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A Resource for Regarding, Recruiting and Retaining 
Military Service Members 
According to the September 2012 employment situation summary from the Bureau of Labor 
Statistics, the unemplo...
4 | State of the Veteran Workforce 
6 | The Value of a Veteran™ Guide by Lisa Rosser 
7 | Why Veterans ...
Our Nation’s 
e Who, the What 
and the Where 
(And Why You Should Hire em) 
With their military background, exte...
The Value of a Veteran™: The Guide to Regarding, 
Recruiting, and Retaining Military Veterans 
This guide is designed for ...
Why Veterans Make Excellent Hires 
The men and women who serve their country and are successful in their military ...
Why Hiring Veterans Makes Good Business Sense 
Making a conscious decision to target veterans in your hiring plan is more ...
You can reduce the cost and processing time of security clearances. 
If your company’s business requires employees with a ...
Hire recruiters who have experience in placing veterans. 
Recruiters who have experience with placing military candidates ...
Apply for formal recognition as an employer who is supportive of the military. 
Some organizations require you to sign a p...
Add a link to short video clips or spotlight profiles of current veteran employees. 
Hearing firsthand from a veteran empl...
Note any awards or acknowledgements you’ve received from external organizations 
(such as G.I. Jobs or the Department of D...
Post jobs with the Service Academy alumni associations. 
These companies host career fairs in several locations across the...
Recruiting Disabled Veterans 
The number of young veterans with service-connected disabilities is rising, and the losses t...
Create a formal integration program (i.e., sponsorship). 
Making the transition from military to civilian work life can be...
About the Author 
Lisa Rosser is on a mission to help organizations improve their veteran recruiting and 
retention progra...
a Military Resume 
Military servicemen and women never have to fill out a resume, never have to explain what ...
Enlisted members make up about 75 percent of the military. These members typically join the 
military right out of high sc...
Employers can use this “cheat sheet” to get a good picture of where their military candidates 
might fit into their organi...
Five Ways to Attract 
Veterans Through Your 
Job Posting Descriptions 
How can you use military intelligence to write bett...
Five common themes resonate with most military veterans. Here’s how civilian employers 
can use them to better attract mil...
Dos and Don’ts of Interviewing 
Military Candidates 
Recruiters and hiring managers should already know that any question ...
About CareerBuilder® 
CareerBuilder is the global leader in human capital solutions, helping companies target and attract ...
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Mission Critical: Veteran Hiring Guide


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Dissatisfied with higher than average unemployment rate for military service members, the goal of this project was to reach both clients and prospects, educating employers and creating awareness around the benefits of hiring U.S. veterans.

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Mission Critical: Veteran Hiring Guide

  1. 1. Mission-Critical Recruitment A Resource for Regarding, Recruiting and Retaining Military Service Members INCLUDINGTHEVALUEOFAVETERAN™GUIDEBYLISAROSSER
  2. 2. Greetings, According to the September 2012 employment situation summary from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for veterans who served from September 2001 to present was 9.7 percent. While the rate has greatly decreased from 11.7 percent a year prior, it’s still a couple of points higher than the national unemployment rate. A separate BLS study released in March 2012 also found that 18 to 24-year-old male veterans who served during the same period had an unemployment rate of 29.1 percent, illustrating the challenges many veterans encounter as they transition to the civilian workforce. Additionally, according to, more than 1 million service members are projected to leave the military between 2011 and 2016. As a leader in talent acquisition, CareerBuilder is in a unique position to help. Not only are we experts at helping candidates find positions in which to maximize their potential, but we also specialize in matching people to businesses ready to grow. We are proud to partner with business of all sizes, empowering them to perform better by attracting top-notch talent. We’re most gratified when we successfully link eager candidates with the job of their dreams. And as more and more U.S. veterans transition back into the civilian workforce, we will remain focused on helping them — and their employers — maximize their potential. Maximizing Employer and Veteran Potential: CareerBuilder’s Involvement American Freedom Foundation Inc.: The American Freedom Foundation provides grants to organizations that support