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How do you handle job losses after the pivot? We visit Fab's post-layoff "pop-up jobs fair" Written by Nina Fowler on 8. August 2013

Fab Berlin HQ

Fab Berlin HQ

A company’s strategic decisions can come at great personal cost to employees. Nowhere is that more true than the startup scene, where pivots are frequent and – depending on who you ask – about three in ten young companies fail. What to do to make it as easy as possible for those let go?

For a start, be open about likely job security when hiring, meet all legal requirements and go beyond if possible, communicate the decision well and provide references.

Fab, which let over 150 employees in Berlin go last week as part of the company’s post-funding restructuring, went one step further than most – hosting a pop-up job fair.

At the HR team’s invite, just under 40 companies set up tables and booths at Fab’s office in Berlin yesterday afternoon to scout for talent, including eBay, Axel Springer, Zalando, SumUp, GetYourGuide, Outfittery and culture magazine Interview. Groupon, which just went through its own restructuring in Berlin, also hosted a stand, hiring for both sales and tech positions in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

A second job fair will be held at Fab Berlin on Thursday 15 August, with spots still open for those seeking new employees.

The mood yesterday was upbeat though with a few job seekers – as one would expect – visibly upset. Is it too soon to expect employees to want to head out and look for work? It’s something on his mind too, Fab’s VP for HR in Europe Martin Percival said. “We announced the bad news last Tuesday, but for many people it wasn’t before the weekend that the message finally sunk in… So I was thinking – maybe Wednesday is too soon. But when I spoke to people, they said it’s never too soon.”

The average age of Fab’s employees is 26 years old, he added. “So a lot of them are sad, but they want to go on with their careers as soon as possible.”

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