The moment of a layoff is real today for many people, especially for those working in the tech sector where we have seen layoffs across startups as well as large companies in the last few months.

While the immediate moments after a layoff might make us numb and shocked, we have to drum up the courage to start the next job hunt. So it is important to understand the possible impact of layoffs on our job prospects?

It starts with the job-search process. At the early career levels, many people share public posts informing everyone that they are looking for jobs as they were laid off. While that might open the doors for a few people, given the sheer number of layoffs, it is better to have a more personalised approach to get results.

That requires a screening to find who might be hiring and creating a specific list of companies and roles that might have opportunities of interest. It is important to look at transferable skills that can allow the candidate to look at related roles of interest. For example, a strong background in UI/UX may mean not just possible roles in new-age tech-based companies but also in other non-tech companies that are looking to improve the user experience.

Candidates also need to find ways to connect with relevant hiring managers and recruiters through their network. Job consultants and headhunters can be of great help, too, to find relevant opportunities, especially for people with significant experience. But they may not be relevant at very early stages of careers.

Answering the ‘why laid off’ question

Once your application has been shortlisted, the topic of the layoff would definitely be brought up in the interview. How you answer this question is critical.

If you have been a part of a company whose layoffs have been publicly written about, you can set the context about the company’s overall growth shifts and the reason for the layoff in your department or role. Also, showcase your previous experience and demonstrated strengths.

Even if the layoff is not that well reported, it is advisable to be honest and upfront about it. It is good to be professional about the previous company and acknowledge any positive learnings from that experience.

In case the layoffs have happened because the company has gone through a serious issue such as corporate governance or has closed down, the interviewers would know about it already.

Most companies do reference checks and background checks. So it is important to be upfront about the situation.

Choosing alternative routes
Is finding another job the only alternative? Some highly qualified individuals might choose to work in a freelance mode. This could range from taking up individual freelance projects based on your area of expertise or if you are experienced, even opting for a fractional CXO role.

There are several reports of companies also leveraging this route to engage with skilled people in certain areas, especially if they are unsure about the long-term job prospects.

Some might even choose this moment of transition to think through and plan their entrepreneurial dream venture.

Keeping the faith

Regardless of the path chosen, the emotional impact of the layoff might hit people hard. It is important to take comfort in the fact that market trend-led layoff may not be in our control. So keep the spirits high irrespective of what you are looking at — another job or an alternative income generation route.

In fact, Sonica Aron, Founder and Managing Partner, Marching Sheep, says it is important to remain focussed to identify new opportunities. “Despite heavy layoffs in the tech industry, particularly among the tech giants, the tech workforce should not lose heart. The fact is that there is more and more dependence on digitisation and automation across sectors.”

Many people who did get laid off got placed soon again, she says, bolstering her claim with data. “According to a research done by ZipRecruiter, an American employment marketplace for job seekers and employers, approximately 80% of laid off employees from tech roles land a new job within three months of their search. Approximately 40% find a job within less than a month. The need for driving efficiency and effectiveness will see a greater need for technology across industries and functions and relevant talent will always be in demand,” she adds.

This is part of our ongoing retech series on questions around tech layoffs and the emerging answers.

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