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Should you take a job with a company that’s laying people off?

2 min read


If you’re in HR, you know this better than anyone else: Companies that are laying people off — or that are in serious trouble — are often still hiring different people at the same time.  Your first reaction to a job-opening announcement by a company like that might be to shrug and keep clicking through to other listings, but maybe you should slow down and give the possibility some serious consideration.

That opportunity could be a great chance to move your career forward. And it’s possible that if the hiring company has been suffering some bad PR lately, you might find yourself with very little competition for that great job.

Here are some excellent reasons to take the job that nobody wants:

  • You’re just starting your career and the company is filling its new-hire pipeline with high-potential newbies.
  • The company is changing strategy, and the job you’re applying for directly serves that strategy.
  • The company would look great on your resume.
  • You need the skills and experience that his job will give you.

But if you see the following signs, take them as evidence that you should probably take a pass on the job and keep looking:

  • The hiring manager sends off angry or distracted vibes.
  • The hiring manager seems freakishly cheerful.
  • Your interviewer can’t clearly paint the picture for you as to how this position directly serves the company strategy.
  • The job isn’t exactly a new one, and the person you’re replacing isn’t exactly a young one.
  • You need some sign of stability on your resume.

Martha Finney, president and CEO of Engagement Journeys, helps companies build authentically engaging workplace cultures.  She is the author of more than 15 books, including “The Truth About Getting the Best From People.”