Réseau d'Activités à Distance


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Personal and professional checkup at a distance

The purpose of this paper is to show how the tools of teleworking can be used to intensify and to democratize the services offered to job hunters by the outplacement consultants.

We'll limit ourself to the writing of the personal chekup. But our horizon is the creation of jobs and activities in a tele-assistance, teleservices and telesolidarity network.

* Introduction

Job hunting is a full time activity. This period running from the date of the dismissing to this of your strengthening in a new activity contains, at least, six occupations: the professional checkup, the personal coaching and checkup, the developpment of your professional project, the search for informations and contacts, the take-off, the strengthened new activity. All these aspects of your job hunting or your activity creation may be largely improved by the use of the telework tools. We'll limit ourself to the period just after you have been dismissed. We'll indicate how the fax and the e-mail are able to prepare, to complete or to replace the face-to-face dialog between a "candidate" and his "consultant".

Let's consider the most classical and favourable situation: the outplacement for managers.

* The outplacement for managers

Merger or donwnsizing, a company dismisses a skilled and efficient manager. In memory of the given services and in order to preserve her image, the entreprise offers the services of an outplacement cabinet. At this moment, the manager has no more contact with his previous entreprise. He works with a consultant. This last reports to the company upon the results of the method, not from an individual point of view, but in terms of outplacement ratio and of average "time to new job". Generally, the outplacer don't propose a new carreer to his candidate. A few cabinets try to be intermediaries between the dismissing companies and the recruiting ones. Most of the consultants give a methodologic coaching, an animation for workshops and a logistic support. The dismissed remains the actor of his own progress.

The logistic support is very appreciated. As a meeting place with other candidates, the outplacement office avoids loneliness. He gives a tempo, rated by many meetings. In an "open space" or in an individual box, a desk makes easier the mail writing and the phone search for contacts. With a lot of papers, envelopes and a personal phone, the candidate works as usual. He is not disturbed by his childrens playing or looking at the TV. His attitude while dialing is more professional than when he is sat in his armchair. The photocopieuse, the fax device, the journals, the professional phone books, the minitel, the word processing and the CD-Rom Kompass reduce his expenses and his travels. The hostess, the secretaries and the assistants, in the office, give answers to his questions, send his mail, give an help for the resumes and other documents, receive the phone communications with a touch of professionalism which improves his image as a manager.

In the first stage, the face-to-face interviews between the candidate and his coach, or consultant, are numerous. Two or three times a week they converse up, establishing a relation of confidence and a state of the situation. A longer interview brings together the candidate, his consultant and a psycho-graphologist (especially in France). Prepared by some simple psychological tests and a deep graphologic analysis, this important interview is recorded with a tape recorder and the candidate takes away the precious tape. The neutral look of an experienced professional gives to the dismissed a more objective vision of himself. Under the circumstances this photography may to stop a loop of questions or to call into salutary question some attitudes and some behaviors.

The frequency of the interviews is reduced when the candidate, having a motivating projet, begins to meet his colleagues and turns his mind toward the market.

A lot of workshops bring together some candidates who want to improve such-or-such aspect of their approach with the methodological support of a specialized coach. In the workshop "resume", thanks to the echo given by the others, each candidate becomes aware of the effect of his resume (C.V.). In the workshop "appearance", a video camera and a videorecorder allow to simulate recruiting interviews and have them analyzed. It will be the same with the "phone contact", the "first minutes of an interview", the "discours of the self anouncement", the "way to gather a network of connections", the "knowledge of the image" he gives about himself, the way "to drive an interview", etc. These topics give an occasion for making connections and for comparing projects. Each candidate may broadcast an information who don't fit his project, he makes his profit with the knowledges and the advices of his colleagues.

* The avantages given by a desk

The logistic given by the outplacement office corresponds to the concept of "bureau de voisinage" (vicinity telecentre) proposed by the "Conseil Régional d'Ile-de-France". The TV armchair and the kitchen table are not sufficient to create professional behaviour, attitudes and state of mind. For every candidate whose situation, apartment and family equipment don't allow the installation of a full-time desk, the office of the outplacement company is a kind of vicinity telecentre. The day after day contact, with other people who are searching, is stimulating. While exchanging some services, these misfortune conpanions become quickly actual colleagues. Far from his slippers, each of them makes an effort for appearance, energy and politeness. An emulation is possible. Against the demotivated soleliness, the shared office is a parapet. In the first stage of the professional and personal checkup, the numerous meetings with the coach force the candidate to get up, to get dressed and to move.

