Backstory: In my country, as in most countries I presume, there is a big shortage of engineers and software people, and companies are desperately trying to reel in as many as possible. (At least, this was the case before COVID-19. I am not sure how this situation will evolve when the recession strikes.)
As an embedded software engineer, I had no trouble getting job offers when I graduated about half a year ago. After making a selection of all the offers, I was left with Company A and Company B. I was really eager to start at A because I had known them for a long time (had been in contact with them previously) and they also spoke about very interesting projects. I was a little less familiar with Company B, but I also felt very comfortable with the job offer.
Ultimately, Company A did some things during the hiring process which I found very rude, and thus I accepted B's offer and rejected A's. Up until this day, I have not regretted this decision. I have great colleagues, and also the relationship with higher management is very good.
Unfortunately, my company (B) made some poor decisions business-wise in an attempt to grow fast. I was already expecting rougher times ahead, since me and a lot of my colleagues had been stuck at the office for quite some time now without a project. (I'm in consultancy, so we're supposed to be assigned to customers who have projects for us, but due to circumstances we didn't get any and thus only costed our company money, while not bringing in any money.) We also didn't expect this to improve in the near future.
Then COVID-19 struck, and all of us working at the office had to work from home. A week later, I received a letter telling me my contract would be terminated... Crap... I got a phone call from my superiors, and they explained the situation. Pretty much what I already knew: we costed a lot of money, and they didn't have any customers for us.
So, now I need to find a new company. Fortunately, I've always remained very polite in my communication with Company A, and I'd like to try my luck again there. However, I'm not sure if it's best to contact them straight away and let them know I'm looking for a new challenge, or if it's best to wait until COVID-19 passes. I can imagine the recruitment process is going haywire at the moment...
I'm also not sure how the recruiter will react to knowing that I previously rejected their offer.
Some other things that might be important to know:
- Company B is a direct competitor of Company A, albeit A is a lot bigger than B.
- During my work at B, I received a very valuable training and gathered relevant experience for my work at A.
- Getting laid off after only six months is of course never a good sign in a resume.
- They told me that because the laying off had nothing to do with me personally, I was allowed to use several of my old colleagues/managers as references while applying, and they are also thinking about writing a recommendation letter (they just have to figure out if there are legal consequences for them in doing so).
So my question: how can I best handle this situation? Contact A right now? Or wait until the COVID-16 storm has passed?
Also: I know it's hard to predict, because a pandemic of this size is unprecedented, but should I expect changes in the job market in the near future? Are there things I should keep in mind while trying to get my career back on track?