What Are the Steps in the Outplacement Process?

October 12, 2017 by Josh Hrala

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The outplacement process is ever-changing as technology continues to evolve the way we work, find new jobs, and communicate, which makes staying current harder and harder to do, especially for companies looking for an outplacement provider.

To help, we’ve put together this handy-dandy guide to make sure you have all the knowledge needed to judge a firm’s outplacement process step-by-step to ensure you find the right one for you.

Before we get started on the outplacement process, though, if you are generally wanting to learn more about outplacement for your organization, you can download the pricing information for our programs:

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Okay, let’s dive in.

This brief synopsis shows the basic steps in the outplacement process. Now, let’s go into more detail about each step and what you should look for when shopping around for a firm.

What Are the Steps in the Outplacement Process?

To put it simply:

  1. A laid off employee is onboarded by the outplacement firm
  2. An expert coach does a ‘Needs Assessment’
  3. Based on that assessment, the firm writes a resume, creates social accounts, and starts the networking process
  4. The participant is given access to online tools for self-learning
  5. Using various platforms, the participant applies for specific jobs
  6. Interviews are prepared for
  7. The participant gets placed in a new role


The Outplacement Process: Needs Assessment

When an employee first starts working with an outplacement firm, one of the best things a coach can do is work with them closely to discover what types of jobs and roles the person wants to obtain and what areas of the hunt might need more attention than others.

In this meeting, also called a Needs Assessment or evaluation, an expert coach will be able to determine what approach should be taken to make sure the person is placed in a role that will not only pay them whatever wage they need to maintain their lifestyle but also one that makes them professionally happy.

Everyone is different and everyone wants different things from their careers. An assessment sets the tone for the rest of the service and is a vital step in the outplacement process.

Does the person want to stay in their current industry? Do they want to branch out and try something new? Are they looking for an executive level position? Are they willing to relocate? These are just a small sample of things that the coach will be trying to determine.

Outplacement service MUST be flexible. If you are looking for a provider, make sure that their outplacement process works for their clients and not merely to get a person placed so they can move on.

In other words, outplacement is not a one-size-fits-all service and if you find that your provider is treating it that way, your ex-staff member will likely suffer, which is exactly the opposite of what you want to happen.

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The Outplacement Process: Resumes, Social Accounts, and Networking

After the initial assessment, the coach will then start to work with the client to make sure their resume is updated, social media accounts – specifically LinkedIn – are created, and then start the networking process.

This, at first glance, seems like a simple step in the outplacement process, right? Of course a resume is one of the first things a participant works on with their coach.

While this is 100 percent true, many outplacement firms differ in how they handle this vital step. For example, some firms force the job seeker to write, rewrite, and edit their resumes over and over again, giving them tips along the way.

Sure, this might eventually lead to a better resume, but the immediate concern is making one that will quickly and efficiently land a job, which is why at Careerminds we have an expert resume writer draft new resumes or edit old ones to make sure they are current with today’s guidelines.

We also use specialized software to make sure resumes contain specific keywords that help them get around the automated systems that many companies use to filter out job applicants. This significantly boosts the chances of getting your resume read and an interview scheduled.

Once the resume is complete, the attention can turn towards social media accounts and networking. Right now, in today’s digital world, having an online presence is a must. Networking over the internet has never been easier and, therefore, more mandatory.

There are many, many jobs out there that have no listing up online, too. Instead, these “hidden jobs” are found by actually getting to know people who work at said companies.

Creating this presence largely depends on what the person has already. Many, many people have LinkedIn accounts, but some are using theirs better than others, which is where coaching comes in handy.

One of the tools we use at Careerminds to make this process a whole lot easier is a digital platform built into our service that allows people to connect with one another and then transfer those connections to LinkedIn. This program also helps narrow down who the participant should be networking with, giving them a leg up.

When shopping for an outplacement provider, it’s important to make sure they don’t skip this vitally important step in the outplacement process because it can really make or break a job search.

The Outplacement Process: Online Tools and Self-Learning

Like we said above, outplacement is a service that needs to be flexible if it’s going to work. This is where self-learning opportunities come in.

By providing easy-to-use platforms for clients to continue expanding their job-hunting knowledge pool, they can work at any time of day to ensure they get the most out of the service. These tools typically include seminars, weekly webcasts, in-depth papers, and many other things.

Basically, it’s a portal of knowledge that the client can use with the help of their coach to ensure that they have all of their bases covered. By simply allowing the person to access this information from anywhere in the world at any time of the day, it makes the outplacement process more flexible and accessible, upping the chances of the participant landing a new role.

The Outplacement Process: Virtual Platforms

You’re probably seeing a trend here. Virtual platforms are a necessary aspect of the outplacement process. Here’s why:

They let participants use the service on their own terms, greatly increasing the chances that they continue their job hunt with their coach.

