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Image: MirageC/Moment/Getty Images; Protocol

‘Trust betrayal’: Meta is rescinding internship offers

Protocol Workplace

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Today we look at the most recent bout of rescinded job offers — this one at Meta, which rescinded 2023 offers for its London internship program. Plus, with new guidance for widespread anxiety screening in the U.S., people leaders have recommendations for how to de-stress the workplace.

— Allison Levitsky, reporter (email | twitter)

‘You don’t trust anymore’

Yure Pablo “never imagined” working abroad for a big tech company while growing up in a small town in Bahia, Brazil. That changed after winning a local hackathon at Meta — then Facebook — as a first-year University of São Paulo student in 2019.

  • “Meta was actually a dream because of this kind of relationship that we created since this first year, in São Paulo,” Pablo told me.
  • Six months ago, Pablo was “very, very excited” to receive a 2023 internship offer at Meta’s London offices.

But last week, Meta rescinded his offer, along with other 2023 London interns, as the company scales back on hiring in response to the economic downturn.

  • “The recruiter called me. She was, I think, really frustrated as well,” Pablo said. “I think it was unexpected for everyone.”
  • The decision to rescind London interns’ offers was “not made lightly,” Meta spokesperson Andrea Beasley said in a statement emailed to Protocol. “This company-wide hiring shift is to ensure that our hiring targets are aligned with our highest-priority efforts and business needs.”
  • The company said it would strongly consider those whose offers had been rescinded for future internships.
  • For Pablo, whose current internship at Amazon’s London offices has now been extended by a couple of months, a direct offer from Meta may be the only way he would pursue a future internship, even though he’s “still aligned with the culture,” he said.
  • “If I would need to do the whole process again, I don’t think I would do all of it,” Pablo said. “You don’t trust anymore. You receive the offer, and I think you wouldn’t [have] the whole excitement that I had before.”

The move followed Meta’s postponement in making job offers to this year’s summer interns. In early July, the company told interns in an email that it would push back offers as the company evaluated its hiring plans, which have since all but halted companywide for the rest of the year.

  • Meta has been recruiting junior employees faster than senior ones, the company said. Whenever hiring ramps up again, Meta said that leadership and senior hires would take priority, especially in machine learning, AI, graphics, gameplay, audio, and embedded software.

Coinbase, Twitter, Redfin, and other companies have all rescinded employment offers this year. The trend is a painful reminder of other economic shocks in 2020, 2008, and 2009, according to David Hanrahan, a startup adviser who stepped down as Eventbrite’s chief human resources officer earlier this year.

  • As the economic downturn continues, many companies have tough choices to make as they head into Q4 and plan for the upcoming year.
  • That said, rescinding an internship offer six months after making it is “kind of abnormal, to have that big of a delay,” Hanrahan said. “It would be pretty jarring.”
  • Rescinding offers has a “psychological effect that’s probably on par with losing a job” and can mar a company’s employment brand, especially if done in a “robotic and inhuman” way, Hanrahan said.

Rescinding job offers rather than laying off existing employees is “probably a worthwhile tradeoff,” according to Sandra Sucher, a professor of management practice at Harvard Business School and the co-author of “The Power of Trust: How Companies Build It, Lose It, Regain It.”

  • In these economic conditions, companies are deciding how much pain to endure upfront, Sucher told me. “Usually, that kind of forethought is good when you’re looking at a downturn, because you should start thinking about the things that you can control now.”
  • The company needs a “good story analysis as to why it is that it’s doing what it’s doing,” Sucher said. Some companies have done this well, while others’ plans have come across less persuasively as “I’m feeling nervous, and so I’m going to pull back.”
  • Rescinding an offer is a “trust betrayal,” Sucher said, and demands that the company acknowledge the harm it’s created, explain why it did it, and make an “offer of repair”: formally acknowledge the candidate’s job offer for any future engagement with the company, for example.
  • Offering a severance package or referrals to other companies who are still hiring can also help, Hanrahan said.

De-stress your team

New guidance to screen all U.S. adults under age 65 for anxiety hits home for many in tech. Typical life and workplace stresses are now compounded by a multiyear pandemic, economic worries, and new ways of working that can contribute to burnout and isolation.

Leaders should model healthy behaviors, consider including mindfulness and wellness services in benefits packages, and normalize having unstructured time for relationship-building, people leaders told Protocol reporter Kwasi Gyamfi Asiedu. And whatever you do, don’t schedule a Zoom happy hour for 5 p.m., Asiedu reports: Keep the social hours within the work day.

Read the full story.


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Remote Googling

Interest in remote jobs has been on the rise for years, but far more Americans searched Google for part-time jobs — until the end of 2021, when remote job searches started to outpace part-time job searches, according to data highlighted by Google Trends.

  • So far this year, “remote jobs” has been 50% more popular as a search term than “part time jobs,” according to Google.
  • In the last 12 months, Nebraska and South Dakota have been the only U.S. states where users were equally as interested in part-time jobs as they are in remote jobs.
  • Your next remote hire may be in Wyoming, Maine, or Georgia. In the last 90 days, users in those states have searched for remote jobs more than twice as often as they’ve searched for part-time jobs.

Some personnel news

Anyone else having a bad case of Great Resignation whiplash? It’s hard to keep up with which tech companies are growing, shrinking, floating, or sinking. We’re here to help.

⬆️ Amazon is hiring 150,000 workers for the holiday rush, CNBC reports.

⬇️ Some Apple employees in Australia are planning a strike over compensation and benefits, according to Reuters.

⬇️ Meta employees are complaining about the company’s metaverse strategy, with some workers reportedly calling metaverse projects “MMH” — “make Mark happy.”

For more news on hiring, firing and rewiring, see our tech company tracker.

Around the internet

A roundup of workplace news from the farthest corners of the internet.

Hybrid work may be widening the gender gap in the tech industry. (The Information)

Two NLRB complaints allege that Google data center contractors were fired for supporting a union. (Bloomberg)

Fewer than half of job openings at IBM require a bachelor’s degree, the company’s former CEO touted. (Fortune)


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