faced with the situation of having to reduce headcount to remain
competitive. Here are five key factors to consider when selecting
an outplacement firm if your company is ever faced with a workforce
1. Types of Services Provided.
One decision you will need to make regarding outplacement is whether
your displaced workers would benefit most from group or individual
one-on-one outplacement. For the majority of outplaced employees,
if your budget permits, individual outplacement is the preferred
option since it provides one-on-one support that will help them move
forward more quickly than they would on their own.
If you decide they would benefit most from individual outplacement,
you will then need to determine what services would be most valuable
to your displaced employees. One option would be to select an
outplacement firm that develops their resume and cover letter for them.
Another option would be an outplacement firm that offers office space
and a computer for the displaced worker to prepare their own job
2. Areas of Specialty.
Another factor to consider when selecting an outplacement firm is
whether it is important to you that they have experience working with
the type of displaced employees you will be sending them. A related
factor is whether it is important to you that the outplacement company
specializes in dealing with companies like yours.
If their areas of specialty are important to you, review the
outplacement company’s web site and other marketing materials to see
what their specialty is or ask them directly. If an outplacement
firm’s expertise lies in serving large companies displacing
administrative staff and your small business is displacing experienced
managers, this outplacement firm may not be the best fit for you.
3. Experience with Current Job Search Practices.
How important is it to you that the outplacement firm be experienced
with Internet job search techniques? Is it likely that the Internet
will play a key role in your displaced employees’ job search strategy?
If you determine that Internet savvy is an important evaluation point
for an outplacement firm, check to see whether the outplacement firm
recognizes the importance of the Internet by having a web site. Are
they aware of the top online career sites? Do they offer a service to
post displaced employees resumes on these top online career sites?
Do they have the ability to distribution resumes electronically to a
select group of employers and recruiters?
4. Length of Time Support is Provided.
Another factor to consider when selecting outplacement services is the
amount of time you feel the displaced worker would require outplacement
support. In general, the more senior-level the position, the longer it
will take the displaced employee to find suitable employment.
A second time factor to consider is whether the displaced worker will
receive ongoing one-on-one scheduled sessions with a career transition
consultant or whether the ongoing support merely includes access to job
search support materials.
Outplacement costs must be considered when selecting an outplacement
firm. Check to see whether outplacement costs are clearly defined and
stated on the outplacement firm’s web site and in their marketing
materials. Are you charged only if the displaced employee elects to
contact the outplacement firm for support or are you charged regardless
of whether the displaced employee receives support? Are there
affordable packages available that provide the services you feel your
displaced employees would most benefit from without providing unwanted
Another cost factor to consider is whether the outplacement firm gives
you the able to select outplacement services a la carte to meet your
needs. Also determine whether the outplacement company has a minimum
fee requirement or whether they will charge you only for the number of
displaced employees you actually have even if the number is as few as
By considering each of these five factors you can develop effective
selection criteria for deciding on an outplacement provider to best
meet the needs of your displaced employees while adhering to your
About the Author
Ann Hackett is the founder and President of Quest
(http://www.QuestCareer.com), an online career management company that
specializes in providing small businesses located throughout the world.