I'm just two years into my career so I am not really sure how recruiters work. I got a message from one yesterday for a job that was interesting, but probably not worth switching companies to have. We had a Zoom chat and I told him that it wasn't right for me at the present time.

Well, we got told that we are getting laid off today. I am now interested in pursuing the job. Are recruiters generally willing to take you back as a candidate if you change your mind on it relatively quickly? Is it worth telling the recruiter that I got laid off just in case he has other jobs available?

  • 2
    @David258 Sounds like OP was worried about the details explained in #2 at workplace.stackexchange.com/a/161156/17532
    – MonkeyZeus
    Jul 29, 2020 at 12:47
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    Sorry to hear you got laid off. Just a comment : "I told him that it wasn't right for me at the present time" - Times have changed, haven't they?
    – Fildor
    Jul 29, 2020 at 13:40
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    ...the recruiter may also have been privy of impending layoffs where you are and jumped the gun.
    – rrauenza
    Jul 29, 2020 at 19:57
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    Would you hesitate to go back to a used car salesman you turned down before if your car got stolen?
    – user2121
    Jul 29, 2020 at 21:37
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    Recruiters get paid based on commission. People who get paid commission usually have few morals. Even if you had verbally abused the recruiter, they would probably still welcome you back with open arms. In their eyes you are just an asset, don't get misled into thinking you owe them anything for what they do. It's just business.
    – musefan
    Jul 30, 2020 at 10:13

9 Answers 9


You should reach out. Worst case scenario you will not get a job offer from that recruiter, which is the same result if you do not reach out.

  • 45
    "the answer is already no" <-- I can't even count the number of things I've accomplished in life by keeping this in mind Jul 29, 2020 at 13:44
  1. Recruiters get paid to place people. You're a potential placement. They're not going to turn away from that. Recruiters regularly get turned down by candidates. That's the nature of their business. They'll come back to you many times and they'll gladly work with you when your job situation changes. You represent a potential payment for them. Reach back out to the recruiter and let them know that your situation has changed and that you're available and looking.

  2. I personally wouldn't tell the recruiter that I got laid off. That's information they can leverage in their favor, and not yours, to get you placed into a position at a lower pay rate (because they know you need a job and will likely accept a low-ball offer), which will probably garner them a larger commission. You don't need to give them any reason for why you changed your mind. It's none of their business. Simply tell them that you're interested in hearing about opportunities that might fit your skill set and experience.

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    not telling the recruiter about getting laid off is a good idea
    – Galaxy
    Jul 29, 2020 at 5:07
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    Agreed. Just a simple "I've thought about it some more and I've changed my mind" should suffice.
    – Kaz
    Jul 29, 2020 at 9:26
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    "a lower pay rate ... will probably garner them a larger commission" - I don't think this is true as a general rule either. I don't know what's most common, but I know of recruiters that get paid a percentage of the salary the candidate earns. In other cases I imagine they work off of a fixed commission, or the candidate needs to stay for a certain period, in which case it's still better if the candidate is happy with their salary. In those cases they're most definitely incentivised to maximise the candidate's salary, up to the maximum the company is comfortable paying. Jul 29, 2020 at 12:15
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    "Recruiters get paid to place people." Exactly. Recruiters are trying to make a living by placing people. They're selling a product. If you went back to a car dealer a day later and said, "You know, I will buy that car!" would they turn you down? No way. :) Jul 29, 2020 at 14:36
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    @BernhardBarker I don't think you're correct. For most roles (apart from very senior positions), recruiter's fee is a percentage of the annual salary of the placed candidate. Usually between 17 and 20%. How do I know? I've worked with recruiters for many years. Therefore it's in recruiter's interest to place you in at the highest possible salary. At the same time, sometimes the roles are such that recruiters can't find anyone willing to go for the specified salary - in which case they'll try to find candidates desperate enough to be low-balled into it. Better some money than no money.
    – Aleks G
    Jul 29, 2020 at 15:18

Absolutely. You can even make light of it a little. "We live in a very different world than we did just a couple of hours ago."

Recruiters want your business. As long as you weren't rude to them they'll take your call and get you in the next queue. Good luck to you.