veterans, including those related to employment. The foundation has a special focus on aiding wounded or disabled veterans and their families, as well as the children of those killed in action. CareerBuilder partners with the American Freedom Foundation to host free hiring events. In an exclusive QA, CareerBuilder’s director of federal civilian solutions, Jen Fritz, and SMA Jack Tilly and Ted Hacker, co-founders of the AFF, discuss the mutual benefits of hiring military veterans and share recruitment tips for bringing veterans into the workforce. Learn more at: America Wants You: America Wants You brings together the private sector and corporate America to find job opportunities for men and women who have served in the U.S. military. CareerBuilder powers the job-search engine, which is free for both veterans and companies. More than 50,000 jobs are available in a variety of fields at companies across the U.S. Learn more at Military Times: Powered by CareerBuilder, the Military Times job site matches employers with veterans looking to return to the workforce. The website provides a variety of resources for veterans, including a job-search engine, a tool for discovering how one’s military skills translate to the civilian world, and career advice. Learn more at Finally, I’d like to thank the following organizations for partnering with CareerBuilder to help us better understand how they successfully attract, engage and retain veterans within their companies: CardinalHealth, Digital Intelligence Systems Corporation (DISYS), Dynamic Research Corporation, Humana, Inc., KForce, WilsonHCG and Zylog Systems Ltd. You will find quotes from leaders within their organization throughout this guide, along with links to their full interviews online. I'd also like to extend thanks to Lisa Rosser, from The Value of a Veteran™, for her tireless support of veterans’ employment issues; her expertise and insight was invaluable in helping to produce this report. Sincerely, Brent Rasmussen President, North America, CareerBuilder
  3. 3. TABLE OF CONTENTS 4 | State of the Veteran Workforce 6 | The Value of a Veteran™ Guide by Lisa Rosser 7 | Why Veterans Make Excellent Hires 8 | Why Hiring Veterans Makes Good Business Sense 9 | Get Your Military Recruiting Strategy in Order 11 | Establish Supportive HR Policies 11 | Customize Your Career Website 13 | Get Your Company Brand in Front of the Military Candidate 15 | Recruiting Disabled Veterans 15 | How to Support Veterans Once You’ve Hired Them 16 | Supporting Mobilized Employees 17 | About the Author 18 | Veteran Recruiting Toolkit 18 | Translating a Military Resume 21 | Five Ways to Attract Veterans Through Your Job Posting Descriptions 23 | Dos and Don’ts of Interviewing Military Candidates 3
  4. 4. Our Nation’s Veterans e Who, the What and the Where (And Why You Should Hire em) With their military background, extensive training, specialized skills and breadth of experience, veterans bring many unique elements to the workforce. As President Obama has said when referring to veterans’ wide range of skills, “is is exactly the kind of leadership and responsibility that every American business should be competing to attract.” While many employers recognize the unique value military experience can bring, they don’t always understand how military skills translate into civilian jobs. Let’s take a closer look at who our nation’s veterans are, where they can be found, and what challenges they’re facing right now. A Snapshot of Today’s Veterans ere are 21.8 million veterans in the United States. Male Veterans 20.2 million Female Veterans 1.6 million Breakdown by Race Ethnicity* reporting a single race White alone not Hispanic or Latino Hispanic or Latino Black Asian American Indian or Alaska Native Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 17.5 million 2.4 million 1.2 million 265,000 157,000 28,000 Cities With The Most Veterans Underemployment and Overqualification Employment situation for veterans who served from 2001 to 2012: The current unemployment rate is 29.1% 9.7% down from 11.7% a year before. 56% 46% 46 percent think they are overqualified for their current job. Veterans’ Biggest Challenges in Finding Work Finding a work environment in which they feel comfortable. Knowing what kind of jobs to apply for. Getting people to understand how their military experience translates to civilian work. Knowing where to begin, including how to write a résumé and where to look for a job. 11 2 3 4 Industries Leading the Way The unemployment rate for 18 to 24-year-old male veterans is 29.1 percent, illustrating the challenges many veterans encounter as they transition to the civilian workforce. 