- Tech companies like Twitter and Coinbase lured fresh graduates with lucrative salaries earlier this year.
- Now they’re canceling offers, leaving graduates to scramble just before their start dates.
- Many had turned down other opportunities, and some relied on promised jobs to secure visas.
When Travis Chan, a rising senior at the University of California, Davis, accepted a software engineering intern position at video messaging startup Loom in January, the tech industry looked very different.
Tech was on a hiring spree, and Loom had just emerged from a massive $130 million Series C funding round backed by impressive venture capitalists like Andreessen Horowitz. Its workforce has more than doubled in the past two years by joining companies like Amazon, Google and
to soar high amid a pandemic boom.
A few months later, the other shoe fell off. Valuations and market capitalizations have been halved, pushing high-flying startups and public tech giants to tighten their belts. Now, just two weeks before his start date, Chan told Insider he received a “surprising and devastating” phone call from his recruiter. Due to “unforeseen economic circumstances”, his offer was cancelled.
While some companies have made layoffs during the recession, others have taken the rarer step of mass canceling job vacancies just weeks, or in some cases even days, before job start dates. new employees. And one group has been caught in the middle in unique ways: tech newcomers such as interns and recent college graduates who have had their very first jobs taken away before they even started.
Twitter, for example, recently rescinded offers to candidates, underscoring greater unrest after Elon Musk announced he was buying the company. Coinbase, which just a year ago planned to more than triple its workforce, canceled more than 300 offers, many of them newly graduated engineers. Once-hit startups like Redfin and Loom, which raised millions of dollars last year, have also laid off employees and laid off many new graduates in an attempt to cut costs.
“I got the call and immediately started crying,” a new grad who was set to start full-time with a popular e-commerce startup after completing an internship with the company in 2021, told Insider.
The former intern, who asked to remain anonymous to protect his future job prospects, was just three weeks away from graduating when he learned that the opportunity he had worked for and planned his future was gone.
“It was really scary – I had just been there a week ago, visiting the office and being shown around. And found out a week later that a lot of my colleagues knew it was probably going to happen, but they weren’t sure if they were allowed to tell me,” he said.
Crowds of devastated new grads and interns who thought their employment plans were secure took to LinkedIn and Twitter to share their journey. Many describe how they turned down other lucrative opportunities or were in the process of moving across the country for jobs they no longer have, while others who relied on work to secure visas are now in a particularly difficult situation.
“People have been really supportive of me. But it’s my graduation week, so I should look for a job while balancing my schoolwork,” Chan said, adding that despite recruiters and other engineers who helped him land interviews, he decided he was done with the job search process and would return to an old job instead.
“It’s just too tiring to handle,” he said.
Fresh grads are frustrated, saying tech companies mishandled communication and left them in the dark
While many new grads Insider spoke to said they understood that cutting costs was a necessary part of the industry, they were frustrated with how tech companies mishandled communication.
For example, the new grad who was to join the e-commerce startup said communications from management seemed “like the company was moving in a positive direction.” But once the company suddenly started laying off employees, he said he was met with two weeks of radio silence and “no response” before human resources called him to say his job offer return had been cancelled.
“I’m someone who really likes certainty, and suddenly everything was in jeopardy. So I went into panic mode,” the former intern told Insider. “I was moving to New York in a few weeks because of this job, and suddenly found out that I’m about to move to New York without a job.”
For many international students, these last-minute changes aren’t just about careers or livelihoods — their visa status depends on getting a job in their field of study.
Ashutosh Ukey, a 23-year-old who recently earned his master’s degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, told Insider he’s turned down multiple doctorates. offers to work for Coinbase. It was one of many offers canceled by the crypto firm shortly before his start date, and now with only five months left until his visa expires, he needs to land a new job fast or will be forced to leave the country.
“For programmers who need visa sponsorship, there’s a lot more at stake,” he said. “It’s not just a financial or professional setback; it’s a question of whether you can even stay in the country. There’s a lot more pressure to try to find a new role in time.”
To make matters worse, Coinbase had promised new recruits that their jobs were secure just two weeks earlier, saying via email that the company was “extremely excited” to join them and would not rescind any job offers. So it came as a shock when over 300 new Coinbase hires later received a mass email saying that due to “rapidly changing market conditions” the company was canceling their job openings.
“I was hearing all this news that crypto was crashing,” another new grad who asked to remain anonymous because he wasn’t authorized to speak to the press told Insider. “But I got an email from Coinbase telling me not to worry and it was fine. Then literally shortly after my birthday I got an email saying my offer had been cancelled. I made a lot of plans that are in shambles now.”
New engineers say rescinded deals are undermining their confidence in the tech industry
Especially at a time when technology is battling both a slowdown and a talent shortage, some would-be engineers have lost faith in the companies that pulled the rug out from under them.
Eager to recruit new talent, many companies have courted fresh graduates with lucrative packages. A fresh grad who asked to remain anonymous because he wasn’t authorized to speak to the press said he turned down offers from Meta, Amazon, Tesla and TikTok to work for Coinbase, which was offering him 188,000 $ and, more importantly, the ability to work from wherever he wanted as an entry-level engineer.
His offer was also rescinded when he was about to graduate. And while Meta and Tesla were hiring aggressively at the start of the year, both companies had shut down — suspending hiring indefinitely — when he tried to win back his offers.
“I was getting interviews from TikTok, Tesla, Amazon in December,” the new grad told Insider. “But now job hunting is a lot harder. It’s all died down. There are a lot fewer job openings and fewer recruiters.”
Many new grads and interns Insider spoke to said this recent bout of seemingly indefinite tech downturn has shaken their confidence in the industry. Landing that first job as an entry-level engineer takes months of hard work – researching questions, juggling multiple calls from recruiters, poring over LeetCode to ace the notoriously daunting tech interviews.
“This experience taught me that you’re never guaranteed a job,” the new grad, whose offer was rescinded by the e-commerce company where he did his internship, told Insider. “A contract means nothing because companies are more than happy to drop you off on the fly if it means they have to do it for the company.”
For some new graduates, this is valuable time that they cannot afford to spend. Ukey said he is excited about exploring experimental and innovative areas in technology, such as crypto and blockchain. But while many crypto startups have tried to recruit him since Coinbase rescinded its bid, he decided crypto wasn’t a risk he could take — at least not in the immediate future.
While rescinded job postings aren’t a common cost-cutting practice, new grad positions are vulnerable when a company tightens its belt, said Jay Denton, chief analyst at the data firm LaborIQ remuneration.
“When a company grows a lot, they hire a lot of new grads because instead of hiring someone with four to six years of experience, they can hire new graduates who cost 15 to 20 percent less,” said Denton at Insider. “Yet when it comes to cutting costs, if you look at the current market rate, there’s a gap of almost 10% between today’s salary and last year’s salary for engineers. So instead of hiring someone new at the market rate, many companies choose to focus on retaining former employees if they could.”
In addition to employee trust, the mass of rescinded offers could also shape company loyalty to the new class of tech professionals just entering the workforce. Employee loyalty had already waned during the “Great Resignation,” when employees had more clout, and now the increasingly turbulent employment landscape has the potential to reduce that even further.
“I used to be really excited, but now I realized I couldn’t get my whole personality to work,” a new grad told Insider. “It definitely made me a lot less loyal.”