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How do Competitors Respond to Large Corporate Lay-offs?

How do Competitors Respond to Large Corporate Lay-offs?
By Joe Issid
Monster Contributor

When Target recently announced they will be closing down all Canadian operations the focus, understandably, fell on the thousands of workers who will suddenly find themselves jobless. While pundits will speculate as to why the retail giant failed to flourish north of the border, the retail industry will begin to reshape itself to accommodate this departure. Sadly, however, retail is not the only industry to have experienced such large-scale lay-offs in recent years; many employment sectors have had to face these realities, many of whom have, fortunately, been able to suitably recover. Having said that, at the base of these events are the solitary workers who will need to polish their resumes and hit the job trail. To help put this into context, we recently talked with Matthew Wiazowski, Recruiting Team Lead at Ubisoft Montreal, the world’s largest video game development studio, and spoke to him about large corporate lay-offs, their impact on employment sectors and what these job seekers can do to find work.
 

No element of surprise
According to Wiazowski, a seasoned recruiter should not be surprised when a direct competitor announces large scale redundancies. “Firstly, a good recruiter will first and foremost remember he's dealing with people whose lives have been deeply affected by a lay-off. A recruiter needs to be listening to his industry all the time. If something bad is going to happen, you have indicators to alert you,” he says when asked about a recruiter’s initial response when closures are made public. When a large influx of experienced candidates suddenly enter a marketplace, competing recruiters should have well-developed plans to try and assist in finding these resources jobs within their companies.
 
How can a recruiter help?
If a recruiter is able to predict these events, there is a good deal that can be done ahead of time to try to try and absorb new resources: “We can plan ahead depending on the resources that may be available. Internally, there is a bit of homework we would have to do to prepare.” It may seem contradictory, but it is common for recruiters to reach out to the HR department of the struggling company (or vice versa) in order to try and transition as many employees into new jobs within a competing enterprise: “One of the most important things is to reach out to the HR people in the company that has been affected. There is usually a lot of collaboration among competitors in such situations; HR of the affected company will reach out and ask to liaise with us; we will send them a list of open positions and try to help them.”
 
Accelerated mandates
From the outside, it may seem unreasonable to think that a company can absorb a large volume of a competitor’s staff. However, in practice, it can often be a boon. Internally, recruiters will reach out to their hiring managers and inform them that there will soon be an influx of experienced resources and that there is a good chance that their hiring needs can be fulfilled rapidly. “When there is an influx, we let managers know that there are experienced resources potentially re-entering the employment market. There is always a good chance that there are opportunities.” This can be especially comforting for skilled workers who are being laid off: your competitors are, most likely, working very hard to try and hire you.
 
Keeping resources within the industry
Hiring someone with industry-specific experience can be of tremendous value and companies (in general) are usually very motivated to bring these resources on board. Frustrated job seekers may be confronted with this when looking for work and discovering that it is often difficult switching from one industry to another. However, there is a good reason for this, according to Wiazowski: “When you have experts in your industry, you don't want to lose them to another industry. You want to keep them within your industry…especially in industries with limited expertise or with very specific skill sets. You will have to spend less time training someone who has industry experience. Experience does go a long way.” However, he warns, that this is sometimes not such a black and white proposition: “However, you always want to look at high potential candidates. You need a balance of experienced people and people hungry to learn who can bring fresh ideas.”
 
What should you do if you are laid off?
“Do your research,” advises Wiazowski. “Take a look at the shortages that exist and see what is currently in demand.” While there are many forces out there working towards helping you land on your feet, it behooves each individual to be pro-active in their search for the next job. There is absolutely no shame in admitting that you were involved in a corporate lay-off, as many recruiters have been involved in these processes before. Contacting competing companies is always a good first step once you are ready to step into a new role. Chances are, they know you are coming.