56 percent of the veterans who returned from service over the past two years said they are currently employed full time. How Veterans View Themselves as Workers I can think on my feet I work well on a team I have experience dealing with conflict effectively I have technology training I trust leaders/superiors I have exp. working/serving in other countries 48% In the Green *covers only those 2244%% 2200..99%% 2288..99%% Clarksville, TN Killeen, TX Fayeeville, NC 2222..11%% Hampton, VA Jacksonville, NC 2222..66%% 22m 11..66m 11..66m States with more than 1 Million Veterans A Long History of Service Of the 21.8 million veterans in the United States, more than 1.3 million served in multiple wars. Veterans of 2 Wars 837,000 served during Gulf I Gulf II 211,000 served during Korea Vietnam 147,000 served during WWII Korea Veterans of 3 Wars 49,500 served during Vietnam, Gulf I Gulf II 54,000 served during WWII, Korea Vietnam 87% 83% 73% 65% 58% Veterans own 9% of all U.S. Businesses. Veterans’ annual income is about $10,000 higher than that of the average American.* $35,367 Median income of Veterans $24,521 Median income of NON-Veterans $25,605 Median income of total U.S. pop. * Median income refers to those who are 18 years and over with income in the past 12 months. Income includes not only wages and self-employment, but also Social Security, retirement pensions, VA payments, and other forms of income. $1.2 trillion The amount of money in receipts generated by these businesses $5.8 million people employed by veteran-owned businesses % of the employed 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% Public admin Transportation, warehousing, utilities Manufacturing Retail Professional, scientific mgmt, admin, waste mgmt Education, health care, social assistance Arts, entertainment, accomodation, food, recreation Veterans Non-veterans SOURCES: 1. American Community Survey, 2010 | 2. Economic Census (Survey of Business Owners), 2007 | 3. Employment Situation Summary from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, September 2012 : | 4. Employment Situation of Veterans, 2011: | 5. CareerBuilder nationwide study, June 2012
  5. 5. The Value of a Veteran™: The Guide to Regarding, Recruiting, and Retaining Military Veterans This guide is designed for Human Resource professionals who want to speed their search for trained, reliable talent by jump-starting a new military recruiting and retention program or improving an existing one. This guide provides 74 ideas for regarding, recruiting, and retaining military service members. In the “Regard” section, you’ll learn the value that veterans bring to an organization and how to make the business case to target veterans part of your overall human capital management strategy. The “Recruit” section covers ideas for developing a military-focused recruiting strategy and offers suggestions for creating “military-friendly” HR policies. It details ways to customize your company’s career website to appeal to a military audience and helps you learn where to and how to quickly find a wealth of candidates, including disabled veterans. The “Retain” section covers how to ease your new hire’s transition to a civilian work culture and how to support your mobilized employees and their families. The symbol beside any tip indicates that additional resources are available for download from The Value of a Veteran website. For more information on how to implement the ideas offered in this guide, please contact: Lisa Rosser 2465 Centreville Rd, #J17-252 Herndon, VA 20171 1-877-681-9960 (voice and fax) © 2012 Lisa Rosser. All rights reserved. 6
  6. 6. REGARD Why Veterans Make Excellent Hires The men and women who serve their country and are successful in their military careers exhibit certain skills and traits that are also highly desired in the civilian workplace. Interestingly, characteristics not usually found in adults under the age of 30 are quite common in veterans in their early twenties. Focused on mission accomplishment. Service members spend their entire military career being assessed on whether they can complete the mission. The guidance they receive may not always be clear, the conditions may be less than ideal, and they almost always lack all of the equipment and people they need to do the job perfectly. And, yet—they persevere and succeed. They make do with what they have and look for creative ways to finish what needs to get done. Trained to take initiative. It’s part of the military culture that even those in junior-level positions are empowered to make big decisions. They are encouraged to take reasonable risks. It is hammered home from the day they join the military that they should trust their instincts and their training as both will guide them to the best course of action to take. Adaptable to change. The military lifestyle is the very definition of a “challenging work environment.” There are few other occupations where employees can be told to grab their gear and be somewhere in the world in 18 hours, pack up their family and all their worldly belongings and move for the seventh time in 10 years, or accept a change in mission that keeps them deployed for an extra four months in the desert. Conditioned to managing people. It is not unusual for mid-level enlisted personnel (members with five to seven years of experience) or