Layoff FAQs and Planning

Planning for layoffs and frequently asked questions

Are layoffs coming in 2023?

Right now, the long-forecasted recession seems to be more imminent than ever. Some economists are predicting more layoffs in the near future.

Why are layoffs happening?

High tech companies sometimes act as the canary in the economic coal mine. High tech companies currently are struggling with access to cheap borrowing and venture capital. Furthermore, consumer spending has backed off. Other high tech companies are cutting back their workforce in anticipation of a coming recession.

Layoffs happen when companies need to cut down expenses. Often, employees are the most expensive part of most businesses and so they’re often the first element to be impacted when recessions happen or business slows down.

What should I do if I’m at risk of getting laid off?

  1. Work on your resume now. It can be hard to re-construct your work experience after you’re no longer with a company. When exactly did you do that project and what percentage impact did it have on the bottom line? Take the time while you’re still employed to get all the information about your current job that you may need to market yourself for your next job.
  2. Build your network. 75% of all jobs are found via referral. It’s all about who you know! Layoffs are a universally traumatic time period, for the people that leave and those who stay. If you are axed, know who you can reach out to for help finding another job and who will be your reference. Also keep in mind that often you can go to work for your competitors (provided there’s not a non-compete in place) or even your customers. Make sure to get personal contact information for people who will be allies in your upcoming job search.
  3. Get on LinkedIn. I often joke that only three kinds of people active on LinkedIn: recruiters, sales people, and job seekers. If you get on LinkedIn and start interacting with people and building your personal brand with insightful posts, you send a strong signal that you are available to work.
  4. Start applying. While you’re updating your resume and solidifying your network, you might as well apply for a couple jobs. You can take a couple of interviews and who knows…maybe you’ll find a great company to work for? Even if you don’t find a job right now, this will help you exercise these skills and get a feel for what the job market is like right now.
  5. Save some money for a rainy day. I’m not a financial counselor, but I will point out that many job seekers feel like they have to say “yes” to the first thing that comes along because they need a paycheck ASAP. If possible, try to save some money to ride out a period of job loss so that you can find the right opportunity and not just an opportunity. Similarly, you can start researching COBRA health insurance options (or other marketplace options) so you’re not left without insurance.
  6. Imagine the worst, hope for the best. While it’s not fun to imagine getting laid off, doing so can help emotionally prepare you for the worst case scenario. Doing this emotional preparation allows you to respond better in the moment and to hit the ground running if it does happen. Job loss often comes with grief and this can help you process your grief faster so it doesn’t get in the way of your new job search.

Who gets laid off first?

Layoffs often affect many people and companies all do it a little differently. Here’s some of the most frequently targeted groups of people:

  • Mid-level managers. Often, companies will seek to downsize by cutting out management. If you are a mid-level manager overseeing a small team, you may be at higher risk if your company were to merge these smaller teams.
  • Less tenured employees. Sometimes there will be a feeling of “last in, first out.” If you were recently hired you may be at higher risk.
  • Higher paid employees. Employees who have been around longer and are paid relatively higher than their peers doing similar work might also be at higher risk of lay-offs.
  • Lower performing employees. Sometimes companies will target specific employees based on performance reviews.

Who can help if I get laid off?

Peak Performers is happy to! Please browse our jobs here! Also be sure to reach out to your local workforce development center and your personal network.

Additionally, make sure to check out our local resources list. Remember, you’re not in this alone.

Career coaches

All about career coaches

What does a career coach do?

A career coach will often help you with several key activities:

  • Editing your resume, LinkedIn, and cover letters
  • Helping you expand your network
  • Advising you on making a career shift or overcoming employment barriers
  • Evaluating job prospects
  • Preparing for interviews

How do I find a career coach?

You can find potential career coaches by simply going to LinkedIn and searching for “career coach.” However, if possible you should find a career coach that has worked with someone you know or is in your target industry. Ask friends, family members, and network connections for people who might be able to help you in your career search.

When should you hire a career coach?

1) If you can’t do it yourself. Some people struggle with composing a resume or need significant help with being able to overcome an employment gap or switching careers. If the difference between you getting a job and not getting a job, it may be worthwhile to hire a job coach. However, realize that they can’t do it for you—they can give you advice and help you craft a well-written resume, but it is ultimately your job search activities that will lead to a job.

