Seven Questions To Ask When You’ve Been Laid Off

The key here is to learn the reasons for your termination. The company’s answers could help you later if you decide to negotiate your severance or file a claim against the company. Calmly write down the answers and don’t make any arguments or offers. This is an information collection moment. Anything you say here might be used against you. If you are directly asked a question, say that you need to think about it.

1) Why is my employment being terminated?

2) Who else is losing his job right now?

3) How many employees, including myself, are losing their jobs right now?

4) Who will replace me or handle my job responsibilities?

5) Who made the decision to let me go?

6) Was there anything wrong with my job performance?

7) How would you suggest I improve my performance in my next job?

Some of these questions are a bit redundant. But we find it is sometimes helpful to ask the same question a slightly different way because you might get a different answer. The goal, in the final two questions, is to get the company to say that you are great and that you did nothing wrong. That could be helpful if you end up filing a claim or try to negotiate a larger severance package.

You might have many other questions. Can I stay with the company in a consulting role? Retraining funds? Is there a company-paid headhunter to place me in a new job? How will you calculate this year’s bonus? What about my unvested stock options? But I’d recommend against asking those questions when you are first notified of your termination. There’s too big a risk that you will be drawn into a conversation and you could say things you will regret latter. There will always be time to ask about these other concerns. And they could end up being part of your severance negotiation.