Can You Reapply to a Company That Fired You?

Can You Reapply to a Company That Fired You?

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Do you want to get a job at a company that previously terminated your employment? Whether you want your previous job back or an entirely different position within the same company, you might be surprised to learn that you can get rehired after being terminated!

You can reapply to a company that fired you, provided the company doesn’t have any “no reapply” or “no rehire” policies. Also, if you lost your job through no fault of your own (e.g., through company-wide retrenchments rather than unethical behavior on your part), you may be eligible to reapply.

What are the company policies for re-hiring terminated employees? Do I really have a chance to get my old job back? Let’s find out in the following sections.

Can You Get Rehired After Being Terminated?

Unless a company explicitly prohibits reapplications or rehires, you can still get a job with that company under certain circumstances. As noted earlier, if the firing wasn’t due to any lapses on your part, your chances of being rehired are good. 

You can get rehired after being terminated if company policies don’t prohibit reapplication or rehire, you lost your job due to a layoff, or you have invaluable skills to the company. Of course, it also helps if you have an insider who can vouch for you and didn’t commit a severe breach of trust. 

If the company needs to fill the position ASAP, your chances of getting rehired are also better. 

Let’s take a closer look at instances where your chances of getting rehired after getting fired are higher than usual. 

Company Policies Don’t Prohibit Reapplication or Rehire

If you had a separation agreement with your ex-employer, check if it stipulates against reapplication/rehire. If it does, you have no choice but to comply with the terms of the agreement. 

Alternatively, you can contest the legality of such stipulations. However, be aware that courts have issued contradictory rulings regarding the legality of “no rehire” and “no reapply” clauses in the past. 

You Have Skills That Are Invaluable to the Company

The bad news is even the best employees get fired. A good employee can get fired for the following reasons:

  • The former employees’ personality doesn’t mesh with that of their colleagues. You might’ve been the loud one in a sea of wallflowers, or vice versa.
  • Office politics got the employee into trouble. You may have been the nicest person in the office, but if you stepped on the toes of someone who has more political clout than you, you could still get into trouble. 
  • The employee’s achievements get overlooked. You believed your achievements could speak for themselves when you needed to toot your own horn as loud as you could.

The good news is, even after getting fired, you still have a chance to show the company what you’ve got. If you went above and beyond during your stay with the company, you may have gained skills that would take ages to train into a new hire.  

You Lost Your Job Due to a Layoff

Companies often fire employees for reasons that have nothing to do with the employees’ quality. If economic conditions improve, some employers may put the job offer back on the market.

If you’re planning to reapply to a company that laid you off, consider waiting a few months before resending your resume. It could be awkward for both parties if you asked for your job back the day after you lost it.

You Have a Company Insider or Two Who Can Vouch for You

Whether you like it or not, connections matter in the corporate world. According to research, 70% of jobs aren’t available on public job sites, and 80% of hires come from connections within the company.

When reapplying based on connections, you can increase your chances of getting hired if:

  • Most, if not all, of your colleagues liked you.
  • Your company insider is still with the company.
  • Your company insider is in good standing with the company. 
  • Your company insider is in a position where they can significantly influence hiring decisions.
  • You’re prepared to return the favor should your company insider end up in a similar situation as you are now.

Even if a company fires you through no fault of your own, it’s essential not to burn bridges. You never know when the relationships you cultivated within the company will come in handy. 

The Company Needs To Fill the Position ASAP

When you’re asking a company to give your job back, you’re essentially giving them power over you. So if you want to tip the scales in your favor, you need a way to gain leverage.

For example, does the company have an urgent need to fill a position? Here are ways to check, assuming the role is on public job sites:

  • Look for the words “urgent hiring,” “can start immediately,” or similar language in the job post.
  • Check how long the post has been on the job site and whether the poster refreshed it.

On the other hand, a position could be urgent for reasons you may not like, such as:

  • The salary is low
  • The training is minimal in proportion to the day-to-day job demands
  • The job is toxic
  • The last person who held the position disliked the job so much that they decided to quit at the worst time for the company

I’ve established that it’s possible to reapply and get rehired for a job, barring the legal and ethical considerations outlined above. But whether you should reapply in the first place is a different conversation altogether, which I’ll cover in the next section. 

You Didn’t Commit a Severe Breach of Trust

Did you get fired because you committed a breach of trust and confidence? If yes, that’s the kiss of death to your chances of getting rehired. 

“Breach of trust and confidence” includes acts that call into question your competence and ethics as a professional. Examples include:

  • Leaking confidential company information to unauthorized parties
  • Stealing company property for personal gain
  • Illegal acts such as embezzlement, possession of contraband items, etc.

In this case, you can choose to sue the company and argue in court about wrongful termination. However, consider whether the trouble of getting into a legal battle with a company you’re reapplying for is worth it. 

Should You Reapply to a Company That Fired You?