2) If you’ve exhausted all your resources. A little while back I wrote “a guide to Austin job seeking resources.” Utilize services such as Workforce Solutions, job clubs, and online resources first before you seek out a coach. Attend networking events and send messages to people you know on LinkedIn. There is a wealth of information out there and available to you as a job seeker. Paying for assistance can expedite the process but make sure you’re not overlooking free resources.

3) It’s risky for you to look for work. If you’re already currently fully employed and planning to make a big career shift, it might be worthwhile to hire a career coach to help advise you. Making a career shift can be really hard, and they may be able help you strategically prepare for this all while minimizing the risk of losing your current job. After all, sometimes the best path is to seek a new role or alternate job duties in your current company instead of quitting it outright.

What should you consider when hiring a career coach?

  • It’s a fuzzy science. Many successful job coaches gain their experience from working in HR or recruiting, or even going through the job search process successfully themselves. Some will go on to gain credentials such as Certified Professional Career Coach (CPCC). Instead of looking for fancy credentials, look for local career coaches who have helped other people you know or who come from industries you want to focus on. Hire career coaches for their skills and their network.
  • Most will do an initial conversation for free. It never hurts to take a free consultation. At the very least, they may offer some free DIY advice or general guidance to help steer your search, even if you don’t hire them. Just be wary of a hard sell or over-inflated promises. 
  • Most do it to help people. Most people who get into career coaching do it because they want to help people. Many come from HR roles and want to take a more direct role in helping the job seekers they encounter. Yes, they want to charge money for their services but many also have an altruistic motives.
  • You’re still going to do this yourself. No matter how good the coach, they should not write your resume and cover letters for you. They should not apply for jobs for you. And they should not attend networking events for you. At the end of the day, you’re the one that an employer is hiring. 

How much does it cost to hire a career coach?

Business news daily estimates it to be $75-150 per hour with rates going higher depending on the industry and demand.

If this makes you wince, remember that most job seekers go without a career coach. However, recognize that we are each our own small business and sometimes paying for the expertise of a consultant can be valuable.

If you’re looking for a job, we’re hiring.

We’re hiring and would be happy to look at your resume.

Here at Peak Performers, we don’t charge candidates to help them with their job search. We make our revenue from having employees work for the customer and typically will spend some time with a job seeker for free to provide feedback and guidance so they can better market themselves. Our services offer a bit of coaching, but not at the level that everyone needs.

Showing them you want the job

Expressing your passion while looking for work

Last week I was working with a job seeker who almost got declined for an interview, despite being incredibly well qualified. This was due to his not being overt about his desire to work at the organization. I had to convince the customer that he wanted to work for them.

Sometimes a job is just a business arrangement where one party gets talent and the other gets a paycheck. However, many organizations view themselves in a more egalitarian light. (Here at Peak Performers Staffing Agency, passion for the mission is critical to getting a job with us!)

Tips for showing them your heart

1 – Match the emotional tone of the company.

Some companies are out there to make money, some are there to get the hard work done, and some are seeking to change the world. Thoroughly evaluate the mission statement, marketing, and the about page of the company. Dial up or down your emotive language and personal pitch to match that of the company’s.

2 – Consider your job title.

Customer-facing roles typically require you to be more of a cheerleader for the brand. When I worked at Apple retail, being a “promoter” was key to getting promoted. If you will be interfacing with the public, mimic the tone you expect you would use when interacting with the public.

3 – Put your work desire in your cover letter/cover email.

Resumes are for facts, dates, summaries, and bullet points—resume’s are not places for “passion.” If you’re applying for a company where your emotional connection is a competitive advantage, write that cover letter/email to express it!

4 – Research your interviewers on LinkedIn.

Once you have an interview scheduled, look up your interviewers on LinkedIn. What kinds of things do they post? Channel their tone, energy, and the language they use into your own.

5 – Dial up your work passion during an interview.

Often, a resume and initial recruiter screen is there to check boxes. You’re being evaluated as to whether you possess the basic skills needed to do the job. An interview is often for digging into the “culture fit.” So dial up that passion during the interview. Channel that energy and let them know you want to be with them.

