Dear Matt: I’m considering taking a job with a company that has just gone through some widely publicized layoffs and changes. How do I address any concerns about future layoffs in the interview process?
Matt says: Layoffs are an unfortunate reality of the world of work and will happen at companies small and large. But remember this: The company still has to operate and needs key people to get it moving in the right direction, so this could be a great opportunity to join a company motivated to create positive change. Unfortunately, in a case like this, it’s unlikely that you or anyone can know whether or not your position would be impacted soon after you start, says Tiffany Kuehl (@TiffanyKuehl), a senior account executive in HR consulting with Versique (versique.com), an award-winning executive search and consulting firm.
That’s why it’s important to ask questions during the interview process that alleviate any concerns you have. You know about the layoffs — but focus on learning what’s next for the company and where you fit in. The employer will understand you have these concerns and should be prepared to explain the situation to you in the interview. Remember, they are recruiting you too — and convincing you why their company is the right place to take the next step in your career. They want you to feel confident you are making the right move.
“Let the interviewer know you are extremely interested in them and the position and that you have questions regarding the recent cuts,” says Kuehl.
Ask these questions, says Kuehl:
• Why were there layoffs?
• Are there more planned?
• If so, is it possible this position will be impacted in any way?
• Ask about the company’s strategy and how the position for which you are interviewing supports it.
• Ask about the company’s plans and how the position contributes to them. This will give you some insight into the stability of the role.
“As with any job search, it is a good idea to tap into your network and do research on the company,” says Kuehl. “If you know people who work for, or have worked for, the organization, ask them what the environment is like. Look at what is reported and shared online, news reports and articles, reviews from employees and customers.”
Ask about the things that are important to you and what attracted you to the job in the first place, such as career advancement, an opportunity to work with a prominent company you have long desired to work for, or a chance to work in a job or with a company that fits your personal values and ideals. “If your concerns are addressed and the elements of the role meet your needs and expectations,” says Kuehl, “you should feel comfortable proceeding with the process.”
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