What Is An Outplacement Consultant and Why You Need One

View of puzzle pieces with employees on them, representing a prepared workforce who has the answer to what is an outplacement consultant.

If you work in HR, you know that staying on top of the rapidly changing nature of human resource management isn’t just about what happens day-to-day; it’s about planning for the future of each employee. Often, that future involves finding an excellent outplacement consultant to help your employees with their career transitions.

What is an Outplacement Consultant?

An outplacement consultant is a professional who works with recently off-boarded employees to help them land a new position. A combination of a teacher, coach, and personalized guide, the best outplacement consultants tailor their approach not only to the particular candidate they’re working with, but also to the state of the larger economy. No two candidates have the exact same set of skills, and a great outplacement consultant works to help each individual find a perfect new role.

What is an Outplacement Consultant’s Range of Services?

Generally speaking, outplacement consultants help candidates prepare for the current job market by offering a set of services such as resume revision, social media networking, and interview preparation. They traditionally begin by conducting what is known as a needs assessment with the candidate. This process usually takes the form of an interview, either in person or virtually, which allows the consultant to identify in what areas the candidate may need the most guidance. The consultant will then help the employee conceptualize of themselves as a brand, which allows them to best showcase their strengths to potential employers. This service can be especially beneficial for older employees who have not needed to interview for a position in years.

The consultant may then advise the candidate to use online learning resources to help them adapt to the state of the contemporary job market. Whether the employee needs to brush up on the use of certain software or learn how to appear more relaxed during a formal interview by watching webinars, this learning phase allows them to polish their skills and boost their confidence. Unsurprisingly, most employees desire some form of reskilling, whether it’s from their employer or the outplacement provider. What is an outplacement consultant if not a personalized guide to the newest and most desirable skills? They can suggest courses of learning and encourage candidates who hit roadblocks or temporary set-backs to keep going.

Outplacement consultants usually determine how much interview preparation a candidate needs based on how confident and focused the candidate has become. Once the employee is ready, they can begin applying for jobs. What is an outplacement consultant’s best case scenario? Watching an employee successfully adapt to the new job market in as short a time as possible is heartening, but there’s no better feeling than learning that the candidate is now fielding multiple offers because they interviewed so well.

Choosing a Great Outplacement Consultant

What is an outplacement consultant’s most important characteristics? Although different consultants specialize in different industries, the best among them are naturals with people from all backgrounds. They combine empathy and insight with a keen understanding of real-world conditions. They’re also constantly pushing themselves to keep on top of the latest developments in their particular field and developments in employment-related technologies. In short, they’re always working on helping people understand how to connect with ideal employment opportunities, and they enthusiastically offer support and encouragement.

If your company is considering investing in outplacement services, it’s important to first understand who the team members working at the outplacement agency are. This process may feel surprisingly familiar. For those who are curious about what is an outplacement consultant’s traditional professional trajectory, many successful consultants have had a background in human resource management before they chose to specialize in outplacement. You may feel like you’re connecting with a fellow colleague when you first speak to the outplacement team members, which will make the process even easier when you do need to offboard employees.

What Is An Outplacement Consultant’s Preferred Timeline?

Although the timeline of each outplacement is customized to the individual candidate, great outplacement consultants love to start working as soon as they can. An experienced outplacement consultant will usually be able to help an employee refocus on branding themselves and gain the confidence they need to find a position in a matter of a week or two. Although much of that timeline depends on the offers that candidate receives from potential employers, being properly prepared to enter the workforce is more than half the battle.

So what is an outplacement consultant’s average availability? For you as an HR professional, it’s never too early to start looking for a compatible firm. Don’t wait until layoffs are already scheduled; anticipate the needs of your company now, and begin seeking out the qualified, enthusiastic outplacement services you will need in the future.

Luckily, Intoo can help you connect with experienced, knowledgeable outplacement consultants. For answers to any other questions you may have about outplacement, download our Essential Guide to Outplacement.

INTOO Staff Writer

INTOO staff writers come from diverse backgrounds and have extensive experience writing about topics that matter to the HR and business communities, including outplacement, layoffs, career development, internal mobility, candidate experience, succession planning, talent acquisition, and more.

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