Should You Apply For a Job at a Company Actively Conducting Layoffs?

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Anyone pursuing a career in tech had every reason to worry heading into 2023. Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Meta and other industry bigs laid off more than 70,000 workers between January 2022 and January 2023, with more cuts to follow.

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According to CNBC, rising interest rates, slowing growth and ongoing recession fears were the primary culprits in the great tech downsizing — yet all four of those companies and many of the rest are still recruiting and hiring for thousands of open positions.

Does it make sense to apply for those positions, or should job hunters always treat layoffs as a red flag? 

The answer depends on the company, the reason for the layoffs and you. 

First, the Bad News — Layoffs Are Bad News

If you Google a business you’re interested in joining, but you think twice upon learning that the company is cutting jobs, your instincts are spot-on.

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“When a company is undergoing layoffs, it is usually an indication that it’s experiencing financial difficulties or restructuring its operations,” said Shirley Borg, head of an award-winning human resources team at Energy Casino. “In such situations, the company is likely to be more focused on cost-cutting measures and streamlining its existing workforce, rather than expanding its workforce.”

The Issue Is Morale as Much as Money

Cost-cutting through labor reductions isn’t just an indictment of a company’s financial health. Layoffs affect a workforce’s collective psyche, and you’ll want to know if you’re joining a team that feels like it’s in the crosshairs.

“Layoffs can often create a negative work environment, leading to lower employee morale and decreased productivity,” Borg said. “This is not an environment in which new hires would be able to thrive, and the company may struggle to integrate them effectively into their existing team.” 

Also, if the layoffs spread, newbies are usually first on the chopping block. 

Take Our Poll: Do You Have a Second Job or Backup Plan in Case You Are Laid Off?

An Investigation Should Precede an Application

Although layoffs should ring an alarm bell, downsizing is sometimes an unfortunate part of the business cycle’s natural ebb and flow, even for healthy companies. 

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Before you start polishing your resume, find out why the business is cutting jobs.

“It’s important to consider the reasons behind a company’s layoffs before deciding whether or not to apply,” said Kimberley Tyler-Smith, an executive at the career tech platform Resume Worded, which serves more than 1 million job seekers per month. “While layoffs can signify financial instability, it’s important to remember that they don’t necessarily mean the company is on the brink of collapse.” 

Do the People Getting Fired Share Your Job Title?

When you’re dealing with a large company, find out if the cuts are limited to a particular segment, each of which often operates independently from the others.

“This can happen when a company is restructuring or shifting its focus to a different area of the business,” Tyler-Smith said. “For example, a company may lay off employees in one department while actively recruiting for a different department that’s experiencing growth.”

A move by Amazon to eliminate drivers might not impact its need for coders.

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“Corporations do sometimes eliminate part of their workforce while still recruiting and hiring,” Tyler-Smith said. “In many cases, layoffs are a strategic move to streamline operations, cut costs, and position the company for long-term success. In these instances, it may be worth applying to the company, especially if it is still actively recruiting and hiring. But before doing so, do your research and gather as much information as possible about the company and its current situation.”

Layoffs Provide a Window of Opportunity at the Entry Level

Those just entering the workforce, changing careers or otherwise looking to get their hands on the bottom rung of any company ladder should view downsizing not as a warning sign, but as an opportunity. That’s because expensive senior positions offer the juiciest targets to corporate bean counters when a company decides to save money by shrinking its staff.

“Many companies conducting layoffs are also opening new positions because salaries are cheaper for newly opened jobs,” said Steven Mostyn, chief human resources officer at “There are many benefits of opening new jobs, but one of the best is that salaries are a lot cheaper for entry-level jobs.”

In the End, It All Depends on What You Hope To Gain

Conduct your research to find out who the company is laying off and why, but base your final decision to apply on why you’re pursuing the company in the first place.

“I always look at what the job candidate’s professional vision and goals are,” said Gaye Weintraub, a career counselor with nearly 30 years of experience. “If, for example, the person just wants to get their foot in the door at that specific company or wants to have that specific company and/or job title on their resume, then yes, apply. However, for candidates applying because they need long-term employment and/or are looking to start their careers, and the company name doesn’t matter, it doesn’t hurt to apply, but why spend time doing so when there are other, more stable companies looking for candidates?” 

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About the Author

Andrew Lisa has been writing professionally since 2001. An award-winning writer, Andrew was formerly one of the youngest nationally distributed columnists for the largest newspaper syndicate in the country, the Gannett News Service. He worked as the business section editor for amNewYork, the most widely distributed newspaper in Manhattan, and worked as a copy editor for, a financial publication in the heart of Wall Street's investment community in New York City.
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