curious enough to go on. Of course, you can use more conventional—and accurate—wording in the body of the text.

If I think of a better option than "queue-jumping", I'll add it in a note. But the idea is of getting a job or position unfairly or not on the basis of merit.

Queue-jump
ODE: Take unfair precedence over others
Collins: To obtain prior consideration or some other advantage out of turn or unfairly

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 1 day 6 hrs (2020-02-29 16:55:43 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Just to clarify, in my answer "networking" translates cooptation (I'm not sure the term is used correctly in the FR but "coopting" is definitely wrong in EN) and "queue-jumping" translates piston.


    Reference: http://www.cnrtl.fr/definition/piston
    Reference: http://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/queue-ju...
Wolf Draeger
South Africa
Local time: 20:01
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  writeaway: imo, a piston is much more close up and personal than networking
16 hrs
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Reference comments


3 hrs peer agreement (net): +2
Reference: Who you know, not what you know

Reference information:
I haven't suggested the above as an answer, because it's a bit wordy. However, the references below indicate that this isn't necessarily either string-pulling or cronyism, though it could include both of the above. It would include a situation that I was once in where I was recommended for a job by a neighbour of a cousin of mine who knew someone in another department of her workplace was looking for someone to fill a post. It wasn't string-pulling, because I hadn't asked to be recommended and didn't know that she'd recommended me until I got a letter inviting me to an interview. It wasn't cronyism, because my cousin hadn't asked her neighbour to do it and I hardly knew the neighbour. The neighbour also barely knew the person who needed to recruit for the position. It was, however, not very ethical because as the job was never advertised and I was the only person who was considered for it. That was completely against equality of opportunity and diversity. It was a very long time ago, and yes I got the job, though the job was adapted (and upgraded) to suit how the recruiter thought I could best fit in to the department, which was also not good HR practice, though it worked very well for both of us and the department at the time.

" “Avoir du piston”, “avoir un piston”, “avoir un coup de piston”, autant d’expressions qui veulent dire « avoir une personne qui nous pousse pour obtenir quelque chose » par son réseau ou par sa fonction dans l’entreprise.
...
"D’un point de vue RH, le piston, bien qu’encore très répandu, n’a pas la part belle. « Le piston, c’est favoriser le recrutement de quelqu’un parce qu’il connaît quelqu’un. Et cela arrive très régulièrement de recevoir des CV par réseau, de personnes recommandant un ami ou un membre de leur famille. La pratique en tant que telle est discriminante et dangereuse pour l’entreprise car elle pousse à recruter des profils qui viennent d’environnements familiers pour les mauvaises raisons, au détriment de critères objectifs. C’est une pratique peu éthique et contraire aux engagements d’un bon RH. » nous livre Stella W., head of talent."

"Le piston est l'action par laquelle une personne est recrutée pour un emploi ou nommée à une fonction grâce à la recommandation ou l'appui1 d'une connaissance qui, travaillant souvent au sein de l'entreprise ou de l'organisation concernée, va recommander le candidat à l'employeur ou à l'institution.

L'employeur valide généralement les compétences du candidat recommandé avant de l'employer. "


    https://www.welcometothejungle.com/fr/articles/piston-entreprise-perception
    https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piston_(entreprise)
B D Finch
France
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 83
1 corroborated select project
in this pair and field What is ProZ.com Project History(SM)?

Peer comments on this reference comment (and responses from the reference poster)
agree  Tony M
18 mins
  -> Thanks Tony
agree  writeaway: Well, piston is the magic word for getting a job at the EC, Nato, etc. Without a piston, no one gets in or even a look in. Cronyism-one has to know the right people. family/friends etc.
31 mins
  -> Thanks writeaway. Lucky I don't want to work for either NATO or the EC!
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4 hrs
Reference: Cronyism fwiw/hth

Reference information:
cro·ny·ism
/ˈkrōnēˌizəm/

nounDEROGATORY
the appointment of friends and associates to positions of authority, without proper regard to their qualifications.
"it looked like an end to the cronyism with which many of the government's appointments had been tainted"

the situation in which someone important gives jobs to friends rather than to independent people who have the necessary skills and experience
https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/crony...

writeaway
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 59
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