- Tech workers laid off by startups don’t generally get as much support as those from giants like Meta and Twitter.
- Tech experts told Insider that workers from startups are just as valuable as those from big tech firms.
- They explained three reasons why tech talent from startups are in high-demand with companies.
Tech firms have laid off thousands of employees this year to brace for the upcoming recession.
Over 150,000 tech workers have been laid off in 2022, according to the latest data, with Meta and Amazon laying off over 10,000 employees last month.
Many of big tech’s former employees have since taken to social media to share their experiences of being laid off in viral posts, and have been inundated with job offers. After one former contract recruiter at Meta, Stephanie Washington, shared a post about being laid off on LinkedIn and got over five million views, she received interview offers from Lyft, Amazon, and TikTok.
But employees laid off by startups are not so lucky. Hundreds of startups and small to mid-sized companies have also let go of staff including firms like SwyftX, Bybit, Polly, and DataRails.
One recruiter Adam Karpiak said in a LinkedIn post: “Absolutely hate how laid off folks only seem to get help when it’s a company that people know.
“Don’t get me wrong, I feel for everyone, but I can’t imagine being laid off and not getting much social love bc no one knows where they worked and their layoff didn’t make the news.”
Nikita Gupta, a technical recruiter and founder of job search company Careerflow, told Insider that recruiters feel “more confidence” in hiring people from big tech firms because they have already cleared a “grilling” application process before.
But she emphasized that workers laid off by startups also have relevant skills and qualifications that can help them land roles.
Gupta and another expert offered three reasons why employees from startups are in high demand with companies.
1. Employees at startups have more expansive experiences
David Richards, CEO of software firm WANdisco, said he prefers to hire startup employees because they already have “a wide variety of skills.”
“The thing is about a really big company is that often you’re a small cog in a very big process and it’s almost like you’re a piece on the production line,” Richards explained adding that a “great brand name” isn’t enough to get hired.
He said if he had the option to choose between a laid-off employee from Twitter and an employee laid off by a less well-known firm with the same credentials, he’d likely choose the latter.
“[At big tech firms] the scope of your job is so narrow that you don’t get exposure to the wide variety of things that you do in a small company for example, in a small company, if I don’t build this feature the company might go out of business. But at Twitter, if I don’t build this feature, nobody cares.”
Richards asked: “How many people at Meta have been for a beer after work with the CEO? Zero.”
Workers at startups have more access to senior management like the CEO which means “your proximity to the strategy of the business is much closer than it is in a larger company where you don’t really understand why decisions are being made, or what the objectives of the business are.”
2. It’s about brand impact
Gupta said that employees who have done impactful work at their companies are the most valuable hires.
In interviews, candidates who emphasize the useful contributions they made to a company like increasing profitability or other amazing work are much more valuable than those who say “I was working in XYZ tech company and I was not making any impact.”
“I don’t think brand matters at all,” she said. “If that small startup person has a good network and good connections and the person has made an impact, then no one can stop that person.”
3. Big tech employees are overwhelmed with offers
Often big tech employees who have been laid off and gone viral on social media are overwhelmed with messages and offers, so reaching out as a recruiter has little impact.
“Even if I leave a message there, even if I reach out to the person, they might already have a job,” Gupta said.
Gupta said she wouldn’t “rely” on a big tech employee for a role, but instead continue her sourcing and outreach to other candidates.
“If I’m getting a candidate from a smaller company or a startup and I’m filling my role by those candidates, it would be good for me because the goal is to fill the role with a quality candidate,” she said. “So for me it does not matter whether they’re coming from Google or they’re coming from a smaller firm.”