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You and Outplacement – How can I take advantage of it best?

For anyone not familiar with outplacement services, in the simplest terms, they are services usually provided to released employees to facilitate finding their next role.   Often time the services can several months, especially for senior roles that take several months.

Outplacement – Should I or Shouldn’t I (Hint: Yes!)

“Yes” is the only answer if you should take Outplacement if offered.

Outplacement Services provides a number of great services; I found the following the most valuable part of being aligned with Outplacement:

  1. Sense of progress – Each firm provides a good process for running your search (and usually a consultant to help guide you). Having a process help you feel organized and focused, which really helps keep your emotion in check because you can see your progress.
  2. Outplacement colleagues – Most firms host different groups and work sessions, which are excellent places to share ideas, struggles, etc.
  3. Access to their alumni – These folks has been through the process, so they understand how you’re feeling and how to help you. Many may be a your target firms, so they are great insiders with whom to connect.

Much like the CandidatesChair, these services are simply there to help you only find your next role as quick as possible.

How to best use your service

Outplacement is just like the rest of your search, in that you determine the pace.  The outplacement staff can point you in the right direction and offer guidance along the way, but you run the search.

How to best use the service will vary by person, but I’d encourage you do the following:

  1. Adopt Their Process – Get a thorough understanding of their roadmap, so you know how to track your progress
  2. Developing Your Story – Helping you determine how to best position yourself in the market. This is especially helpful if you want to change industries or if it has been awhile since you looked for a job.
  3. Leveraging their experience
  4. Ask where candidates typically have the most trouble and how to avoid it
  5. Work with your consultant on when it’s most productive to use their workshops, data resources, etc.
  6. Understand your consultant skills – Where they can help you the most? What are their best skills (e.g. writing a snappy resume, networking ideas, preparation for interviewing)
  7. Interviewing practice sessions – There is an art to communicating short and information rich responses. The only way to master this is to speak the words out loud, not just running answers through your head.
  8. Getting honest feedback on your story or pitch – This is one area where their experience of working with lots of candidates really shines. Can be some tough pills to swallow, but worth it if you do.
  9. Overcoming roadblocks – Again, lots of experience to draw upon to give you advice on how to get a networking meeting, changing interview style, etc.

Interviewing the Outplacement

I’ve had a chance to work with a number of firms at various states of experience.  All have something to offer, it’s a just a matter of the depth.  These are simple “Yes” and “No” questions to ask the person guiding you at the outplacement firm.  If the answer is “No”, then try to get a different consultant or simply set your expectations properly.

  1. Have you been in transition?
  2. Were you in transition more than 6 months?
  3. Did you have over 100 networking meetings?
  4. Did you seek a role at the _____________ level? (Insert the level you seek)
  5. Did you have a role like my own?

I don’t mean to offend any consultant, but there’s a big difference between exposure and experience.

The closer the person across the table has been through the same as what you are facing, then the better they are prepared to give you a plan to follow and help you hold yourself accountable to working the plan.  There is the emotional side of job search that only comes from not drawing a paycheck and wondering when the next job will come.

I always say a happily married divorce lawyer have an idea of what been divorced is like, but does not know what it really is.  Same applies here.