These are strange times. One day you’re being recruited and promised the world, the next, you’re being laid off. And then, some are finding, you’re being rehired? Case in point: Fortune and TechCrunch report that Twitter Inc., after laying off 3,700 people via email (roughly half the company), is now reaching out to dozens of employees who lost their jobs and asking them to return.
Is being rehired a good idea? What are the warning signs to stay away?
Context Is Key
A layoff due to downsizing or a similar reason is very different from being fired for cause. Before considering being rehired, examine the reason why you were let go. We know plenty of workers who were laid off from a company they loved, only to be rehired shortly after by:
- Moving to a different team or department not affected by the layoffs. As some employers have realized, retaining employees through lateral moves can save both time and money.
- The company restructuring or realizing that the position they thought was expendable isn’t. That might, in fact, be what’s happening at Twitter right now.
- Economic conditions turning around. About 40% of the companies that laid off employees at the beginning of the pandemic approached those employees about being rehired.
Your decision to be rehired should take into consideration the way in which you were let go from the job.
If it was due to a mass layoff or a reduction of force like the scenarios above, you may have the best chances (and success) of being rehired. But what if you were:
Fire for reason? That’s going to be a tough sell when it comes to getting rehired, but there’s one reason, in particular, you might be able to overcome. “If the company fired you for poor performance, you’ll need to do a deep dive into your strengths and weaknesses and openly assess what went wrong,” advises CareerBuilder. “You might even consider taking a prior supervisor out to lunch to discuss what you could have done better. Keep your defenses down and let them know that you’re genuinely interested in improving.”
Wrongfully terminated? That’s tough to prove in Texas because it’s an at-will work state. Unless your employment agreement states otherwise, you can legally be let go (or quit) for any reason—good or bad—or no reason at all, with or without advance notice. However, if you were fired for a federally protected reason, you may have a case. Those could include whistleblower or workers’ compensation retaliation, discrimination, or breach of contract. Unless the supervisor who let you go is no longer in the picture, however, being rehired in the same position can be stressful, to say the least. You might find an employment attorney who can help you navigate the situation.
Unaware of the reason? Again, because Texas is an at-will work state, you may not be given a reason for your termination. Even though there are no legal repercussions for Texas employers that choose to be mysterious, however, it’s very rare. “Good employers will give you a reason, even if it’s ‘you’re not a good fit’ or ‘we’re choosing to go in a different direction,’” says The HT Group Founder and CEO Mark Turpin. “Employers who give you no reason at all may not be worth going back to.”
Rehired for What, Exactly
Whatever the reason you were let go in the first place, do your due diligence before asking to return or being wooed back. Find out if you’re being rehired for the same position or a different one. What has changed? What does success look like this time around?
Indeed offers more tips, including checking for a rehiring policy and doing a gut check on what you’re willing and not willing to accept as part of any new terms. For instance, you may be asked to take a lower position or lower pay this time around. Being rehired can have its pros and cons. Be sure to weigh them carefully, and turn to a recruiter who can help you look at all options. There may be a new job out there waiting for you that ends up being a better match.