Most of the folks in job search mode that I encounter are like me, on their own to learn how to navigate this facet of life and create their own plan. Others have the privilege of using services from a career counseling, or outplacement firm through funding from their previous employer. A small part of me is jealous of this seeming advantage, but my independent self has other thoughts.
So I decided that I would share a few of those other thoughts. Accountability is a word that gets batted around a great deal in businesses these days and it is a very good word. It keeps us all on our toes, when applied appropriately – both as individuals and also as business entities. We are more likely to behave properly if we know that someone is watching and there might be repercussions for acting out of turn.
So who is this firm accountable to if their fees are paid by the former employer? The former employer doesn’t care about the result of the counseling offered, i.e. a new job for the former employee, they are offering this as a purely economic venture (cheaper to pay this fee than keep on more employees than they want/need).
The recipient of the service doesn’t have much leverage to hold the firm accountable because they are not paying the fee. My conclusion is that the recipient, while appreciating this perk, should take charge of their job search plan and make sure that they are getting the most out of the services offered by the firm. Be proactive and find out from other sources what the best methods of successfully landing a new position are and then query the firm about how they help with this function.
Ask why the counselor is suggesting to do a certain thing, what success have they seen from this effort? A large portion of activity in job search is highly subjective – a person can find an equal number of proponents and detractors for almost every aspect. Channel your inner 2-year-old (admit it, you’ve wanted to have a chance to do it) and ask ‘why is that’ until you get a response that makes it clear to you. Think hard about any answers that smack of ‘because that’s the way that we do it’. Those types of answers rarely serve you as well as they serve the company itself.
We – both job seekers and people in general – have a tendency to trust someone who is a subject matter expert, based sometimes on nothing more than their job title but when the stakes are so much higher for the job seeker than those at the firm, a bit of skepticism and extra questioning is prudent on the job seeker’s part. The job seeker recipient of counseling services shouldn’t worry about taking up too much of their time since you aren’t footing the bill. Take full advantage of this opportunity. And please, join a job search group and share your findings with those of us who haven’t had the opportunity for personal career counseling.
© 2013 Practical Business | Reasonable Expectations