As for the second question, I recommend you always be honest with the recruiter on why you're looking (whatever the reason). They'll help you frame it during interview time.

  • 5
    This is bad advice. Don't hint you got laid off. If I would hear "We live in a very different world than we did just a couple of hours ago." I would renegotiate.
    – user115681
    Jul 29, 2020 at 16:32
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    @TheoreticalMinimum: renegotiate what? It's a recruiter contact. There's nothing in a negotiation phase here. Jul 29, 2020 at 16:34
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    There's a big difference between not being honest ("Sure, I have 5 years experience with a platform that was introduced last year"), and not telling them something that isn't really relevant ("Well, I told my spouse about it, and s/he's nagging me to take the offer").
    – jamesqf
    Jul 29, 2020 at 17:23
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    "Recruiters want your business" As a candidate, you are not the customer, you are the product.
    – Michael
    Jul 30, 2020 at 9:43
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    @Michael: The small difference is that a microwave can't choose not to be "sold". So recruiters still have to still have to "sell" a candidate on letting them represent them. Jul 30, 2020 at 14:05

We had a Zoom chat and I told him that it wasnt right for me at the present time.

You were completely truthful yesterday telling the recruiter that it wasn't a good time for you to change jobs. Today you got laid off, the circumstances changed, and it's now a good time to look for other opportunities. By all means, get back to the recruiter, they do expect people to reach out when their job situation changes and they're looking for work. Good luck!

  • 6
    Exactly, this is why people talk about not burning bridges and keeping work relationships in good terms
    – Chebi
    Jul 29, 2020 at 14:27

Expedite. No delay!

Yes, contact him back immediately. All you need to say is that you slept on it and reconsidered. Don't even pause to ruminate over it.

To the recruiter, this is just business. The recruiter is handsomely paid to place an employee or contractor, so has a lot of reason to want to work with you.


Are recruiters generally willing to take you back as a candidate if you change your mind on it relatively quickly?

Yip! I've never had a recruiter have any problem with you changing your mind if you suddenly want to take up their job. The other way not so much if you leave half way through the process or after a job offer a recruiter will get mightily annoyed and may even blacklist you.

Is it worth telling the recruiter that I got laid off just in case he has other jobs available?

Tricky, most good recruiters (there are a few) will not tell this to their client as it gives leverage to the client to low ball you as they know you are now desperate for a job. Why would a recruiter not say this to the client ? Well they get paid a commission based on your salary which is why it's in their interest to get the highest salary for you. Not all recruitment companies work off this type of commission some are on fixed fees which will mean they say to the company to low ball you and then the company gets a bargain and uses the recruiter again.

I would leave this out and say you've had a change of heart and can really see how this new job will be a benefit to your career.


Just say to them that, having taken time to think about it, you have rethought their offer and would like to take them up on the opportunity.

That way, it comes off that you've taken patient consideration, and avoids sounding desperate or sounding too apologetic. You might want to avoid mentioning you've been laid off, as you may run the risk of being given a lowball offer which the recruiter or company knows you're not necessarily in a place to refuse.


2nd question. Is it worth telling the recruiter that I got laid off just in case he has other jobs available?

I would tell them this, and give them the first day you can start work at a new company.

This can open additional opportunities, because sometimes a client of theirs has an immediate need. If most candidates have to work a notice period that will last weeks or months, then they can't help a company who wants to start a new employee on Monday.

I once part of a group that was given 3 months notice that we were going to be laid off. The company only required that we not leave during the first two weeks, so they could have us document what we were doing. After that we only had to give a single days notice. Some people jumped after a few weeks, others went all the way to the end. It was nice that we could leave at any time. It opened up more possibilities.

Are recruiters generally willing to take you back as a candidate if you change your mind on it relatively quickly?

A quick change of status is fine. That means that the position is probably still available. If you waited weeks or months it is likely the job is gone, but they still might have others you could qualify for.


Situations change all the time. You should still reach out to him, explain what happened and ask if the opportunity is still available. In doing so you greatly increase your odds of maintaining your livelihood. We miss 100% of the chances we don't take.

  • I don't understand the downvote. The answer looks reasonable to me.
    – Nobody
    Apr 26, 2021 at 7:31

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