Before getting rehired, consider if all that trouble is worth it. After all, your career is at stake. 

Ask the following questions when deciding whether you should reapply to a company that fired you:

  • Do you have other options?
  • Did you have a good relationship with the company?
  • Will the job add value to your career?
  • What will you do if you get fired again?

Let’s unpack those questions in a jiffy.

Do You Have Other Options?

Consider why you’re reapplying instead of looking for a different job with another company. Ask questions such as: 

  • Do you feel your skills will be helpful only for Company A? 
  • Are your skills transferable to a different job?
  • Are you reapplying because you think Company A is the safest option? 
  • Won’t other companies pay better for your skills than Company A did?
  • What benefits can Company A provide that other companies can’t?

Did You Have a Good Relationship With the Company?

Assuming you didn’t commit any breaches of trust, you should still evaluate your relationship with the company as follows:

  • Did you like your colleagues and superiors, and was the feeling mutual?
  • Did you like the work environment?
  • Did you feel that the company put its employees first?

Will the Job Add Value to Your Career?

Once you get rehired, you’ll probably work the same job you did before. In that case, mull over these questions for a bit:

  • What skills and experience will you gain on the job?
  • Can you use those skills and expertise to negotiate higher pay, better benefits, etc.?

What Will You Do if You Get Fired Again?

If you get rehired for the same position as before, and there are no significant changes in the way the company operates since you left, you should prepare for the possibility that you’ll get fired again.  

After considering the above, do you think that job is worth reapplying for? If yes, I’ll give you tips on how to get rehired after getting fired. 

How To Get Your Job Back After Termination

If you’re applying for a company that previously terminated your employment, you need a concrete plan. You can’t approach a reapplication like a new application. 

To get your job back after termination, follow these tips:

  • Upgrade your skill set.
  • Express your intent to reapply with a letter.
  • Prepare to go the extra mile to prove yourself.

Need further clarification on the points above? Let’s dive right into them below.

Upgrade Your Skill Set

Look at it from the company’s perspective. If you’re the same employee you were when you got fired, why would the company rehire you? 

Before you reapply, consider updating or adding to your existing skills. Here are ways on how you do that: 

  • Work temporary jobs similar to the job you want. That way, you can hone your expertise and earn money in the meantime.
  • Enroll in professional certification programs like edX. Prestigious institutions like Harvard, Wharton, and Dartmouth offer professional certification programs that boost your resume. 
  • Build a portfolio of your work. For example, if you’re a writer, share links to articles you’ve written. If you’re a web designer, point prospective employers to sites you’ve worked on. 

Express Your Intent To Reapply With a Letter

As I said earlier, a reapplication is different from a new application. You can’t simply upload your resume to the company’s job portal and leave it at that.

Since the company is already familiar with you as a professional, they’ll want to know why you’re reapplying for a job you got fired from. That’s where your letter of intent comes in.

To write a good letter of intent to reapply, you need to:

  • Address your letter directly to your would-be superior. “Dear Mr./Ms. Supervisor of ABC department.”
  • State your intention from the get-go. “I am writing to express my interest in XXX position….”
  • Briefly acknowledge the reason you got fired. “I understand that in the past, I was [insert reason you got fired here].”
  • Highlight positive factors in your favor. “However, I believe I have come a long way since then. For example, I managed to [insert highlights/achievements that demonstrate the positive change you’ve had] in my present company. I have also learned [insert new skills here], which I believe are valuable skills to have for the position.” 
  • Ask for alternatives. “I understand that the position may no longer be vacant at present. In that case, may I ask if you have any other openings where I can maximize my expertise?”
  • Close with your contact information and a call to action. “If you’d like to consider me, you can contact me at (123) 456-7890 during [insert your days of availability here], or email me at” 

It might also be a good idea to ask the human resources department about the reasons for your lay-off. In this way, you can inform hiring managers about the mistakes you will not reproduce.

Prepare To Go the Extra Mile To Prove Yourself

Naturally, the company may not be too keen on having you again. If they hired and fired you once, what’s the guarantee they won’t do the same thing next time?

In addition to your letter of intent, you may have to prove yourself to your former employer:

  • Agree to a trial run. Just because you’ve held a position before doesn’t mean you’ll seamlessly fit into it again. Some of your old colleagues may have left, and the ones who stayed may have reservations about your fitness for the job. The trial run is your opportunity to prove that rehiring you is a good idea. 
  • Take a reduction in pay and benefits. Since you’re in a trial run, you’ll need to make do with a pay cut for the time being. Once you’ve proven yourself, you can renegotiate for higher pay and better benefits. 

Final Thoughts

Getting rehired after being fired is easier said than done. You’ll have to prove, among other things, that firing you was the worst decision the company could have made. But if you go about this with careful thought and preparation, you’ll go a long way not only at your job but also in your career overall. 

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