Mass layoffs have become a common reality in a world hit by global economic downturns since the pandemic.
In 2022, over 2 million people lost their jobs in the US slone*. The number of tech giants as well as other companies cutting jobs is unfathomable.
However, there is a silver lining for both the ones who’ve had to leave their jobs and companies that are hiring. It’s an opportunity, especially for employers, to hire great talent.
Follow these practices when you reach out to people who’ve been laid off:
Recognize and acknowledge the feelings of those laid off
Nobody likes waking up to an email that asks one to hand over their laptop the same evening, getting an unexpected call informing the person’s been let go, or even worse discovering they’re no more a part of the organization through a random message/tweet. So remember that these folks need special care and consideration. They might be going through a ton of emotions. They might be confused and worried about their future. A simple thing to start off with would be to acknowledge their situation and feelings.
LinkedIn InMail Reachout Templates:
I recently came across your post about having to let go off your job at [company name]. It might be tough to be in that situation. We are hiring for [role] at [your company name] and your experience fits well. Let me know if this interests you. As a recruiter myself, I would like to offer help in whatever way I can.
I saw your post and wanted to reach out.I understand that it can be really difficult to lose a job, especially during these times. I hope you're holding up well.
Not sure if you're looking to take a break before deciding what's next for you. I wanted to share an opportunity just in case it sounds relevant.
We are hiring for a [role] position at [your company name], and after reading about your background, I think you would be a great fit. Please let me know if you're in a headspace to learn more, and know that as a fellow recruiter, I am here to support you and offer any assistance I can.
Wishing you luck,
Further reading: Recruiting email and InMail templates that’ll get you responses from candidates.
Gain trust from the get-go
Showing consideration and acknowledgment is a great start to establishing a relationship with the candidate. Continue that with being transparent from the beginning. Share key information about your hiring process, timeline, compensation, and role expectations upfront. Provide room for questions they might have for you. This will not only help you both evaluate whether the opportunity is a good fit but will also build trust with the candidate early on.
Take them out of an interview mindset and create a two-way conversation
Folks who’re laid off might be on an interview spree and have had enough interviewers asking them “why do you want to work here” or “why should we hire you”. You can rather get a candid conversation started by asking other questions which’ll also help you to get to the candidates better.
Questions you can ask to initiate a two-way conversation:
- ask questions that are not job-related
- ask about their interests, hobbies, family and friends
- ask about their future plans
- ask about how they feel about the job market right now
- ask them if what helps them cope on tough days
Understand their career goals and interests
You obviously want to hire the best fit. So do spend a few minutes getting to know what the candidates wish to pursue and what excites them to do their job.
Questions you can ask to get a clear understanding of their goals and interests:
- What are you looking for in your next opportunity?
- What's most important to you in your next role?
- What's your ideal working environment?
- Is there anything specific you’d like to know about our company?
- What about their skills, experience, and accomplishments
- Ask about the skills they used in previous jobs
- Any skills that you think you had the chance to use, but couldn’t and want to use in the future?
Consider providing adequate time to make decision
These candidates must be experiencing a situation and time they were not prepared for. So consider providing enough time for them to to think about their options, get their finances in order, have the family settled, and also the time to get their personal life sorted. Give them time to respond to prepare the portfolio, resume, and everything else that’s required. Basically, they’ll be at ease when they have adequate time to get their things together.
Discuss the future of the company, reassure the long-term vision
Candidates who’re laid off would be more concerned than ever about their job security and actively seeking stability. Include the following things in your conversation to reassure them that you’re hiring for a long term play:
- company's vision and goals
- you organization’s game plan to achieve those goals
- the culture of your company
- leave policy, health benefits, and related information
This approach will enable the candidate to take informed decisions.
Finally, keep the intention of ‘helping’ intact
One aspect that’s most important while reaching out to people who’ve been laid off is to remember to go in with the intention of being helpful and stick to it no matter the outcome. You aid once and they’ll remember you forever. Make it feel like you’re doing them a favor, and you’ll lose them along with their network… forever. So be an ally!
You can reach out directly to those who're laid off, or put out a social media post telling how you/your company can help those affected. You can also share the list of openings on social media and ask your network to tag those who're laid off. Here's what Kula did during last year's mass layoffs.