Outplacement Companies – What do they Do?

February 2nd, 2010

 

Outplacement has been around for a long long time and dates back to when companies had to make mass redundancies in the 1980’s and wanted to show their staff that they were giving them some support.  There are a large number of outplacement companies out there now, ranging from one man bands through to multi-national corporations with a multi-million pound turnover. One of the best known outplacement companies is PENNA who are used by a whole range of large companies and even the Job Centres now have their own version of outplacement in the form of executive job search support for newly unemployed professionals.  

 

Outplacement is essentially the idea that a consultant can come to assist an employee who is moving on to find a new position.  Most outplacement companies have a large range of resources and will hold sessions on CV Reviews, Job search techniques, change in careers, interview practice, assessment centres, networking and anything else in between. The services can range from one session covering everything through to two week residential courses. 

 

The most useful part of outplacement is probably the preparation of a CV. The vast majority of CVs used to apply for jobs are, to be frank, pretty awful. As a recruitment consultant and a career coach we get to see the best of both sides in that we prepare CVs as well as use them on a daily basis, and the vast majority of CVs that we see are not up to the job.  In fact some of them positively discriminate against the person making the application because they are so bad and fail completely to put across that person’s experience in a way that will ensure they are seen for a particular position. 

 

In working with the Job Centres on their executive job search support service I have also seen that bad outplacement advice can have a similar effect.  

 

A quick example of this is the idea by some of the outplacement providers that a CV has to fit onto two pages. This inevitably results in someone with a career spanning twenty years missing the vast majority of information that may have assisted them in finding a new position, particularly with the use of key words being so vital now on CVs for CV banks and CV searches.  It means that instead of having between three and eight pages to fit your career on you have to remove the vast majority and strip it down to its bare bones. 

 

Most of the outplacement providers I have come across and the advice they have given people has been anecdotally good, and the people who have been to outsourcing have very positive experiences of it and it does open people’s eyes to new opportunities and potential sources of work.  The vast majority of people spend their whole working lives going from one position to the next without any thought as to where they want to be and how they want to progress their career and this is why something like outsourcing can be so effective as it stops you, it makes you think about where you want to be and how you want to get there and what you want out of life.  

 

Jonathan Fagan is the Managing Director of Ten Percent Legal Recruitment and also Senior Career Coach at www.jbfagan.co.uk. Both companies provide outplacement services via companies or for individuals on a private basis. For further details please visit the website or e-mail cv@jbfagan.co.uk

 

 

Jobsearch Support for Unemployed Professionals

May 14th, 2009

The DWP have awarded Ten-Percent.co.uk Limited (the company behind www.jbfagan.co.uk) a 2 year contract to provide jobsearch support for newly unemployed professionals. At present, the scheme is very much in its infancy, but we have already provided the service to professionals based in Bristol. the West Midlands and the North West. The scheme works by the Jobcentre Plus Adviser referring their clients through to us, and within 24 hours we arrange an appointment, usually over the telephone as the service is nationwide.

This appointment is about 45 mins long, and we cover a whole range of topics, concentrating as required on particular areas. At the end of the consultation we provide an action plan to the job centre and the client, and continue to provide support as required by email.

If you want to take advantage of this service, you need to be unemployed, and also speak to your adviser in the first instance. If you give them our contract number and company (Ten-Percent.co.uk Limited) they refer you through to us.

Jonathan Fagan is MD of http://www.ten-percent.co.uk/ and senior career coach at http://www.jbfagan.co.uk/
You can call him on 0207 127 4343. Our contract number is AAA271601 if you want to refer us to your adviser.

The Ten Best Ways to Get Yourself Fired

March 23rd, 2009

The Ten Best Ways to Get Yourself Fired

This article looks at the ten best ways of getting yourself fired from a job.  Why would you want to get fired from a job, especially in the current climate?  Well, it may be that you don’t like your job and you want to go travelling around the world, but just need a bit of impetus to help you leave the cosy existence you find yourself in with your current company or organisation.  There is no particular order to these, and we welcome any comments you may have, or direct experience of them in action.

