In the Media

Advanced Search
  • Friday, August 5, 2022
    Business Insider

    Some workers still feel there's a stigma around getting laid off, career experts told Insider.

    But these experts say there's nothing to be ashamed of when the situation is out of your control.

    They advocated for honesty and positivity in future job interviews.

    Margaret Buj, a career coach, recently had a client who was one of 100 people to be made redundant by a Chinese company in September 2021.

    "She still feels a bit ashamed, almost as if it was a performance reason, which it definitely wasn't," Buj told Insider. "She was like, 'Oh, my God, what do I do?"

    Buj said "there's nothing to be ashamed of," about getting laid off because usually it isn't personal.

    In this case, they've actually moved all operations to Singapore and she was one of 100 people," she said. "So that's very different, if you're in a situation like that, mention that you're one of 100 people who are being let go."

    Employers don't necessarily view layoffs negatively because lots of different events can impact a business, according to Sara Skirboll, vice president of communication at CareerBuilder.

    "If you're a professional or a hiring manager or an HR professional, you're going to understand and recognize that it's not the employee or the job seeker's fault. These things happen, and they're out of their control," she said.

    As layoffs sweep industries across the US, almost 80% of workers are worried about losing their job in the next recession, according to a survey by Insight Global. The number of job cuts happening right now has also led to workers posting publicly about their layoffs and appealing to their networks for new roles. 

    If you've been laid off, here's how you can handle the discussion in a job interview.

    1. Be honest about the situation

    It's important to be honest and upfront about being laid off in the interview, because hiring managers need to know it wasn't a personal decision.

    "If you were laid off due to the current state of the economy, be honest. Just let them know the job loss wasn't a result of your performance," Skirboll said.

    Explaining the circumstances behind the decision can also create greater clarity.

    Buj said: "I've seen that happen loads of times, there's a merger or something, perhaps there was a reorganization, and all employees in your team or in your division were eliminated. If you have been in a situation like that, I think it's important to mention that you're not the only person affected."

    2. Be positive and focus on skills and achievements

    Although being laid off is an emotionally challenging experience, Skirboll said it pays to "focus on the positives" when job hunting.

    "You have to find a way to spin it," Skirboll said. "Talk about your skills and your achievements and what you did and how you brought value to the organization, and not necessarily drilling in the fact that you were laid off."

    Buj also said to show how you "added value" to your role when you were employed, so making a list of quantifiable achievements is a good place to start.

    She said: "Mention what are the skills and qualities that you leveraged to generate those results, and you definitely want to have specific examples and stories that will illustrate and demonstrate how you've helped your department achieve those goals."

    3. Highlight what you did during the employment gap

    Senior and executive positions are harder to come by and higher risk for the prospective employer, so it naturally takes longer to secure those jobs. Filling that gap with productive work is important.

    "If you're in a managing director position then these jobs aren't exactly everywhere. It can take time to find, and especially an executive job search will take six to nine months," Buj said. "If you have more than that brief employment gap, the interviewer will probably ask you 'Okay, what have you been doing while you've been out of work?'. You ideally want to emphasize anything positive that you've done to upgrade your skills during that time.

    "Take up volunteering, learning, or consulting work, she said.

    4. Don't bash your ex-employer

    It's tempting to bash your previous employer if you went through a particularly difficult layoff, but that's never a good idea.

    You should maintain a "neutral or positive tone" when talking about an ex-employer Buj advised.

    "Even if you think your last employer was just completely horrible, don't mention that in an interview. You want to really avoid any kind of derogatory remarks about former bosses or colleagues. You think that it's obvious, but actually, it's not. I've seen some really senior people making that mistake."

    Skirboll warned that this is a "red flag" as employers may think you'll talk about them that way in the future. 

    5. Maintain relationships

    Have your references lined up in advance, because showing you still have a good relationship with your previous company is always a good sign.

    Buj said: "Let's say you have a conversation with the recruiter or the hiring manager that you were laid off, you can explain there was a merger or the whole department was affected. However, saying 'I have plenty of positive references, so I'd be very welcome again' definitely makes a much better impression."

    Buj said she was laid off by a startup in 2015 because it had lost some big clients. She was one of 23 people to be let go in the same week.

    "I had great references from my CEO who I was reporting to, and he's actually the one who got me some freelance work later," she said. "He also recommended me to some other people." 

  • Tuesday, July 19, 2022
    Employee Benefit News