How Do You Talk About Being Laid Off in a Mass Layoff?

Exponent TeamExponent TeamLast updated

If you've recently been laid off, we're sorry. Our family, friends, and tech colleagues have all been directly impacted by hiring freezes and waves in the tech industry.

Even if you planned to quit your job soon, getting laid off isn't fun.

When markets are afraid of a recession, companies start downsizing.

It's normal to feel anxious about how you'll be received in an interview after getting laid off.

However, as a tech worker, you likely have little to worry about. Below, we'll talk about how you can discuss your layoff in your next job interview.

Mass layoff? In tech, recruiters and employers are often up to date on layoff news as it comes.

Your new employer likely won't be surprised if you tell them you were recently let go as part of a mass layoff. 

Recruiters have also been known to share confidential "layoff lists" with one another. This helps companies find lists of laid-off talent that can be scooped up to work at the next great product.

Why are you looking for a new role?

Always lean into the truth. You don't need to make up a story.

If a recruiter or hiring manager asks you why you left, you could say:

Sample Answer: "Unfortunately, I was one of the 3,700 employees let go from Twitter when they began layoffs unexpectedly.

I had a long track record of proven successes though.

I helped implement changes to the content moderation algorithms that led to a reduction in bot accounts and brought about accessibility changes to make Twitter more accessible to the blind."

Don't dwell on your layoff. Instead, quickly shift the focus back to your achievements.

Keep in mind that you are just giving the facts regarding what happened at your last job. The more confident you sound, the better off you'll be.

Don't inject personal opinions or give justifications about why you think you were one of the employees who got the cut.

It bears repeating, but... don't lie about your layoff! Offers can easily get rescinded if an employer discovers that you lied about your recent layoff or gap in your resume.

How to Negotiate Your Tech Severance Package
Learn how to negotiate the terms of your severance package so that you can maximize your exit.

Remember that when you're laid off, it's usually because of business-wide changes. It likely had nothing to do with your performance.

While layoffs are painful, there was likely very little you could have done to change the outcome. Right now, your energy should point forward to your next professional step.

Gaps on your Resume or LinkedIn

If you're already actively interviewing, don't worry about a résumé or LinkedIn gap! Update both to reflect your real end date.

Don't pretend you still work there for a few months so your resume looks clean!

While rare, it's very possible to have a job offer rescinded because you lied about your employment dates.

You lost your job because of company changes. Not because your performance was poor! When you're fired, it's because the company believed you weren't meeting expectations. In this case, you had no control on the situation.

Now, you're focused on finding the next big opportunity. Use what you learned about your working style, goals, and values at your previous role to dive into something new.

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