Should You Apply to a Company with Recent Layoffs?
Let’s talk about recent layoffs. Don’t feel like reading? Listen here!
The headlines continue.
The latest: Amazon shrinks staff by 100,000, joining Netflix and Google in a hiring slowdown. Shopify is laying off 1,000 employees. San Francisco genetic tech company Invitae will lay off 1,000 employees, including over 700 local employees.
Meanwhile, the list of companies cutting jobs continues to grow. It could also soon include Ford, which is reportedly making plans to cut as many as 8,000 jobs, mostly in its gas-fueled vehicle division, according to Bloomberg, and cited in the LinkedIn article Layoffs latest: Companies making cuts.
Other companies announcing job cuts include Victoria’s Secret, Asurion, Rivian, GameStop, and NextInsurance.
Should You Apply to a Company with Recent Layoffs?
Despite the headlines — and countless social media posts of people distraught after unexpectedly losing a job — there is something else that job seekers cannot help but wonder about:
Should they apply for jobs at a company that went through a round of layoffs?
After all, Amazon is still operating 24 hours a day. Shopify still has over 9,000 employees working for the multinational e-commerce company headquartered in Ottawa, Ontario. Coinbase, Robinhood, Peloton, and Tesla — companies that announced significant job cuts — are all still operating.
The reality is most companies going through publicized layoffs are also still hiring.
Here at Lensa Insights, we’ve previously discussed how it’s not only possible to survive a layoff but to thrive and get rehired. But the ongoing announcements of hiring freezes in tech and other industries begs the question, “Should you care?”
The answer is, yes, you should care — but you shouldn’t let recent layoffs or a hiring slowdown determine the fate or future of your job search.
Stay Motivated During the Hiring Slowdown
“No communication should drive you to pause your job search,” says Mark Anthony Dyson, host of The Voice of Jobseekers podcast. “You must maintain the courage and gumption you had when you first realized it was time for a change. Surround yourself with motivated people so you can encourage and inform each other of the next opportunity. You can help each other stay on the hunt even if you hear distracting news or contradictory information that tempts you to shrink back.”
This also includes applying for a job with a company with recent layoffs.
“Organizations go through layoffs for a variety of reasons like introduction of new technologies that reduce redundancies, a move to centralize operations in a center of excellence or actual decreases in funding or profit,” says Stacey Wanninger, HR Consultant/Director of On-Call HR for FutureSense, a consulting firm specializing in the areas of organization and people. She explains:
Before accepting an offer with an organization that has gone through layoffs, it is a good idea to do your research. If it’s a medium to large organization, you should be able to find information as to business changes affecting staffing. Also, during the interview process when asked if you have any questions, ask if the organization is going through big changes, and don’t be afraid to ask specifics – after all, it is your future.
Companies go through layoffs for a variety of reasons, says Joyce LeMay, Professor of Business and Economics at Bethel University and founder of Strategic HR Consulting, an HR consultancy firm that advises small and large businesses on HR-related topics.
“A product could be canceled, a company could be merging, or other financial strains can result in layoffs. But it is part of the due diligence of a job seeker to investigate and get enough information to make the best decision before accepting or denying a position.”
Companies May Still Be Hiring After Recent Layoffs
Layoffs often occur in a certain sector or division of a business/organization. In larger organizations, the reality is several divisions may not be immediately affected by a layoff — even though company morale can take a hit, and existing employees can’t help but wonder if their job or division is next.
It was recently announced that 7-Eleven has laid off around 880 corporate employees after its $21 billion acquisition of Speedway. Despite that announcement, business must go on. Every company has a careers page that lists job postings. Even after job cuts and a merger, the 7-Eleven careers page shows over 5,000 open jobs at the multinational chain of retail convenience stores.
Amazon, meanwhile, continues to post thousands of open jobs. Tesla, despite publicized job cuts, also continues to fill open roles.
Layoff Watch 2022: What You Need to Know
Before pursuing a job with a company that just went through layoffs, do your best to find out the reason behind recent layoffs, says Hallie Crawford, a career coach and founder of Create Your Career Path, a boutique career coaching firm known for its holistic, hands-on approach to career coaching.
“This happened with a lot of companies during the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Crawford. “Try to determine if the layoffs were pandemic-related.”
For example, Peloton saw incredible growth during the pandemic when the home fitness market boomed with people in lockdown. Now that life has resumed (close) to normal, demand decreased for Peloton’s line of home exercise equipment, resulting in job cuts.
Crawford explains the importance of researching a company and looking at its history of layoffs:
Does the company do this on a seasonal basis with some of its workers? What does the overall health of the company look like now? Do your due diligence by researching the company online and checking its social media presence. Does anyone in your network work at or previously worked for the company? You may find it useful to request an informational interview to get an insider’s perspective as well.
Moving Forward Despite Layoffs
“There is no problem taking a job with a company that already went through a round of layoffs, but one should proceed with caution,” says Harley Lippman, CEO of Genesis10, one of the largest staffing companies in the U.S. He explains why:
In some cases, the round of layoffs may be over, and the company is rehiring due to growth. In other instances, there may be additional rounds of layoffs coming and the last person hired is often the first person let go. Be sure to ask a lot of questions during the interview process – address the issue upfront. If possible, read up on news on the organization to gain insight. Most importantly, see if you are networked with anyone that works at that company to try and gain the inside scoop.
Despite recent layoffs, companies still need talented workers to succeed. If there is a company where you strive to work and they have open roles, it can still be a good time to apply for a job.
Proceed, but with caution. And excitement. This could be your chance to stand out and get into a company when others are shying away because of publicized layoffs.
Taking a chance could result in the opportunity to pursue a new job with a company that just went through a round of layoffs. But if that opportunity is a fit and matches what you want out of a company, job, and fits your goals, salary, and other requirements to accept a new job — go for it.