 

1.      Phone in sick.

Once you have phoned in sick, telephone your local Porsche garage and ask them to set up a test drive, picking you up from your office.  Set the time of the test drive at mid morning, or mid afternoon, for maximum effect.  When the Porsche arrives outside your office, they will ask for you and be told that you are not there, and one of two things will happen: 1, someone from the company will telephone you at home to tell you that the Porsche garage have turned up, or 2. they will just tell the Porsche garage that you are not in work.  The Porsche garage will tell them that you have telephoned specifically today to book the appointment, which will probably raise hackles in the office.  If they telephone you at home to tell you that the Porsche has arrived, you can then apologise and say that you had actually told them your home address, and they must have got confused. 

 

At the very least this particular action will lead to a formal warning, if not instant dismissal for the bare-faced cheek of arranging a test drive in a high powered sports car that probably your boss could not afford.

 

2.      Don’t wash until you are sacked.

This technique is very simple, although probably used by lots of workers every day, who simply just cannot be bothered to wash.  Do not wash for any reason whatsoever.  Do not wash your clothes, do not have a shave or do your hair, but simply turn up to work and sleep in the same clothes.  Within a week you will stink.  Your co-workers will put in a formal complaint and your Manager will have had a quiet word, then a louder word and then probably instant dismissal, for fear of the rest of the company leaving instead of you.  Once sacked, you should wash, otherwise you may start to enjoy smelling strongly.

 

3.      Take siestas.

For maximum effect, wait until all your Managers are in a meeting and then go to sleep with your nose touching the keyboard of your computer, if working an office.  Make sure your nose is touching a key that results in lots of loud beeps, and for maximum effect do not sleep the night before and stop up all night drinking heavily. 

 

When woken up by an irate Manager, ask him to turn the light off or be quiet.  If challenged, explain that you have decided to take cat naps throughout the day in future, as you have heard that it will increase your productivity.  Even more effective, curl up in a ball under your desk and go to sleep there, as you will get longer before being discovered and sacked.

 

4.      Practise speaking to customers in gibberish.

Obviously, if you work for some companies, this will be fairly easy, as particular utility companies train their staff to speak gibberish most of the time.  When asked a question, give a very vague response in gibberish and, if challenged by a Manager, practise your gibberish on them too.  The other option would be to try talking in business speak to everybody, all day, and see how long it is before your company either promote you to Chief Executive, or dismiss you.

 

5.      Have an imaginary fight with yourself.

Okay, we’ve borrowed this from Fight Club, but try and get yourself on your own, with your Manager and severely assault yourself, crying “ow, ow, ow” as you do it.  Obviously, doing this when anyone else was watching, would be a very bad idea, as they would realise that you are either a film fan, or completely deranged.

 

6.      Call you manager or boss into your office, or work space, and say that you are not happy with their work.  Explain to them that unless they buck their ideas up, you will recommend their instant dismissal to anyone who will listen.  Tell them that you have felt their idea has been wrong to their work since they started, and that you have been disappointed with their behaviour.  Give them a verbal warning that, as an employee you feel that they need to improve or be dismissed.  Tell them that they have good prospects at the firm, despite being lowly paid, and that only good behaviour and hard work can get them to where they want to be.

 

7.      Buy a very old car.

Once you have purchased your car, drive it into the Chief Executive’s parking space and leave it there.  Make sure that the log book is registered to you, but deny all knowledge of it until they work out whose car it is.  Better still, park the car across the staff car park and remove vital parts of the engine.  This should infuriate your employers, to the extent that you will at least get a formal warning off them.

 

8.      Build a tower out of A4 reams of paper.

You should easily be able to build a tower, stretching from the floor to the ceiling and, for maximum effect, see if you can make it tip over just as any Manager or Director comes into the room.  This should sufficiently infuriate your boss.

 

9.      Go onto Facebook, make sure you are linked to at least 100 other employees in the company, and put a note on your wall and lots of others that you feel under-paid, under-valued and thoroughly bored by your work.  Also, take the opportunity to complain about everything in the company, and say that you think the company is about to go under, due to poor management and lack of investment.

