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For those of you that don’t know what outplacement services are, it’s simply career coaching services employers pay for to assist ex-employees in finding a new job. Outplacement is typically given to people who are part of a layoff (a.k.a. where the loss of a job isn’t their fault). The purpose of providing outplacement is two-fold:

  • It’s a gesture designed to show the company cares about the employee’s future.
  • It (hopefully) shortens the time the person is on unemployment - which can save the company money.

How Do They Help Laid-Off Workers?

Outplacement companies typically offer help with resumes, cover letters, interview preparation, and other aspects of the hunt. Some provide workshops and seminars, while others offer one-on-one sessions with coaches to discuss career goals and job search techniques. The type of resources offered and the way they are provided vary greatly. They also vary in price range quite a bit too! Some companies charge anywhere from $2,000-$10,000 per employee for 3-6 months of outplacement support.

Are They Effective?

While the idea of outplacement services is well-intended and makes sense, the reality is many people have bad experiences with these companies, as written about in this Wall Street Journal article. I myself have heard numerous negative stories about outplacement services given to laid-off workers. Their top complaints are as follows:
  • Coaches weren’t current on the latest job search techniques and provided “bad” advice.
  • Materials presented in workshops and seminars were outdated.
  • Access to online materials and webinars was non-existent.
  • Opportunities to attend sessions were limited.
To sum it up, the return on the investment by the employer AND the employee usually isn’t good.

9 Traits Of The Best Outplacement Services

Here’s a list of nine things you should make sure the outplacement service provider you use can deliver:
  1. Comprehensive online video and written tutorials that can be accessed 24/7.
  2. Step-by-step, guided instruction on job search with milestones for success.
  3. Checklist of all career tools needed to find work.
  4. Extensive knowledge on how to use the latest job search technologies (i.e. LinkedIn).
  5. Ability to have career tools reviewed by career coaches.
  6. Live “office hours” with career coaches to get questions answered in real-time.
  7. Ability to get all questions answered privately by e-mail.
  8. Option for phone or Skype coaching calls.
  9. One full-year access to ensure coverage for job search duration.

Watch My Short Video

The following video explains in a little more detail what outplacement is and what separates good outplacement services from bad ones. Outplacement services image from Shutterstock
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