Issue: February 2007 issue
CareerCurve uses a coaching method to update traditional outplacement and career-transition services.
If finding a new job were a professional sport, Pattie Wagoner would be the head coach. As president of CareerCurve in Gates Mills, Wagoner and her nationwide staff offer career-transition services with a personal touch.
“In general, what we have come up with is a unique approach to the outplacement industry,” says Wagoner. She and her investors, Scott and Jeff DePerro, began looking at the outplacement industry in 2003 and realized a need for improvements.
They found that the traditional model used when someone lost their job had remained stagnant over the past 30 years. So after initial research, Wagoner, who has a background in human resources, launched CareerCurve in November 2005.
“It was a patient-doctor relationship instead of coaching,” says Wagoner. “The traditional model was you would drive to an outplacement office and someone would type up your résumé.”
So Wagoner decided to update outplacement services. “Our model emphasizes the key component, which we think is coaching,” she says. A team of coaches works with individuals who have lost their jobs through every aspect of the job search — from résumé writing to marketing themselves to networking.
Wagoner contracts with companies working in all industries, from manufacturing to executives. Often, she and her staff are on-site when a downsizing occurs. “We’re making sure everything moves smoothly for both the outgoing employees and the employees staying,” she says. “Often times we can help with the entire process — communication, notification, working with the people who are left.”
An HR director for a biotech company in Northeast Ohio was looking for specific qualities in an outplacement firm when she hired CareerCurve. “We wanted them on-site when needed,” says the director. “We wanted them to offer a safe place to talk and we also wanted them to offer something immediately in finding [the employee’s] next place.”
Wagoner and her team also help place people whose spouses are relocating to Cleveland for a job. The HR director has found this service helpful. “Spousal assistance is a really positive outplacement that a lot of people don’t think about and a lot of people don’t use because both people have to buy into it when you are relocating.”
While many outplacement, or career-transition, programs are based on a set time frame, CareerCurve works with clients for up to a year. “We are very much committed to sticking with these individuals until they’ve found a match,” says Wagoner. “They are not just finding another job, they are trying to find a good match.”
That commitment entails pairing a job seeker with a coach who acts as a sherpa of sorts to find the right job. “We’re really with them every step of the way,” says Wagoner. “We even follow up after placement to make sure the transition is smooth.” And Wagoner’s coaches ensure interview thank you notes are properly written.
One of the job search aspects that Wagoner focuses on is the fact that many job seekers may not be familiar with current search methods. The Internet and job databases are a long way from the traditional newspaper want ads.
“We work with some people who maybe have been in the same job for 20 or 30 years, and then through no fault of their own, all of the sudden find themselves having to look for a position,” she says. “It’s a frightening time for them. Then I get a thank you note saying, ‘That was one of the hardest parts of my life,' and I find that very rewarding to be part of the process in helping them cross over that bridge.”
Looking ahead, Wagoner wants to continue to develop her business model. “We really feel we understand the need of transition,” she says. “Our hopes for the future are to continue to do what we are doing and do it well. And to keep getting phone calls and e-mails from candidates who let me know how they’re doing.”
This record has been viewed 481