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Hiring freeze - is your job offer in danger?

In the wake of COVID-19, companies are struggling to cut budgets and adjust to a fully work-from-home environment. 

A hiring freeze is a hold on hiring new employees. Since the costs of salaries and benefits are usually the largest expense a company carries, this is usually one of their first cost cutting steps. A hiring freeze is also a way to avoid or delay the need for layoffs

A company may decide to implement one across all roles, or only for what they consider "non- essential" roles. It is usually a way to cut costs when a business takes a downturn — it may be accompanied by a break from negotiating pay raises too.

During these uncertain times, where the economy has taken a turn for the worse, many of us are questioning the safety of our jobs. We'll break down who will be impacted, and why, throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

Most companies are not affected.

While some will struggle during this downturn, some industries in tech are actually booming. FAANG is hiring at a steady pace. There is no change in companies' willingness to negotiate compensation and offers across major tech companies are in the same range as pre-downturn.

Smaller startups and tech companies serving verticals are most affected by the recession (where there is less customer demand). Many have announced hiring freezes. Some smaller startups have also rescinded offers prior to the start date, but those are few and far in between. You can find an updated list of companies still hiring and those on freeze here.

Only some roles are in danger.

Just because there's a hiring freeze doesn't mean the role you're interviewing for will be affected. Some new positions are considered essential and will be filled no matter what, so don't get discouraged if you're just starting your job search. There are plenty of open roles and companies actively continuing to onboard new hires.

To be safe, recruiters are your best resource. If you're already in the process, ask "is this role considered essential?".

What if I'm offered a delayed start date?

In some cases, companies will continue to hire and make offers. However, the start date is pushed out by 3-6 months. In this situation, we 're seeing companies compensate by offering larger than usual sign-on bonuses. Be careful: if a company feels they can't afford to hire you now, what makes you so confident things will change dramatically in 6 months? Be sure to ask this question and have a realistic discussion with the recruiter, especially if you're in a technical role. Technical interviews take a while to prepare for, so the last thing you want is to do it all over again if your offer is pulled.

If you really like the company, consider this strategy: offer to join part-time or without benefits (if you feel confident being able to afford them on your own). This is not ideal financially and should be a very short-term consideration for you. Be sure to request that the company agrees to give you back pay once they ramp back up. Don't put yourself in limbo if you don't have to - prioritize offers with immediate start dates from established companies.

Can they pull my offer if I've signed?

Yes, definitely - your offer can be rescinded at any time, even after you join. What companies consider an essential role can change quickly in this economic environment. It's best to concentrate your job search on companies who have a product that's still in demand, even during a recession. 

Be especially mindful taking on a role that requires a relocation for a smaller company. If you're moving to New York to work for Google, you will likely be fine. However, if you're moving for a 50 person startup, consider this carefully. Bottom line- if you move and your offer is pulled, you may have little recourse against the company for uprooting your life. We recommend taking the offer, working remotely, and moving when things have calmed down. Everyone is working from home right now, why shouldn't you?

Internships are heavily affected.

Many companies have suspended their summer internships or put them on hold. While this can be frustrating, there are still a TON of exciting internships available. This might also be the summer where you work on the personal project you've always wanted to pursue, or take a ton of online classes from home. If you're feeling lost right now and need some career advice on how to navigate your internship being cancelled, email us at hello@candor.co and we'll send you some resources. 


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Jessica Li