I had a few interviews with a company which were very promising and then I got laid off at my current job which I had for 4 months. I have another set of interviews with the interviewing company this week and now I feel I am in a pickle. Should I tell them I got laid off or should I continue with interviews as if nothing happened? My worry is that if I tell them I got laid off, they might wonder why I was let go after a few months or that I am hiding something, and this can work against me. If I pretend I am still working and things are going fine, why risk it. It feels safer that they know I am employed and that I am making a conscious decision to join them by leaving another company. No harm no foul?

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    Being laid off for economic reasons (the company needed to downsize) is unlikely to reflect badly on your performance. In some jurisdictions people must even be let go in last in -> first out order. Feb 3 '15 at 8:35
  • The new company wouldn't know that. If it wants to know, it will have to ask me for the reasons. Feb 3 '15 at 16:52

I'd say it's OK to say that you've been laid off during your interviews but only if they ask and if they ask, make sure to say that you are willing to throw your former bosses under the bus - er, provide them as references :) You don't have to volunteer anything - I expect that when you filled out the employment application, you checked "yes" when they asked you "May we contact your present employer?"

They'll call your former employer, find out that you got laid off and that's the end of the story line - nothing to see, folks. If your employer gives only the dates of hiring and termination, then they should ask you for the reason of your termination. At which point, you can say that you got laid off.

You can notify your prospective employer's HR that you were laid off but only after the third interview and before they start the background check- You want to make the point that you were laid off not fired, and that you are providing your former bosses as additional references.

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    The new company is not going to contact my previous employer. They are not going to ask for references. There's no "May we contact your present employer?" or anything similar. question. It's pretty informal and they want to hire me. That's why I am inclined to keep quiet and not stir anything. Feb 3 '15 at 3:10
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    That's fine. If they ask, stay the truth and say that you're willing to provide references. This should take care of any concern they might have over your job performance at your old workplace. You don't have to say anything, as long as you're prepared to handle it. Feb 3 '15 at 3:15
  • In that case, don't say anything. You left on good terms it seems, and it's not a big deal. It doesn't really affect them at all, except that you can start even sooner!
    – Rob
    Feb 3 '15 at 17:33
  • @Rob Actually it's another pickle. I will start in two weeks because they assumed that's how long a typical notice takes and actually that's probably what I told them in the first interview (can't remember if they asked). Now I want to start earlier. If I tell them I want to start earlier, it might raise some flags. Feb 3 '15 at 18:04
  • @Vietnhi If I am currently working and I apply for a job then no I would never check the "May we contact your present employer?". Why would I let a current employer know that I am looking and planning to leave? Feb 3 '15 at 18:06

I hope in your cover letter, you indicated why you're looking for a new job after only being with a company for 4 months. That short of a term can be a red-flag. I can't imagine they didn't ask about it during any initial interview.

Now things have changed and you've been laid-off. If you were honest and upfront about why you wanted to leave before, there's no reason this all of a sudden lay-off would be that much of a problem.

One reason not to mention being laid-off (assuming they don't ask again), is it could affect you salary negotiation. Unfortunately, they may feel they can take advantage of your recent unemployment and offer you less. Sometimes companies have to offer more to persuade candidates to leave a current job.

Also, it may be suspicious if you're now able to do interviews during what are considered office hours.

  • A few comments: I stopped using cover letters years ago. These days it's optional. It might help but not critical in the high demand less supply IT market. Interviews are done during work hours. There's no other option. They will assume you're taking time off or making them up later. Just like when you need to visit a doctor/dentist/car shop/school/.. etc. Feb 3 '15 at 19:31

What is to be gained from doing so? They probably won't respond significantly more quickly or consider you a better candidate. They might ask why you were the one who got laid off, or figure that you needed the job more so they could offer you less money. I would avoid lying to them, but I wouldn't volunteer this detail.

Tl;dr: no.

  • I am not going to volunteer the info but if an interviewer asks something like "what do you currently do at the job", I am thinking whether to answer as if I am still there or say I got laid off. Feb 3 '15 at 1:58
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    "I have been doing.... " is true even if you aren't doing it at the moment....
    – keshlam
    Feb 3 '15 at 2:05
  • @keshlam Did you mean to say "offer you less money"?
    – David K
    Feb 3 '15 at 13:11

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