In the continuation, the candidate will become more nomad. He will take a lot of rendez-vous. Most of them will be far from his district. Then, if he don't want to have his agenda and his energy eaten up by the transportation, he will need a mobil desk. All the more so since the nomad stage tends to get longer and longer.

* The limits of the time devoted to the dialog

To what occupation do the candidate and his coach (consultant) spend their time during their many meetings for the checkup ? The length of this fundamental period depends on the traumatism suffered and the depth of the considered redeployment. If the loose of a job is difficult for everybody, all the skills are not in the same context. Some dismissed people have just to look for an new employer resembling to the previous. For some others, a supplementary training is necessary. At last, for some others, they have to change their profession or even to invent a new one. An important redeployment requires a deep checkup.

The candidate must have a clear consciousness of his skills and his abilities. He draws a list with his professional and personal advantages. His coach invites him to remember the sucess whose he's the proudest. They try to discover the factors having worked towards this result. Some belong to him, some others belong to the environment. What he was used to do with pleasure, skills and sucess, ten or twenty years ago, is he always willing and able to do that? Does this actually correspond to his aspirations ? His skills and his motivation have they been reinforced by the success or become blunt by the repetition ?

Symetrically, he analises the professional or relational situations in wich he met some difficulties. What kind of works are not really good for him? Don't he have better to leave them or to delegate somebody to do them ? What's his core of skill ? Where's the major axis of his motivation ? Finally, is he a specialist or a generalist ? Does he feel nomad or sedentary, an explorator or a builder ?

By his being listening to the candidate as much as by his questions, giving birth to the ideas as Socrates did, the consultant gives an help to the candidate to draw the list of what he wants to realize and what he will no more suffer to do. Of course, all these will have to be confronted with the market opportunities and the rising activities. But the most important is that the candidate knows what have made him living up to this date and what is motivating him for the time to come. The best consultants insist particularly on the depth and the sincerity of this checkup. Of course, one have to hurry up. For being a growing activity, unemployment is not an occupation having a future. But, in order to find a job or to create a new activity, you have to mobilize another kind of energy than to carry it on. You don't have the inertia of a well run in organization.

Every thing has to be invented again. You have even to be warry with the routine of the job hunting. Small advertisement, application for a job, research for informations, phone contacts, interviews may become a deceptive daily life. The candidate have to perceive the signals which indicate that he is on a bad road while running on the road that everybody feels good for him. The fear and the impatience are powerful energies. But what wrong counsellors they are! The actions which reassure his entourage may elude the candidate about his own desire.

You have understood that the candidate and the consultant are not idle during their interviews. The consultant, doing a difficult profession, has very long working days. Stakhanovist of the face-to-face dialog, he has little time to change his mind. But it's possible to alternate the interviews, the reading and the writing activities. Changing his tool is yet a leasure. All the more so since the candidate, in order to improve his image, seriously needs to master the word processing and the communication tools.

* The interest of writing

A priori, the discussion does not need writing. But the words do by, while the writings stay. "Verba passint, scripta manint". The coach heards many candidates. His memory is not necessary faithful and encyclopedic. In order to avoid transforming the interviews into repetitions, he has to take a lot of notes and to read them from time to time. He'll avoid this writing activity, disrupting his listening, if the candidate writes the summary of his speech. Some pieces of writing arn't legible. All the writings require an adaptation for the reader. The meeting will be more useful if the candidate comes with a typed document and gives a copy to his consultant.

The candidate is able to write his intervention because the topic was planed with his consultant. He has a list of documents to be filled. This list is designed for a progress. A written document is one half of an interview. Without time constraints to arrange to meet, the consultant may read the document at any moment when he has some minutes. All the time spent by the writer is saved for the reader. And the quality of the checkup is improved.

Thanks to an asynchronous communication, the documents go and return at the best rate, for the most busy person: the consultant. Saving his time is the best way to save the money of his candidates!

* Conclusion

The use of fax and e-mail for an asynchronous communication between the candidate and his coach is a way to improve the quality of the checkup and to reduce the cost of this useful activity.

On the same principle many activities involved in the job hunting may be improved and inspired with energy thanks to e-mail. It's the reason why we are preparing the creation of a "Network for Remote Activities".

This kind of research in action will explore the ways and the methods for a rising "Information Society".

Hubert. Houdoy

on 17 May 96

* Related topics

Telework and Job Hunting

The Parabole Company

What Causes Unemployment?

* Return to

Network for Remote Activities

French Version

Reproduction interdite
Association R.A.D. - Chez M.Houdoy - 18, rue Raoul Follereau - 42600 Montbrison - FRANCE.
* Fax: 04 77 96 03 09
Mise à jour: 16/07/2003