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Outplacement is a service provided by companies to assist former employe es in their search for new jobs. The companies contract with outplacement compan ies or consultants that work with the individual employees to help them prepare rÃ©sumÃ©s, identifying possible job leads, and similar services. In many cases, the company pays for the services of the outplacement company or consultant. How ever, individuals may seek the services of a retail outplacement firm, which the y would pay for out of their own pockets. Vocational Assessment 2. One of the first steps in the outplacement process is determining the jo b candidate's qualifications for other open positions. That is done through a th orough assessment of the candidate's skills and interests. Standard career-place ment tests may be used, as well as one-on-one counseling with one or more outpla cement officers. RÃ©sumÃ© Preparation 3. Helping the candidate prepare to approach a potential new employers is a nother important function of the outplacement firm. The outplacement firm will t ypically assist the job seeker in preparing one or more targeted rÃ©sumÃ©s. Outp lacement firms may also assist with cover letters and other marketing strategies , such as preparing a profile for career networking platforms such as LinkedIn. Interview Coaching 4. Preparing the job candidate for the all-important job interview is a vit al role of many outplacement firms. Interview coaching, often involving mock int erviews, may be provided to the job candidate. The outplacement officer will obs erve the job candidate and offer advice on how he or she communicates verbally a nd nonverbally. Considerations 5. The level of outplacement services provided will vary according to the a greement between the company and the outplacement firm. Typically, high-level ex ecutives will receive more comprehensive services than mid-level employees. Howe ver, displaced employees should not expect an outplacement firm to do all the wo rk of helping them find new jobs. The final benefit: Outplacement By Joan Lloyd Joan Lloyd and Associates Printer Version You have risen through the ranks of your company to the position of vice preside nt. You've been a good performer. Then the roof caves in. The company is acquire d by another firm and a few months later your position is eliminated. You find y ourself confused, angry and out of work. This scenario, and others like it, happ ens every day all over the country. Most people think, "It could never happen to me." But, in the ever-shifting business climate, the fact is that it's a possib ility you can't ignore. What are the chances you'll be able to find another job? Obviously, that depends to a great extent on things like your work experience, your ability to relocate and the contacts you have established. Whatever the situation, jobs at the executive level are scarce and scattered. Em ployment agencies usually don't handle jobs above the $50,000 range, and it may have been a long time since you have had to look for a job on your own. This situation has spawned a relatively new corporate benefit called outplacemen t, a concept only about 15 years old and still maturing. Basically, an outplacem ent firm is hired by the company that fires you, for the purpose of helping you to find another job. Various reasons But what does your former company gain? One of the most obvious reasons for offe ring outplacement is to build a reputation as a caring company. Other reasons ar en't as noble. Charges of discrimination and other lawsuits initiated by former company executives can be embarrassing and expensive. "If they're talking to an outplacement counselor, they're probably not talking t
o a lawyer," says Terry Malek, outplacement counselor and management consultant with Maglio and Kendro Inc. of Milwaukee. Most people are extremely upset and in a state of shock following a termination. They have no idea what to expect from an outplacement agency. Here are some thi ngs to keep in mind in case you should ever have to use an outplacement service. Do your negotiations at the time of termination Remember, out of sight is out of mind, so before you walk out the door, find out exactly what the outplacement firm has been contracted to do. Also, try to negotiate for as much severance pay, vacation pay and as many other benefits as possible. It takes most people in these circumstances at least six months to be hired, so negotiate with this time frame in mind. If your company offers no outplacement help, try to get a higher severance amoun t. The reason you have been terminated will determine the strength of your negot iating position. Know what the outplacement firm has been contracted to do and insist that they s tick to it Companies often pay 15% or more of an executive's former salary for outplacement service, plus the expenses of stationery typing and printing a resume. In spite of the sizable fee, service to the job-hunting executive can fluctuate in quality, depending on the firm. If the outplacement firm doesn't place you wi thin the first few months - and they have agreed to help you until you find a jo b - protest if they begin to withdraw their support. "Because the individual feels like a failure, they tend to blame themselves and rationalize that the outplacement counselor did what he could," says Malek, "whe n, in fact, it's probably the failure of the outplacement counselor who has aban doned the case." Insist on personalized service Some bigger outplacement firms use an assembly line approach. One person counsel s you, another does your market research and another writes your resume. If this appears to be the case, request the services of one counselor who will w ork with you until you're hired. Your campaign will be more tailored, you will r epeat yourself less often and you will probably get more personal coaching and c ounseling. This counseling may even include your spouse, particularly when reloc ation is being considered. It's important to remember that your marketing campaign should be different from everyone else's campaign. Even if the job you want is relatively common, the jo b market changes constantly, and your background, skills and experience are uniq ue. You will probably find a job that's right for you if you have one counselor who knows you personally. What is offered? What does a full service outplacement firm offer? A pre-termination conference is held with your manager to discuss the circumstan ces from management's viewpoint. All information regarding severance pay, vacati on pay and other benefits are discussed. Then a post-termination conference is held with you immediately after you are te rminated. The purpose is to put you at ease regarding your situation, and to exp lain the outplacement process. Vocational assessment may be done to determine your strengths and weaknesses and the potential career opportunities you would be suited for. Preparation of your resume, cover letters and marketing letters will require comprehensive data gat hering sessions. You should insist on a personalized, accomplishment-oriented re sume. Brochure-type resumes, resumes that don't name the companies you have work ed for and letters sent without resumes should be avoided. Finally, interview coaching is usually provide to help you tactfully answer ques tions about your former employer. Particular attention is given to the way you a re coming across verbally and non-verbally to a potential employer.