recruitDC Skilled, Trained and Ready to Fight for Our JobsAt the May 23, 2012 recruitDC, the closing keynote presentation focused on military hiring. The basicpremise being that each recruiter can take an active role in hiring veterans for their company’s bymaking a time investment in establishing and maintaining key relationships with the military community.On the panel were three recruiters who come from different perspectives to military hiring: one aveteran, one from a large company who stood up a full program and one from a small company who didall the aspects of the program herself.Here are the full interviews of each of the panel members.Chrissa DockendorfTalent Specialist, ICS, inc.Chrissa’s LinkedIn ProfileKey Points: • Being committed to the program – understanding what it is like in their shoes, and how to leverage their skills • Leveraging Free Resources • Personal connection and commitment to the veteran communityHow did you train yourself on helping veterans?Chrissa felt she needed to familiarize her with what transition was like for the military personnel. Shetook the time, and recommends that others do so as well, to truly understand what the transition is likefor military personnel. What they do and what they need from you, not what you need from them.She knew she needed to learn military speak, so she took a took a veteran’s resume to internalcolleagues and asked them to walk her through the steps of what the resume meant and what it tookthe veteran to get there. The veterans within her company were able to provide a foundation to whatmilitary speak was and the transition for many veterans, but most had transitioned out 10 years priorand she needed to get a more up to date ground intel so she contacted and got to know many of theTAP managers in the area.She also looked at key big positions that she knew that she would be recruiting for and went to one ofthe many military skills translators and vetted out what these jobs were all about. She also took themilitary jobs and converted them into civilian jobs to better familiarize herself with the job descriptionsand skill sets. She wanted to take this a step farther and enrolled in the Wounded Warrior MentorProgram at Fort Meade. Her mentor is a Jim Dittbrenner.
How do you maintain your veteran talent pipeline?Chrissa uses a lot of free resources to maintain her veteran talent pipeline such as LinkedIn groups. Inthe LinkedIn groups does a lot more than just post her jobs. She asks questions in the groups of theveterans such as what are their needs during transition and providing answers about job search. Shealso finds and connects with people who are doing military hiring, and learning from them. Bydeveloping key connections, other people committed to veteran hiring will help you with referrals andsharing your postings.Chrissa does participate in the TAP programs, but like many feel that the system is broken You need tobuild the relationships with the TAP managers and ask them what they need. Chrissa has made sure thatshe has met with many of the TAP managers and ask how you can help them.There are also many free veteran hiring events from organizations around the country as well as hiringevents for Military Spouses. For many of these events you have to exchange resume review or careercoaching for being part of the event. Others are just free events. Some groups are MOAA, CorporateGray. The key to these events is providing face to face connection with the veterans so that you canhelp them and it also supports your talent pipeline as they will remember you and your company.Chrissa set up a Skype account when faced with sourcing and recruiting veterans for an overseasassignment. She now keeps the account to allow her to chat with veterans who are overseas but havequestions for her.Chrissa knows that she needs to keep the face to face as part of her talent acquisition as she competeswith many of the larger companies and they are known to the veterans. By having the personal touch,they remember her and her company and that she helped her. This is how she can stay competitive andmaintains her talent pipeline. This is also part of her employer branding because many of the folks shehas helped bring her referrals. Word of mouth is very valuable in the veteran community.OnboardingChrissa firmly believes in onboarding or some kind of mentoring program but her company didn’t this,so she did much of it herself. In addition she became the veteran and military advocate within thecompany by doing care packages from her company and asked veterans if they wanted to pitch in aswell as sending thank you notes to the veterans on Veterans Day.
Mike BruniStaffing Manager ( Capture Staffing, Sourcing & Veteran Outreach) ISRSAICMike Bruni’s LinkedIn ProfileKeypoints: • Making the “time” or commitment to hire veterans • Building a network of organizations you work with • Onboarding and mentoringWhat is the time to hire?In the defense contract community, the time to hire is typically 30- 90 days but the networking shouldstart earlier. Some of the candidates are ready to be in the talent pipeline right away at their separationbut others need work on the resume etc.Do you have to do education upstream?Yes there is a lot of education that needs to be done upstream to upper management on the value ofhiring a veteran, or to the hiring managers who are not familiar with interviewing a veteran. The mainpoint of the education is to understand that this is a very valuable pipeline of talent that once we investin it, it will provide us with high quality candidates.What are the military skills translators that you use?For the defense contract community this is an easy translation because we hire for so many of the samejobs that the military personnel are currently doing. In the commercial world, the translation of skillsgoes to the more intrinsic skills such as leadership, management, program management, getting the jobdone.It is part of the recruiter’s jobs to educate the military candidates on how to translate their resume tothe position that they are hiring for; this is part of being proactive. There are online tools available at VAor DOL.What is the most effective way you have found to recruit veterans? It is from Military Networking andthis takes time, but I don’t want to hear that you don’t have time. As recruiters you need to step awayand look at the big pictures. This is a commitment and investment that will reap rewards in yourqualified talent pipeline. Be proactive to be successful.How do you find veterans for your talent pipeline?Mike is proactive in getting into the pipeline that works for him – TAP, job fairs, events.Why Stand Up a Military Hiring Program? (Why did SAIC do it?)
