In my previous blog entitled “4 things to remember when you are faced with transition”, I discussed the valuable and important role that outplacement played in my transition from employee to entrepreneur.
If you find yourself in a similar position and want to make a transition to a new position, a new area or into your own business like me, you have a severance package and a dream of something better, I strongly recommend that you should seek out transition assistance .
9 Questions to Ask
Based on my experiences, conversations with friends who have used transition assistance and speaking with the team at Higher Landing I came up with these 9 questions you should ask to evaluate career transition companies if you find yourself in my situation:
- What services are offered? What are the program deliverables?
Understanding the programs offered and their intended deliverables is important in finding one that matches your objectives.
- How much does it cost?
The majority of firms offer assistance with resume preparation, job-search training and counseling. Not all outplacement firms are created equally and offerings have changed dramatically in recent years as I have learned. Whether the employer or employee pays as part of the severance package, it is always important to get value for money and set your expectations accordingly.
- What’s their “sweet spot”?
Some firms have great programs to handle large corporate layoffs whereas other companies are retained directly by and focus on individuals. Some firms service the junior to professional level market, and others are better suited to manage executive transitions. Ask if the firm has specializations or areas they have experienced the most success.
- Do outplacement firms find jobs or opportunities for their clients? If so how?
Some firms may only provide a list of resources such as online job boards and networking groups. Others provide job search tools can be found in online portals that include web mining systems or have executive search arms. Others will go a step further and actively market clients to strategic prospects. Firms do not typically “place” employees into jobs and most outplacement firms are not outplacement agencies. However, some firms offer modern web-based job portals as well as sophisticated branding and strategic, personalized marketing services to expedite the placement process and open doors the client may typically not be able to on their own.
- What is the firm’s experience and bench strength?
Ask to review bio’s of and/or interview prospective counsellors – and the executive team – before making a decision.
- How much and what type of counselling is offered?
Ask specifically how much time is spent with each client, and the format Group, One-on-one, Video link, Webcam or other connectivity. There is no specific standard so it is important to find a provider and method of delivery where you feel most comfortable and in the best position to maximize the opportunity to invest in yourself.
- Does the firm track landing rates?
Not every firm may be able to track participant data specifically, but you can ask for recent testimonials from previous clients.
- Does the firm offer the opportunity for the client to present to decision makers?
Ask if the firm allows clients to hone their presentation and interviewing skills by presenting to a live panel of decision makers in his or her target areas, and receive suggestions and contacts to expedite their search.
- How does the firm deal with distance clients?
This is a more important offering than one may realize. After my departure, I wanted to take a good break from the working world. A friend offered me a place to stay in Mexico in exchange for supervising renovations there as I speak some Spanish. I could have used some distance coaching during that period as I had a lot of time to think about next steps and wanted timely input.
Ask if the firm is set up technically to service clients with distance programs, personal coaching via phone or Skype and webinars on a variety of job-search topics. This is especially important if you are relocating and need help obtaining local opportunities.
If you have any comments or questions about this sometimes daunting process of outplacement, transition and/or transformation, please use the comments section below, or contact us privately at firstname.lastname@example.org or 403-538-2686.
Jane Depraitere, LL.B., CGA, MBA
Chair, Higher Landing Advisory Council
MORE FROM JANE (click on a title to read the blog):
4 Things to Remember When you are Faced with Transition
E2E: Transition from Employee to Entrepreneur