#recruitertips #jobseekeradvice #austinjobs #nowhiring #peakperformers #interviewtips #passionandpurpose

Take Advantage of Peak Hiring Cycles

Timing Your Job Search

Hiring often comes in cycles. As a job seeker, you can take advantage of these cycles in order to apply at the right time. Here are several examples of hiring cycles:

Budget-based Hiring Cycles

Typically we see an increase in hiring activity towards the end of the fiscal year for government agencies as they seek to fill headcount and get projects done with their leftover budget. The federal end of fiscal year is September 30 and state of Texas is August 31. Many private companies begin their budget year January 1st.

Seasonal Hiring Cycles

Retail will start aggressively recruiting in the summer in order to bolster their workforce for the coming Christmas season. By contrast, construction and landscaping companies in colder parts of the country will slow hiring during the fall/winter and accelerate in early Spring as the weather warms up. Think about your industry and when do they hire most people?

Surge Hiring Cycles

Tax preparation, for example, is a $10.8 billion dollar a year industry. The Internal Revenue Service also must surge its workforce to handle all of the annual returns. These two entities will often start recruiting heavily around January 1, though the IRS will often keep workers well into the summer to handle all the tax returns.

Staffing firms are often used during these surge hiring cycles to help handle the need for extra workers. If you’re hired during one of these cycles, don’t be afraid to work for a staffing agency.

Project-based Hiring Cycles

The recently passed infrastructure bill, for example, will mean construction and public transportation across the country will see a huge boost. Currently, many of our customers have hired workers to handle COVID-19 -related projects. You can look at other macro trends in your area and your industry to anticipate what workers will be needed.

New-business Hiring Cycles

When a new business moves into town (such as Tesla here in Austin) they will need to hire a lot of people. Local news such as Austin Business Journal and Community Impact Newspaper can help give you a head’s up that there’s a newcomer in town. These businesses will need a lot of people and may want to see your resume!

*You know who’s always hiring? Peak Performers Staffing Agency is! We can help you navigate these cycles to get your resume in at just the right time!

Austin Job Seeker Resources

Peak Performers employment agency is an active part of the recruiting and job seeking community and connected to many organizations and resources that may help job seekers find work. Here is our curated list of Austin job seeking resources:  

General Job Seeker Services

Workforce Solutions is the operational arm of Texas Workforce Commission in providing various job seeker services. Peak Performers does not provide job seeker services and will usually refer job seekers onto Workforce Solutions.

You can turn to Workforce Solutions for services such as:

  • Unemployment benefits
  • Free or discounted training and education opportunities
  • Workplace accommodation resources
  • Childcare assistance services
  • Resume and interview coaching 
  • Career coaching

NEW! In response to the sudden rise in unemployment, Workforce Solutions has launched a “Jobs Now” website, which is a manually curated list of jobs that are still hiring despite current market conditions.

Additionally, they hold job fairs periodically throughout the year:

  • Bi-weekly general job fairs
  • Industry-specific job fairs
  • Public sector job fairs
  • Disability-focused job fairs
  • Second chance job fairs
  • Veterans job fairs

https://www.wfscapitalarea.com/events

There are multiple locations in the Austin area, and they’re open 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday – Friday. They accept walk-ins and appointments for job seekers with specific needs.

  • 9001 N Interstate Hwy 35 Ste 110, Austin, TX 78753 (North Austin)
  • 575 Round Rock W Dr Building H, Suite 240, Round Rock, TX 78681 (Round Rock)
  • 3401 Webberville Rd #1000, Austin, TX 78702 (East Austin)
  • 7701 Metropolis Dr, Austin, TX 78744 (South Austin)

Austin Job Clubs

Job seeking can be demoralizing, especially if you’re told “no” over and over. It can be valuable to join a community of other job seekers to keep you motivated and to offer guidance along the way. Fortunately, Austin metro area has three prominent job clubs which you can become involved in. They will often feature speakers, job fairs, and resume workshops. These are free to attend—they ask for donations from previous job seekers and from employer sponsorships.

Job Seekers Network – Meetings in Northwest Austin every Monday

LaunchPad Job Club – Meetings in North Austin every Friday

Note: currently job clubs are suspended due to outbreaks in the COVID-19. This article will be updated when the job clubs are back in session.

