Joynese Speller was excited to start a new job as a project delivery specialist for a healthcare company on June 6.
As she was wrapping up her old nonprofit job on a Friday, she emailed her new business to confirm her Monday start time. A few hours later, she received another email: The company had logistics to sort out on its end, so Speller would actually start on Tuesday. It slipped into Wednesday, then Thursday.
On Friday, Speller received a phone call. Due to budget cuts, work she hadn’t even started was cut.
“I was told they were trying to get me a job in another department, but it’s also the end of their fiscal year, so they’re taking a long time to get back to me,” said Speller, 26, of Charlotte, North. Carolina, tells CNBC Make It. “I left a job thinking I was going to change it, so I wasn’t prepared financially for what was to come.”
Returning to her old workplace, which she said was “toxic” and had high turnover, was not an option – but she had to pay for a car repair and look after her 4-year-old son. She’s been making Doordash deliveries to make ends meet for the past three weeks.
After taking a few days to process his canceled job posting, Speller hit up LinkedIn to apply for jobs and saw more news of big companies making layoffs and taking up postings. “I didn’t realize it was so prevalent until it happened to me,” she says.
Going from quick hiring to mass cancellation of offers is ‘very unusual’
The latest data from the Labor Department shows that the US labor market is still tight, and workers have more bargaining power than ever. Job vacancies and quit rates have soared last year as unemployment declined. In April, there were about two job offers for every worker who wanted one.
But over the past few weeks, many employers have started scrambling to tighten their budgets due to rising inflation, rumors of an impending recession, and swings in the crypto market. Tech giants like Uber and Meta said they would cut hiring, while others including Robinhood, Peloton and Carvana made layoffs.
Weeks after announcing its own hiring freeze, crypto exchange Coinbase laid off 18% of its workforce and began draw job offers. Other companies, including Twitter and Redfin, have canceled offers those last weeks.
Most of these high-profile job cuts are coming from hyper-growth tech companies focused on cutting early-career jobs, says Sid Upadhyay, co-founder and CEO of staffing firm WizeHire. There could also be difficulties for other employers closely linked to economic conditions, such as in the mortgage and financial sectors.
But the jolt from quick hiring to canceled offers due to dramatic market swings is “highly unusual”, says Upadhyay. “The broader economic environment has changed so much: technology companies have been pressured to grow at all costs, and within weeks we have moved to a world where we are focused on resilience.”
Fears of a “crypto winter” don’t just affect crypto companies
Marquelle Turner-Gilchrist, 35, of Los Angeles, thought he had found a “match made in professional heaven” when he found an opening with a social commerce firm in April. He hit it off with the team in interviews and over dinner, and a few days later an offer landed in his inbox.
Turner-Gilchrist took the weekend to think about it. On Monday, he emailed back with a few questions about the details of the job, then “I didn’t hear from the co-founder for a few days, which was weird because the communication so far was great” , he said.
A few days later, Turner-Gilchrist received a call from the CEO, who rescinded the job offer – explaining that the company was largely funded by crypto investors whose digital assets were losing value day by day. “We are reviewing what is happening in the crypto market which has taken an unfortunate turn, and therefore we do not believe it is a good idea to hire additional staff at this time,” Turner-Gilchrist recalls .
“I’ve heard of canceled offers,” Turner-Gilchrist says, noting that background checks or professional references sometimes don’t pass. But that never happened to me [before].”
To some extent, he considers himself lucky: “I could have been fired in three months, and it would be worse,” he says. On the contrary, experience has taught him to be more careful in interviews. He says he’s more likely to ask about a company’s retention rates, thinks news of rescinded offers or recent layoffs should be noted on hiring boards, and thinks senior leaders should be more open publicly about the financial health of their organization.
“I don’t look at crypto-adjacent businesses at all,” he adds.
Despite the volatility of some sectors, it is still a market for job seekers
Jennifer Bell, 27, was about to start an operations manager position at Walmart in Louisville, Kentucky, but days after accepting the offer, she received a call that the position was being cut. “It’s almost unbelievable,” she says. “I had one day to be upset, then the next day I started applying for jobs left and right.”
A spokesperson for Walmart said the company is not currently eliminating vacancies or canceling job postings, and declined CNBC Make It’s request for further comment on personnel matters. Despite the experience, Bell says she is still in touch with Walmart’s hiring manager – and would take another position with the company, if offered, calling it “resistance to recession”.
“I’m hopeful knowing this is the type of business that’s been stable for decades,” she says. Still, she adds, getting back to looking for a job is an emotional challenge: “It’s hard to work and be like, ‘Hey, that’s not you’ every day, when you know it’s not your value, your confidence or your background.”
In contrast, Bell says she would not return to her former employer even if asked. In May, Bell was one of 2,500 people licensed from Carvana. She says some people were escorted off the premises, while others at home were fired for a Zoom call.
“If Carvana contacted me again and wanted to hire me, I don’t care how much money they would offer me. I would say ‘no,'” Bell said. “That trust is betrayed.”
Bell may still have that leeway to turn down job offers: She says she’s interviewing a lot these days, including for a job as a human resources manager that she’s passionate about. Upadhyah confirms it’s still a job seeker’s market in most sectors, and economists say demand for tech workers remains so high that anyone laid off in this industry is likely to be picked up quickly. by recruiters.
Upadhyay urges applicants to remember: A rescinded job ad is a reflection of a company building its track record, not the skills or abilities of the job seeker.
“Overall, we see canceled offers in a minority of cases,” Upadhyay said. “There are still hundreds of thousands of new jobs on the market, and most of the organizations offering offers are resilient and profitable businesses.”
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