 

10.  Work as hard as you can, ask no questions and put maximum effort into your job.

In the current climate, it is clear that you can do what you like in a job, as firms will get rid of you regardless of your behaviour or actions or loyal service over many years.  There is no loyalty in a lot of businesses, and if a firm are going to get rid of you, they will get rid of you regardless of whether you have parked an old car across the car park, built a tower out of A4 paper or ordered a Porsche test drive when you have phoned in sick.  Let us know your thoughts.

 

Jonathan Fagan is a career coach at www.jbfagan.co.uk and MD of www.ten-percent.co.uk - you can contact him on 0207 127 4343.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Video CVs - a waste of time?

March 18th, 2009

Back through this blog you will see articles that depicted that there would not be a massive fall off of jobs, it would all blow over by the summer.  How wrong we were!

 

As a result we are hesitant to comment on Video CV’s… These are short films made on the internet and a candidate basically gives an outline of themselves and their career to date and what they’re looking for.

 

The Video CV’s I have seen have probably put me off most of them and they’re not really needed to the extent that an employer can look through a CV for the sort of experience they are looking for in order to be able to see whether the person is going to be of interest.

 

The only advantage I can see of them is when watching a video CV the employer can see if a person is going to be completely unsuitable but the video CV is probably doing the candidate a disadvantage applying for the job.  It is basically giving employers another level of assessment and filter, and will reduce the chances of a candidate being able to get into interview because if the employer watches the video and finds the person is unsuitable he has not got a foot through the door even.

 

I cannot see many instances where a video CV will benefit a candidate before attending an interview.  A CV can look good and a video CV can alter any perceptions and then the candidate has missed the opportunity to impress face to face. 

 

I do not think it benefits an employer particularly either as if the employer wants to interview but decides to watch the video CV first, spending five to ten minutes watching the video CV when they may as well have just held a face to face interview.

 

So in summary I would say the video CV’s have the potential to be a gimmick. I do not think they help candidates particularly and I think they add another level of administration and a burden.

 

Jonathan Fagan is Senior Career Coach at JB Fagan & Associates, www.jbfagan.co.uk and Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment – www.ten-percent.co.uk

 

 

 

Redundancy - do you tell a new employer during interview?

December 22nd, 2008

Do you tell a new employer during interview that you have been made redundant from your last job?

 

This dilemma has arisen on a number of occasions – do you tell a potential employer that you have been made redundant in your last job? Do you reveal anything about the circumstances and do you put it on your CV or application form or covering letter?

 

Over the years I have been doing recruitment, I am not sure you need to tell anybody unless directly asked or feel compelled to say anything about it.

 

We still sees CVs of people in the 1980s who were made redundant in the last recession and they still write on that they were made redundant, almost as an achievement. It detracts however from the work they have been doing at the particular place, as you find your eyes wondering towards the reasons for the departure as opposed to the actual work that is being undertaken during their time with the company or firm.

 

Personally, I think it is better to not mention, unless somebody specifically asks. If asked, I would certainly say, that without being asked it is probably better not to mention it. The aim of an interview is to present positive things about yourself and whilst a redundancy may be nothing to do with you, it does leave a future employer wondering whether you have been unable to justify your existence at a firm and the reason for your redundancy. People always look at redundancy and wonder what the underlying reasons were, and whether or not there has been a credit crunch now, in five years time this will be forgotten and people will forget how hard it was to keep a job, particularly in real estate or commercial property.

 

This has indeed happened in the past with people writing in the late 1980s that they have been made redundant and by 2005, in the property boom, their CV stands out as no-one remembers the hard times of 20 years before.

 

In summary, we would recommend simply leaving off the reasons for departure from firms unless very short and something fairly positive and letting an employer ask you interview, so you are able to put a more positive light on it.

 

Jonathan Fagan is Senior Consultant at JB Fagan & Associates, career coaching experts. He can be contacted for advice or comment via www.jbfagan.co.uk 

Technical Testing – what’s the point?

November 26th, 2008

As part of the out placement service we offer, technical testing is one of the popular requirements of a lot of clients.  So what is it and how does it work?

 

We provide online tests to our client employees relating to a whole string of different subjects, fields and specialisms. Basically the employees log onto our server, enter answers to a timed test and these are then marked and results given.