Recommended Job Seeker Websites

There are a lot of websites out there to help job seekers find work and much of your time is going to be spent utilizing these resources. Gone are the days of walking into businesses and dropping off your resume at the front desk. “Help wanted” signs now hang in the digital window.

You should use all or many of these websites to aid your job search. Generally, these websites are free to job seekers and require minutes to start an account.

ZipRecruiter – this platform has taken the recruiting world by storm as it does a great job of proactively finding jobs that may be a fit and inviting you to apply. It is also pulls jobs from hundreds of other websites and centralizes them in one place.

Monster – this platform is used by many recruiters for its advanced search features. It also tends to attract many professional and information technology job seekers. From an employer side, the cost is rather daunting but that tends to attract larger employers looking for hard-to-find candidates.

Dice – this is widely used in the Austin information technology job search community. Dice tends to attract mid and senior -level professionals.

WorkInTexas – this is used in Texas by Workforce Solutions to post jobs. Jobseekers filing for unemployment will be required to build a profile….but take time to do it right—many job seekers don’t fill in all the information! Savvy recruiters use this website because it’s free and because it’s a snap shot of nearly all job seekers available, not just the ones who have their resume up on other platforms.

Glassdoor – jobs are posted to Glassdoor but perhaps more important are the tools to read company reviews and explore salaries. Glassdoor is an important part of your research toolkit so that you spend time engaging with reputable companies.

Austin Chamber of Commerce – in response to the COVID-19 unemployment crisis, the Austin Chamber of Commerce has launched a listing of businesses in Austin who are still hiring. Great for doing some research and discovering companies that you haven’t heard of before.

Additional Job Seeking Resources

Here is a list of other resources that I refer people onto who are looking for work:

AustinUp is a local nonprofit that connects older adults (ages 50+) with employers seeking experienced professionals. AustinUp also partners with AARP in order to connect older adults with a host of other services. AustinUp has periodic job fairs throughout the year as well as regular meetings.

Texas Veterans Commission supports Texas veterans and their spouses who are looking for work and other services. Texas Veterans Commission career advisors work out of Workforce Solutions offices.

Austin Community College Employment Readiness Training is a “boot camp” to help job seekers get ready to look for work. Perfect for those who have not looked for work for a little while and are feeling overwhelmed.

Other Community Resources

There can be other barriers getting in the way of finding a job. Here is a list of some of those local resources:

Austin Urban League is a local nonprofit that seeks to help African Americans and other under-served urban residents with job training, housing programs, and education.

Homeless Veteran Assistance the local VA helps homeless veterans get connected to housing and jobs. Local resources available to help veterans and their spouses.

Dress for Success helps disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support, and career development resources.

Workforce Education and Readiness Continuum is a branch Workforce Solutions here to connect job seekers to specific resources they will need prior to starting work.

Foundation Communities is a local nonprofit that assists central Texas residents with financial assistance, health insurance, and access to other services to help ensure they are able to start work.

Finding the job you LOVE

Advice from Peak Performers founder and CEO

For many of us, growing up is a time of exploring ideas and our relationship to life – to others around us and the universe in which we live.  It’s a big and complex universe with an enormous number of choices to be made.  Many of us spend the first 25+ plus years of life just figuring out which choices will aid our survival the most (and which ones are most harmful).

Most schools emphasize getting to college as soon as High School is done and that often means entering the full time workforce at the age of 22, 23 or later.  And it can be a big parental (and personal) disappointment when you discover that you actually dislike the kind of work for which you have been trained – at enormous cost.  And if you graduate with debt the shock and disappointment can be personally devastating.

How can you know what you love to do, until you do it?

So finding the job, the work you love, is a bit tricky.  It’s a bit of a chicken and egg problem.  How can you know what you love to do, until you do it?  You may find that even the greatest job at the best company in the world can send you into your pillow crying if your boss is mean.  Or you may find the menial tasks of your chosen profession drive you to a boredom not experienced since Middle school.

The days of going to work for one employer in one city, in one trade or profession are gone.  The odds are very good that you will not work any one place for 30 years.  

Job Sampling

Job sampling, and temporary work, in today’s “gig” economy is the most beneficial way for you to find out:

  • Where you want to work
  • What kind of work you really enjoy
  • How your skills can be best deployed to help an employer
  • How and where you get the most personal job satisfaction.  

