Layoff Warning Signs & What To Do When They Happen

From record-high labor shortages to massive amounts of layoffs, the post-pandemic job market continues to shift. The recession has many companies pulling hiring efforts back. Whether it’s scaling back budgets or industry-specific, we go through the signs that a layoff might be coming to your company and how to best prepare yourself.

Warning Signs To Look Out For

  1. Recognize Which Industries Are Getting Hit The Hardest

Industries in the technology and online commerce sectors are getting hit especially hard, specifically those that drastically grew during the pandemic. This includes companies like Meta, which reduced the size of their team by 13%, laying off 11,000 employees. Zuckerberg took the fault saying,

Many people predicted this would be a permanent acceleration that would continue even after the pandemic ended. I did too, so I made the decision to significantly increase our investments. Unfortunately, this did not play out the way I expected. Not only has online commerce returned to prior trends, but the macroeconomic downturn, increased competition, and ads signal loss have caused our revenue to be much lower than I’d expected.”

When a large sum of customers and businesses moved online due to the pandemic, companies expected it to stay that way, not realizing that everything that goes up must come down. In the past, a recession usually affected blue-collar employees. However, the demand for those workers continues while large sums of white-collar employees are being laid off.

  1. Keep Track Of The Company’s Financial Status

It’s difficult not to see layoffs as a personal decision, but it’s simply not. It has much more to do with the company’s poor hiring priorities or significant unexpected changes impacting the business. It’s essential to keep up with your company’s financials in order to predict being laid off. Even if you’re a top earner, do not turn your head when conversations about below-average company earnings and budget cuts rise. Keep an eye on press coverage or company announcements around the subject.

  1. A Shift In The Culture

Take a moment to stop and feel the energy of the workplace and ask yourself if it feels different. This could be a shift in transparency and communication among the company’s leaders. It could also look like removing incentives such as no holiday party, no more free parking, or the environment has simply turned hostile. Do not ignore the small signs, all of these could hint at layoffs in the near future.

It’s not about waiting for layoffs to happen. It’s about being ready before they happen and setting yourself up to be less vulnerable. A Staffworks recruiter can be a resource you keep in your back pocket before a layoff occurs. You can always connect with a recruiter even when you are not looking, just simply being prepared. Allowing us to keep your information on file means it takes one quick call before we start sharing your resume with hiring employers.

Post Layoff – What’s Next?

  • Gather Everything Before Losing Access

If you received awards, be sure to take them with you. Next time a potential employer asks for an instance when you did something remarkable, you now have real examples to leverage. Please be mindful not to take anything that is proprietary or confidential and only items pertaining to your personal achievements. You won’t have access for long, so remember to be proactive, not reactive.

  • Reach Out To Co-Workers

Send an email to co-workers expressing your gratitude for getting the chance to work with them. Share your personal email as well as your LinkedIn account to stay connected. Consider asking close co-workers to be a reference and share your resume with them. You never know who will say your name when an opportunity arises. It’s worth a shot, especially when referred employees have a 28.5% chance of being hired, compared to non-referral employees having only a 2.7% chance.

  • Connect With a Recruiter

Recruiters, like the ones at Staffworks, are dedicated to your job search. We help you update your work history, schedule interviews, and negotiate new pay rates. Recruiters are connected to serious employers ready to hire. This means you aren’t wasting time applying to old jobs that were never taken down or being lost in the shuffle with hundreds of other applicants.

  • Ask HR For a ‘Laid-Off’ Letter

Assuming you are being laid off for reasons outside your control, getting an official letter stating the circumstances is essential. Providing proof to potential employers puts you in a safer position. Without a note, employers can interpret the situation as if you were fired.

  • Find The Company’s Policies Around Unused Days Off

Break out the employee handbook to find out how the company treats unused vacation/sick days or PTO (paid time off). You’d be surprised at the number of companies that pay off unspent vacation days.

  • Ask For a Recommendation Letter

It’s best to maintain a positive connection with the leaders you have worked with throughout your career, even when the circumstances are unfavorable. A recommendation letter from a manager or supervisor can be highly impactful when looking for a new job.


Remember that you are not your job and a company’s inability to keep you is not a reflection of you and your hard work. Staffworks recruiters are there through all the ups and downs of your career. With recent trends of layoffs, it’s essential to recognize the warning signs and the steps to take.

Give yourself peace of mind and speak to a recruiter today about staying on top of your career path.

Share it

Related Posts