CHICAGO (CBS) — Starting Tuesday morning, Chicago outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas opens its phone lines to offer free advice to those looking for jobs.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports, for two days, the firm will suspend normal business to take calls from those who are seeking help as they search for work.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports

It is the 26th year the company has opened its hotline. But with the unemployment rate still hovering around 8.5 percent in November, many are still finding it a stubbornly difficult job market.

Chief executive officer John Challenger says he anticipates slow, but steady, improvement in the hiring outlook for 2012. Recent signs point to an easing.

The firm’s 26th annual call-in takes place will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday (Dec. 27 and 28). The telephone number is (312) 422-5010.

For more information, go to the firm’s website.