If you are transitioning from your current role, your employer may have provided some Outplacement support for you. You might be able to choose your own provider or alternatively you could be funding it yourself.
Colin Lloyd, Regional Director of Personal Career Management in Leeds has provided some hints to help choose the right provider for you.
Do your homework
Start with a Google search. Look at the top 5-8 organic results (avoiding the ads) – they must be there for a reason. Have a good look around the website and see what you can find out. Can you see details of the Outplacement programmes and what they cost? Does their website tell you where they are based and who you will be working with? Look at the biographies or profiles of career coaches, do they have testimonials from their clients? Google search the company name to see if there is any positive or negative feedback online and look at the career coaches LinkedIn profiles. Try to get a feel for the company and the people that work there.
Talk to them
After your research you will probably have a short list of around 3-5 companies. Ring them – expect to have a reasonably in depth conversation about your current situation and what you want to achieve, this may last 20 mins or so. If you haven’t used Outplacement before you might not know exactly what you want so you should get an overview of the range of services offered and prices charged. You shouldn’t feel any pressure on this call to commit to a programme. If you are happy with what you’ve heard, then…….
Go and see them
This is essential. You should be offered a free consultation on a no obligation basis to allow the consultant to get a detailed picture of where you are, what your situation is and what you want to achieve. Expect this meeting to last about an hour and be full of questions from both parties – it shouldn’t feel like a sales pitch. At the end of the meeting there should be a joint decision about what is right for you and specifics about programme content and price. You do not have to sign up if you don’t want to, although expect to be asked, but again it shouldn’t feel pressurised.
How did the process feel? Did I feel sold too? Will they actually help me get what I want? Did they ask enough questions to fully understand my situation? Is he/she credible? Are they suitably experienced? Can I trust them? Do they comply with the CIPD Code of Practice in what is an unregulated market? If you have any unanswered questions get back in touch and get the answers.
Make your decision and commit – for your protection there should be an opt out clause giving you a cooling off period, usually 14 days, so you don’t have to proceed if it isn’t right.
It is a very personal choice. Your wants and needs are unique and you should feel that this is being taken into consideration at every step. If not then walk away and find someone that will listen.
If your employer has an existing provider it’s worth noting that you might still be able to use a provider of your choice.