They allow clients to speak with coaches without needing to go to brick-and-mortar locations, which was how outplacement worked before the internet changed just about everything.

Without the need to travel to a geographical location, the client is able to work with their coaches at any time that works for them. This is important because some job seekers are not located in major cities where outplacement firms typically operate.

Traditional firms still love to have face-to-face meetings for some reason, making clients go out of their way to get the service like the provider is doing them a favor or something. This is the wrong way to handle this service because the digital landscape has given us the tools to render this practice obsolete.

So, when shopping around, make sure that the provider is willing to harness all of the powers of the internet to ensure your employee will be able to access the service on their own terms, allowing them to schedule meetings with their coaches when it works for them, and also providing them tools online to make the educational process simple and effective.

The Outplacement Process: Interview Prep

Like resume building, working with a client to prepare for an interview is one of the parts of the service that everyone already knows about.

This step is largely based on the client because some people need more help with interviews than others. Some people are completely comfortable talking about their skills and answering those tough questions (you know, “what is your weakness?” types of things). Others need a little boost to give them an edge.

Once again, this is where coaching comes in because they can work with the client to see what help they may need on a case-by-case basis.

If it isn’t clear yet, the outplacement process is one part human (coaching) and one part digital (platforms, communication, etc). If you have only one or the other, the process falls apart because there is no way for a computer (yet, at least) to gauge what a person needs from the outplacement service and if there is only a coach there is nothing connecting the process to the digital landscape.

Finding the right outplacement provider means finding one that has both sections covered. They have a professional coaching staff that is available whenever the person needs them. Coaches that are not simply part-time workers that may or may not be around at a given time.

At the same time, the provider’s digital presence must be up to the task of actually landing the candidate a job in a timely manner. Gone are the days of “hitting the pavement” and passing out paper resumes. Gone are the days of looking in the classified section of a newspaper (in fact, gone are the days of paper newspapers).

The job hunt is online and outplacement needs to be online with it. However, a coach is still a very, very important part of the outplacement process because they bring the human touch required to navigate all of these digital assets.

Make sure your outplacement provider has both.

The Outplacement Process: Placement

This is the part of the outplacement process that everyone loves: placement!

After all of the prepping, resume editing, interviewing, the client will eventually land a new role in a new organization, completing the process.

So, what can we say about this step? Well, not much but a buyer-beware warning.

Some outplacement firms (hint: all of them except us) use term limits when it comes to their service. This means that if a client isn’t placed in a new role within a certain time frame, they are left to go it alone.

Not only this is the wrong way to handle outplacement, it’s also a potential waste of money for you, the business leader who is using the service to place your outbound employees.

If a client goes through the outplacement process and doesn’t come out the other side with a job, all of the potential resentment they feel towards your company can come washing back, doing the exact thing you wanted to avoid.

Some firms even go as far as only providing a service for a month. When was the last time someone got laid off and was able to land a job in a month? It can sometimes take that long for a resume to get read let alone having multiple interviews. If you look back at all of the steps in this process, you can see how a month is way too short to place a candidate in a new, meaningful role that they will actually enjoy and thrive in.

So, what should outplacement firms do?

It’s simple: work with clients until they are placed. We call this “Until Placement.” What’s the point of working with a client for a couple of weeks and then throwing them out the door? We are here to get people back to work and that means going out of our way to make sure that happens.

Using Careerminds, a typical client gets back to work in under 12 weeks, a figure that largely depends on industry and wage requirement. We don’t want to get someone a temp job (unless that’s what they want). We want to get them a permanent job that they love.

To do that, we need to work with them as long as it takes. This is why we have nearly a 100 percent success rate placing clients and why other firms get a lot of heat because they seem like they don’t even care if someone gets a new job or not.

So, to sum this section up, make sure you read the fine print when shopping for a service provider because not all are created equally when it comes to the actual placement process.

The Outplacement Process: A Simple Summary

Let’s wrap this up.

The outplacement process can seem daunting. However, if you break it down, you will find that it’s pretty simple.

Here are the main parts: a Needs Assessment will figure out what the client needs and gives the coach time to prepare a course of action. From there, social accounts are created, resumes are expertly written, and networking starts. Next, online platforms are introduced to make sure clients can continue learning at any time of the day. Using these tools, the client starts to apply for new jobs while working on interviewing skills. Finally, the client is placed in a new role!

We hope you found this guide super useful and that it gave you a better understanding of the outplacement process.

Want to learn more about our unique approach to outplacement? Check out a demo!

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Josh Hrala

Josh Hrala

Josh is an HR journalist and ghostwriter who's been covering outplacement and offboarding for over six years. Before pivoting to the HR world, he was a science journalist whose work can be found in Popular Science, ScienceAlert, The Huffington Post, Cracked, Modern Notion, and more.

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