fired vs. laid off, and the difference between a hiring manager and HR by Alison Green on June 13, 2012 I see these words confused all the time, so let’s straighten out some vocabulary issues. 1. Fired vs. laid off vs. terminated Fired: If someone is fired, they are being let go for cause. Laid off: If someone is laid off, they’re being let go for reasons other than performance — the company was restructuring or having financial problems and eliminated the job. (In other words, it’s about the job itself, not the person. At least officially.) So don’t go around telling people that you were fired if you were actually laid off. Terminated: Could be either. But don’t say it — it sounds ridiculous. 2. Recruiter vs. hiring manager vs. HR Internal recruiter: This is an employee of the company who focuses on filling jobs there. External recruiter: This is someone outside the company who has multiple clients that they fill jobs for. Hiring manager: This is not a manager of hiring. This is the person who will be your boss if you’re hired for the job. They manage a team or department or entire organization. For instance, if you’re applying for a job as a communications assistant, the communications director is probably the hiring manager. HR: HR handles benefits, compensation, ensuring compliance with labor laws, and so forth. They often do initial interview screens and facilitate the hiring process, while hiring managers do (or should do) the substantive interviews and make the hiring decision. HR often does reference checks, although good hiring managers will insist on doing their own. (By the way, I am not and was never HR. Stop calling me that.) What other terms have I missed? You may also like:no, you’re not getting anyone firedrecruiter contacted me at my work email address, interviewing for a job where I’d work at a small table in my boss’scan I ask about flexible hours in a job interview?