 

The reason this is so effective because it does not take much time to handle the testing, the employee is able to get an instant result and as the tests are recognised across industries, they can use them to provide as evidence to future employers following redundancy as to their skills and experience.

 

It basically reassures any future employer that the person they are about to employ is capable of the work they are claiming to be able to do. The use of technical tests that are benchmarked across the industry means that other employers and organisations will recognise those tests as being valid and the employee is able to go away with a recognised result in the tests.

 

So technical tests, although sounding like they might not be much use to anybody, are actually a very important benchmark to your employees, and can give them something of value to go away with and perhaps another positive thought about your company to pass on to anyone they meet in future.

 

Again, it gets back to the point and the reason for out placing for employees facing redundancy in that the service provides you with limited marketing from former employees who are likely to be mixing in the circles of people who will use your services in future. For details of our outplacement service, please contact us.

 

www.jbfagan.co.uk

Do you tell a new employer about redundancy?

November 14th, 2008

This dilemma has arisen on a number of occasions – do you tell a potential employer that you have been made redundant in your last job? Do you reveal anything about the circumstances and do you put it on your CV or application form or covering letter?

 

Over the years I have been doing recruitment, I am not sure you need to tell anybody unless directly asked or feel compelled to say anything about it.

 

We still sees CVs of people in the 1980s who were made redundant in the last recession and they still write on that they were made redundant, almost as an achievement. It detracts however from the work they have been doing at the particular place, as you find your eyes wondering towards the reasons for the departure as opposed to the actual work that is being undertaken during their time with the company or firm.

 

Personally, I think it is better to not mention, unless somebody specifically asks. If asked, I would certainly say, that without being asked it is probably better not to mention it. The aim of an interview is to present positive things about yourself and whilst a redundancy may be nothing to do with you, it does leave a future employer wondering whether you have been unable to justify your existence at a firm and the reason for your redundancy. People always look at redundancy and wonder what the underlying reasons were, and whether or not there has been a credit crunch now, in five years time this will be forgotten and people will forget how hard it was to keep a job, particularly in real estate or commercial property.

 

This has indeed happened in the past with people writing in the late 1980s that they have been made redundant and by 2005, in the property boom, their CV stands out as no-one remembers the hard times of 20 years before.

 

In summary, we would recommend simply leaving off the reasons for departure from firms unless very short and something fairly positive and letting an employer ask you interview, so you are able to put a more positive light on it.

 

Jonathan Fagan is a senior career coach with JB Fagan & Associates. He can be contacted for advice or comment at cv@jbfagan.co.uk  

Technical Testing for Job Skills – what’s the point?

November 6th, 2008

As part of the outplacement service we offer, technical testing is one of the popular requirements of a lot of clients.  So what is it and how does it work?

 

We provide online tests to our client employees relating to a whole string of different subjects, fields and specialisms. Basically the employees log onto our server, enter answers to a timed test and these are then marked and results given.

 

The reason this is so effective because it does not take much time to handle the testing, the employee is able to get an instant result and as the tests are recognised across industries, they can use them to provide as evidence to future employers following redundancy as to their skills and experience.

 

It basically reassures any future employer that the person they are about to employ is capable of the work they are claiming to be able to do. The use of technical tests that are benchmarked across the industry means that other employers and organisations will recognise those tests as being valid and the employee is able to go away with a recognised result in the tests.

 

So technical tests, although sounding like they might not be much use to anybody, are actually a very important benchmark to your employees, and can give them something of value to go away with and perhaps another positive thought about your company to pass on to anyone they meet in future.

 

Again, it gets back to the point and the reason for out placing for employees facing redundancy in that the service provides you with limited marketing from former employees who are likely to be mixing in the circles of people who will use your services in future. For details of our outplacement service, please contact us at www.jbfagan.co.uk – email cv@jbfagan.co.uk

Protecting the Brand & Redundancy

November 3rd, 2008

One of the main concerns for every employer when making redundancies has to be to ensure that it is done in a way that brand of the company is protected.