Work is no longer just about the paycheck

For the first decade of working, I had no idea what kinds of jobs I loved, so I sampled multiple jobs, employers, and job types.  From highly technical and precise map making, to highly imprecise and social sales jobs. 

Prior to creating Peak Performers, I had jobs in…

  • A car wash, making dirty cars clean (until the next time it rained)
  • Mapping possible hydroelectric dam locations
  • Selling Persian, Turkish and other exotic rugs and expensive carpets
  • Selling electronic stereo equipment and home electronics
  • Mapping the back side of the moon
  • Analyzing the right level of staffing for large plywood manufacturing plants
  • Grinding steel plates in a machine shop (that lasted one day)
  • Selling insurance and annuity products to elderly people
  • Helping people with disabilities develop work skills
  • Helping minority and women owned small businesses get government contracts
  • Helping low income and minority workers get re-trained and placed into new careers
  • Helping older workers get trained to change occupations and helping minority youth access the workforce 

I finally settled on helping people with disabilities develop work skills as my ideal type of work.  That was after having 15 jobs!  Some lasting years and some only months.  

To give another example: our family dentist began his post-university career as an electrical engineer.  He is a highly social person who likes talking to patients.  Electrical engineering was not a good fit, to say the least.

Finding What you Love

No one really knows what they LOVE to do until they have done some various things.

No one really knows what they LOVE to do until they have done some various things.  Employers are no longer expecting you to give them your whole life and they are no longer guaranteeing you a lifetime job.  That’s a good thing for people seeking a well-balanced, happy and prosperous life because you don’t want to commit for the next 30 years either.

So, looking at the reality of today’s job market, all jobs are, in effect, temporary.  And you as a candidate can make the best of this opportunity to look around and sample different jobs, in different sectors for different employers until you find the job you LOVE.  

The whole box of chocolates might look inviting, but there will be one in the box that’s better than all the others.  It’s up to you to find it.

-Charlie Graham, founder and CEO of Peak Performers

Are you looking to try out a career field? Why not consider one of our temporary jobs?

Sneak Peak: Featuring Darwin H.

Past Employee Showcase

Welcome to the inaugural post of Sneak Peak, an on-going series highlighting the career path of one of our former associates – how they got started, what they’re doing now and what advice they have for current job seekers in Austin.

Our Peak recruiters ran into Darwin. recently at a local community meeting. In a city becoming synonymous with gentrification and displacement, Darwin is a 5th generation Austinite. He is also an active volunteer, community leader and board member for several local civic organizations. Darwin was gracious enough to share a glimpse of his journey in his own words.

How did you first hear about Peak Performers?

In March of 1998, I was referred to Peak Performers by a case worker with Project RIO of the Texas Workforce Commission. He mentioned that with my skills and resume, Peak Performers might be able to offer temporary job placement with the State of Texas.  

What was your first assignment?

My first assignment was with the Crime Victims’ Compensation Program at the Office of the Attorney General as a Data Entry Operator assisting their accounting department with filing records and mail merging address labels for benefit letters to claimants.  My contract was originally for 90 days, but it kept being renewed. I used my time on that assignment to teach myself 10-Key by touch, update my knowledge of Microsoft software applications, and gain viable office skills and on the job work experience to meet minimum qualifications for Admin Tech classification positions the state had available with the Attorney General’s Office.

What are you doing now?

Today I’m a Senior Accountant III and interim lead of Accounting & Finance – Internal Operations Division of the State Office of Risk Management.  I began working for this agency in May of 1999 as an Accounting Clerk.  It is where I made my career and this May will be 18 years that I’ve spent working for the same agency.

What advice would you give to current job seekers?

The advice I would give current job seekers is to never give up hope, and to be confident in your capabilities and potential. Use every assignment opportunity to do your very best and build a rapport and social capital with some of the people you work with because those very people may one day advocate for your permanent employment with a state agency.

Thank you, Darwin, for sharing part of your journey with us. We’re grateful for your presence and service in the community, and we wish you all the best in your continued career with the State of Texas.

Peak Performers is Austin’s preferred staffing and recruiting firm for contract jobs with State of Texas government agencies. As a non-profit, we also give job placement priority to candidates with a disability. To learn more about our company, please visit our website.

Cover photo is used by permission from Texas Advocates for Justice and Grassroots Leadership.