Jim was a Director of Strategic Planning at a Fortune 50 organization who successfully led the sales strategy for one of the company’s premier brands. Bob was a Director of Marketing at a Fortune 500 company who received numerous industry awards and professional accolades for innovative initiatives that created product line growth. Dave was a President of a multi-billion dollar Fortune 1000 company who delivered millions of dollars in savings to his company and customers through leading global teams in performance improvement initiatives. Jennifer was a Vice President of Human Resources who developed and led recruiting strategies in a division of a Fortune 500 company during a period of high growth that resulted in over 80% retention of those hires after a two-year period.
What do all of these people have in common? They’re “A” Players who found themselves restructured out of Corporate America at what could likely be called the peak of their professional careers due to mergers, acquisitions or economic conditions outside of their control – and they were all provided outplacement services as a result. But unfortunately, while each of these individuals were going through their career transition period, some companies or recruiters, who were looking for candidates just like them to fill key roles within their organizations, missed the opportunity to recruit them. Why? Because they never considered looking for candidates at an outplacement firm. It could be that these hiring professionals believed that only “passive” candidates were the answer, while some others wouldn’t even have considered the idea of hiring someone who was currently unemployed. (Something must be wrong with them – right?)
To get past some of the perceived barriers in considering candidates in career transition, perhaps we should think of recruiting at outplacement firms for experienced hires in much the same way that we think of college recruiting for entry-level hires. Most companies who hire recent college graduates value the fact that these individuals have spent time preparing themselves for future employment by getting an education. Candidates going through outplacement services have also typically spent the time getting an education and have real-life work experiences that can be shared and evaluated in considering them for opportunities as well, plus they’re also actively involved in completing assessments, working with a coach or counselor and participating in networking activities to prepare themselves for “re-employment”. So, even though both types of candidates are un-employed, why do we sometimes place a stigma on the latter who are likely to be unemployed through no fault of their own?
I’m a Recruiter, and my primary focus is on connecting with business leaders who need help in identifying and attracting leadership talent to their organizations. As a result, I’m also always interested in connecting with top senior-level talent who may be a fit for those opportunities, and I’ve found outplacement firms to be a great resource to efficiently connect with these types of individuals. Through developing relationships with several outplacement firms and Career Coaches, I’m able to communicate my hiring needs to them and receive targeted and vetted referrals for my opportunities. I also regularly receive referrals of the types of individuals they know I’d like to connect with in general and these referrals are a potential win-win for all involved! The outplacement firm/Coach is able to add value to the process for their clients, the clients are able to expand their networks by connecting with a trusted Recruiter and I’m able to connect with high-quality individuals who could be either placements or clients in the future. (And, I’m able to make these high-quality connections without having to wade through thousands of resumes received through job postings or making hundreds of phone calls.)
In fact, I met 75% of the individuals mentioned in the first paragraph above through their outplacement activities or referrals from my relationships in the firm they were working with. To understand the value of these connections to me in my business – I’ve recommended the first individual for an opportunity with a client, I connected the second with his next career opportunity and the third is currently being considered for a position with one of my company’s clients. The fourth – well that one was me – and I landed my current position through networking while going through outplacement. Thankfully, I was referred to the owner of the company where I currently work by my Career Coach because both understand the value of helping and connecting experienced professionals who are going through the career transition process.
Are you missing out on high-quality hires because you haven’t considered sourcing candidates from outplacement services? If so, it’s past time to shed any biases that you may have and start building some mutually beneficial relationships by walking in that candy store today.
Jennifer McClure is a Vice President at Centennial, Inc.,a Cincinnati-based recruitment and coaching firm, where she’s charged with strategic recruiting efforts, executive coaching and business development for the firm. Send her an uncustomized LinkedIn invite at your own peril…