There was a need for one external message, one coordination of events, and campaigns with theexternal facing, one conduit with the military community and this is still a program in process. It is alsoimportant to look at partnering with your competitors and organizations to get the word out and toremember that this is about the veterans.Do you have to do onboarding?You can have a mentor or buddy program and you should always ask the candidate if they would likethis. Your program should connect with a vet inside the company and if you don’t have this, it should bethe recruiter. If you are standing up a wounded warrior program be sure that there is the commitmentof both your HR and management to handle the extras like loud noises, scheduling for therapy, affectsof medications.
Brenden WrightDirector of Information Technology Recruiting, Laureate InternationalBrenden Wright’s LinkedIn ProfileKeypoints: • Company commitment to military hiring • Understanding the value of the military veteran in terms of maturity, leadership, management capabilities rather than the comparison to college educated civilians • OnboardingCompany Commitment to Military HiringThere needs to be a commitment by the company from the top down that hiring military personnel isgoing to add value to the company. The company needs to embrace people with military experience andthat they have value beyond just their skill set that they bring. Veterans bring experience, dedication,loyalty and these are not going to translate on a resume per se.Many recruiters and human resource managers are ignorant of what military personnel are capable ofdoing. Many military personnel are dismissed because they don’t’ have a college education and yetmuch of the skills that they bring make them far more experienced than those with a college education.Most 24 year olds coming out of college don’t have the same leadership and management skills assomeone the same age coming out of the military. The years of experience for those in the military don’ttranslate well to the civilian world when you realize that they average military work week is 80 hoursrather than 40. When Brenden was 18 he was responsible for 3 guys; not just the work load but theirwhole life. Many managers do not understand the type of work commitment and responsibility thatmilitary personnel are accustomed to. For a veteran, it is not about the money but to be part ofsomething, a community that values them and that they can return this value.Many organizations do not have the bandwidth to handle a military hiring program because they don’thave the commitment from senior management or the willingness to invest in training and mentoring.This has to start with the recruiter believing in the process and advocate why are you not hiring theveteran.Translating Resumes to the Civilian WorldWhose responsibility is it to translate the resume? Recruiter? Candidate? It is actually both. To bridgethe gap both the recruiters and the candidate need to be able to understand the skills and how theyapply to both worlds. For the recruiter this means using the wide variety of resources out there. Mostrecruiters and hiring managers are not veterans so they don’t know that most of what a military resumemeans. Most won’t take the time to educate themselves and to translate what these skills will mean in
the commercial world. The recruiter needs to meet the military candidate half way. The organizationneeds to embrace the entire concept of military hiring not just the recruiter.As it is a responsibility to educate the internal staff and the hiring managers on the value the veteranbrings to the company’s positions. Be the advocate and articulate how the skills the veteran brings canapply to the position because many times the hiring manager does not know what they are looking at.OnboardingBrenden’s own experience of a very bad onboarding experience drives home for him that onboardingand continuous mentoring is very important to the success of a military hiring program. A companyshould at least match an incoming veteran up with another veteran in the company or at least someoneto ask questions during the first year of employment. The military provides this for the veteran, soshould the commercial community. This is important not only for understanding the new workresponsibilities but also the culture as the veteran is very institutionalized in the military community andthe nuances of social interaction within your company needed to be explained.Every company deals with retention risks. If you embark on a military hiring program, you need to makesure you at least have a buddy system, if you can’t do that, then you the recruiter has a responsibility tocheck in with your candidate in their new position; to not expect challenges in naïve.How do you find military talent?Brenden’s company has used services that provide military hiring events for key positions and whenthey attend these they make sure it is not the human resources people attending but those that actuallydo the job that they are recruiting for. This provides a real connection for the military candidate.There are many LinkedIn groups for the different branches of the military as well as key skills set areas.There are many LinkedIn groups that are set up by service members’ themselves. Also be part of theTAP programs and opportunities to speak to military personnel because your average enlisted or E4Marine is not going to be on LinkedIn.Identifying internal veterans who can be referrals and sources so that you can leverage your referralprograms and working with the veterans that are inside your own company.Once you get the momentum going, take your military veterans to the job fairs, not the recruitingteams.