Understanding how traumatic it can be to lose a job, employers generally feel compelled to provide career transition assistance – also known as outplacement services – for downsized employees. This is the case even for relatively short-term engagements, such as 18 months or so.
While some employers have a contract with a specific vendor, many times you will be given the funds to select your own outplacement firm provider. When shopping around, you will find companies that are good, better and best – each competing to capture new business.
Unfortunately there are also some scammers in this business. CBC Marketplace profiled one recruitment company who charge a fortune and do nothing to help people actually find a new job. Companies like this prey on vulnerable jobless people when finances are scarce and every penny counts, promising gold but delivering coal.
To help you avoid being a victim yourself, here are four criteria any prospective outplacement firm should meet before you sign up with them:
- Will you have the same consultant/coach throughout your set transition period (which can last up to a year)? This person will become an important advocate for you and you should be able to trust and confide in them over an extended period of time. You don’t want to be in a cycle of establishing a relationship with a new coach every week or every other week.
- What additional services do they provide? In particular, will they write your resume or give you resume tutorials to complete, and are they familiar with today’s resume format? Will the resume they prepare meet ATS (scanning) criteria?
- Will your coach be designated in various career transition disciplines, and a member of the International Coach Federation (ICF)? Does he or she attend industry-related conferences to upgrade their skills, knowledge and network?
- Does the firm have connections with executive recruiters and other key influencers? This is critical because an outplacement service’s main function is to get you interviews to secure your next challenge.
Probe deeply to get these questions answered from any prospective outplacement service provider. Pay attention to any red flags and don’t accept less than these criteria.
Be assured that the employers you’ve recently left or will be leaving want a notable return on investment. You both want the same thing, which is for you to find a new job as quickly as possible. Use the four questions above to ensure your career is in good hands.