 

Let me explain – if you decide to release a member of staff who parts from your company in acrimonious circumstances, and subsequently goes on to join one of your competitors or remain in the same field, just in a different role, they are very likely to meet your suppliers, clients and third parties who may use your services at some point in the future.

 

If they do not have any positive thoughts about your company, this can impede your brand image as the employee is not going to be particularly positive about his or her experience in your company.

 

This is why you need to protect your brand image. How do you do this? The easiest way is to ensure that when the employee departs your company, he or she does so in positive circumstances with contentment about the way that the dismissal was handled. This is partly why outplacement is becoming so popular. If you have a member of staff who you need to let go, an outplacement company can step in and assist them find a new post and search for alternative options and consider alternative careers. They can train the employee fully if they have not been interviewed for a post for many years and also prepare their CV, application forms and covering letters. Furthermore, they can offer tests to employees so that they can use the results to demonstrate their ability to future employers.

 

Outplacement can have a really positive effect on your redundancy plans. If every employee leaves your company with positive thoughts about the way they were handled, they go out into the job place with recommendations for you and potentially referrals for your company, which should enable you to pick up increased work and sales. At the very least, they will go out with neutral thoughts about your company and will not say negative things about you to third parties, other employers or your present or future clients.

 

It makes economic sense too. If you have an outplacement company charging you, say, £4000 plus VAT to assist having an employee find work and that employee subsequently goes on to generate you two new sources of work as a result of their positive thoughts about your company, the outplacement has paid for itself. Furthermore, there is no damage to your brand, and your status and reputation is protected. This is particularly important if a redundancy is made of the grounds of cost and the employee starts to tell third parties that you are struggling financially, as this can result in businesses collapsing like a house of cards.

 

For further details of our Outplacement Services, please visit www.jbfagan.co.uk or ring 0207 127 4343

Lack of control over work environment

October 22nd, 2008

Lack of control over work environment.

 

Recently in the news it has been announced that Kevin Keegan has resigned as manager of Newcastle United, citing problems over control of transfer of players. The club had recruited a technical director and a president of recruitment of players, leaving the manager very little or no control over his selection of his own team. Similarly, Mark Hughes has found himself at Manchester City in a similar position, albeit a fairly pleasant one in that he discovered his club had purchased the world’s most expensive player and he had known nothing about it.

 

There is a theme here that runs through quite a lot of work environments which is all about control.

 

If employees feel as if they are in control of their own environment and work, they are much more content. Any movement to take this away from them or to infringe upon their control can be met with hostility or resentment, which is clearly the case in the Kevin Keegan saga at Newcastle.

 

As an employer, it is sometimes very hard to appreciate the direct and indirect effects of particular actions. An example of this would be where an employer decides to remove a particular task from the remit of one person and give it to another on the basis that it will free the first employee up to do other work. This may indeed be what has happened with Kevin Keegan, i.e. the club have thought they would like to free up his time to spend coaching his players and organising the team.

 

However, although the direct effect of this is to remove tasks and free up time for the employee, the employer has also infringed upon that employee’s control over their own environment. No longer are they permitted to do the activity they were expecting to do, they must also find new tasks to fit into the time they now have available. This can be seen as a threat, particularly when jobs are in short supply and they are concerned in any event about the threat of redundancy.

 

It is important when making changes to employees conditions or particulars of work to do it in a way that the employee thinks they are in control. Namely, to talk with the employee and almost make it their own suggestion that your idea is implemented. In the recruitment consultancy world, each recruitment consultant usually looks after a particular geographical area, builds up good relationships with their clients in those areas. As employers, sometimes it is easy to forget the reality and practicalities of a person working in a certain area and look instead at the figures before making decisions on moving employees about. This can lead to confrontation between employees as well if they consider the employer is favouring one person above another.

 

The same in the legal world with solicitors or even secretaries who may have tasks moved from them to another person.

 

In summary, don’t change people’s working environments unilaterally. Make sure you consult each employee affected and try to implant the idea into their minds as opposed to something you direct them to do.

 

A happy workforce is a productive workforce.

 

Jonathan Fagan is a career coach at JB Fagan & Associates. You can speak to Jonathan on 0207 127 4343 or email him at cv@jbfagan.co.uk.