Ask the Headhunter: Why companies fire you only to try to rehire you

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Photo by John Moore/Getty Images

Firing people and then trying to hire them back into lower-level and lower-paying jobs is very common. That’s how companies save money, writes NewsHour columnist Nick Corcodilos. Photo by John Moore/Getty Images

Nick Corcodilos started headhunting in Silicon Valley in 1979 and has answered over 30,000 questions from the Ask The Headhunter community.

In this special Making Sen$e edition of Ask The Headhunter, Nick shares insider advice and contrarian methods about winning and keeping the right job, on one condition: that you, dear Making Sense reader, send Nick your questions about your personal challenges with job hunting, interviewing, networking, resumes, job boards or salary negotiations. No guarantees — just a promise to do his best to offer useful advice.


Question: What do you do when a company that terminated you contacts you for a job two rungs below where you were?  My company “eliminated” my position and terminated me. It was really a simple firing at will, but I guess HR felt better about calling it a reorganization. This company was a small division of a global multibillion-dollar corporation.

READ MORE: What you should know about noncompete agreements

Now the parent company’s HR department contacted me for a job opening at my former small division that’s two rungs below my previous position. Obviously, the parent company’s HR recruiter knew nothing about the small division even though it is clearly listed on my resume.  My LinkedIn profile lists the parent company, so I would have to assume that the HR person didn’t look at my LinkedIn profile very carefully, if at all.

It’s just another example of how HR departments really aren’t up to the challenge of finding qualified candidates. How common is this?

Firing people and then trying to hire them back into lower-level and lower-paying jobs is very common. That’s how companies save money.

Nick Corcodilos: I think you’re cutting this company too much slack. Of course the HR recruiter read your LinkedIn profile! Of course he saw on your resume that you worked there before at a higher level job! Of course you’re in the HR department’s database already as a prior employee!

That’s why he’s trying to recruit you at a discount.

Firing people and then trying to hire them back into lower-level (and lower-paying) jobs is very common. That’s how companies save money. (See “These industries are more likely to screw you on pay” to learn how and why they do it.)

I have no doubt the HR recruiter recognized that you worked at the company before. That makes his job easier. You’re “pre-qualified,” because you already worked there. And the recruiter probably figures that — like many job seekers — you’re desperate for a job. He’s got nothing to lose by offering a job beneath you.

READ MORE: How to get the respect you deserve in a job interview

Now, that same HR department will likely reject another applicant who has the right skills for the job, because he or she won’t be a bargain. They want to hire higher-level experience into lower-level and lower-paying jobs simply because the market offers higher-skilled, unemployed people at a discount.

My advice is to contact the recruiter and explain that you used to work at the company and that your excellent performance record is already in your personnel file in their office. Further, you’d never take a job that you’ve already done, because you believe in career advancement. Do they have a higher-level position?

If they don’t, then stop wasting your time. This company has already dumped you once. Find an employer who needs you in a job you want, for pay you’re worth.

Find an employer who needs you in a job you want, for pay you’re worth.

Say NO to discount hiring. Of course, if you’re really desperate for a job, I’m the last person to suggest you should forgo a paycheck. Do what you need to do — but be aware of how employers try to take advantage.

Dear Readers: Has a company tried to “buy” you at a discount? Ever get fired, then called back for a lower level job? How would you advise this reader?


Nick Corcodilos invites Making Sense readers to subscribe to his free weekly Ask The Headhunter© Newsletter. His in-depth “how to” PDF books are available on his website: “How to Work With Headhunters…and how to make headhunters work for you,” “Keep Your Salary Under Wraps,” “How Can I Change Careers?” and “Fearless Job Hunting.”

Send your questions to Nick, and join him for discussion every week here on Making Sense. Thanks for participating!

Copyright © 2016 Nick Corcodilos. All rights reserved in all media. Ask the Headhunter® is a registered trademark.

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