junior officers (one to three years’ experience) to be responsible for teams of 15-100 people. They are experienced in conducting formal employee performance appraisals, setting personal development goals, managing training needs, and administering on-the-spot counseling in order to reinforce the goals of the organization and improve individual performance. Quick to learn; rapid to adapt. Service members typically change jobs within the military every 9 to 18 months, and there is rarely overlap time or transition time with an incumbent. They are expected to get up to speed quickly on the critical information needed to do their jobs. They “hit the ground running” and within 90 days of starting an assignment appear to others as if they have been working in the position for years. Take accountability seriously. From the wartime ethos of “leave no man behind” to the more routine requirement of signing a hand receipt for $2.5 million worth of equipment, personal accountability is seared into the minds of veterans. Employees with this skill look beyond just what the job description says they are expected to do. They internalize the sense of responsibility for the people, the property and the results entrusted to them. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Military veterans have been through life experiences most people will never face. These experiences, coupled with their ability to commit to a cause and give of themselves are things everyone wants in an employee; someone who knows how to genuinely contribute to an organization.” John Wilson CEO, WilsonHCG Continue reading at 7
  7. 7. Why Hiring Veterans Makes Good Business Sense Making a conscious decision to target veterans in your hiring plan is more than a patriotic gesture. There are a number of financial and compliance reasons and “improve the quality, quantity, and diversity of our pipeline” reasons to hire a veteran. The pipeline is robust. More than 220,000 service members complete their service obligations or retire every year. And, just about all of those transitioning service members will look to the civilian sector for a new job every year. These transitioning service members have anywhere from three to more than 20 years of experience. The workforce is young. The men and women who join the military tend to do so right out of high school or college. A standard enlistment or service obligation runs anywhere from two to eight years. So, those veterans who do not choose to make the military a career tend to be in their mid-to-late twenties when they separate from the military. The typical veteran retiring after 20 years of military service is also young—his or her age at retirement ranges from late 30s to early 40s. That “retiree” still has 20 or more years of follow-on career opportunities to pursue. The talent pool is diverse. At the end of Fiscal Year 2004 (the most recent year reported) the Department of Defense (DoD) employed just under 1.4 million servicemen and women in its active component. Within that population there were more than 20 percent African Americans, almost 10 percent Hispanics, and almost 6 percent other (American Indian, Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, and those of two races). That is a population pool that is roughly 36 percent non-white. There are federal government requirements. If your company has contracts with the federal government you are required to track the number and type of veterans you hire and report that number annually on a Veterans’ Employment Report (VETS-100). Even if you don’t do business with the government, keeping track of these metrics can help you derive information that can be used to execute other tips in this guide. There is a federal tax credit. On November 21, 2011 two new tax credits were signed into law to help get veterans back to work. The Returning Heroes Tax Credit provides businesses that hire unemployed veterans with a maximum credit of $5,600 per veteran, and the Wounded Warriors Tax Credit offers businesses that hire veterans with service-connected disabilities with a maximum credit of $9,600 per veteran. You can conserve relocation expenses. Service members separating from active duty are entitled to a final free move at government expense. The ideal candidate you find in San Francisco can accept your job offer for a position in New Jersey and have his or her relocation expenses covered by Uncle Sam. 7 8 9 10 11 12 “The military spends a significant amount of time training and developing their people, so veterans’ technology skills are top notch. They also have a broad scope of transferrable skills they bring to the table when they leave the military. I’ll give you an example: The people who work in networks and communications within the military have skills that are transferrable outside because they’ve got their A+ certifications. They’ve got the CISSP certification. (We call it CISA.) They’ve already got all of the skills necessary, plus they carry a security clearance. These individuals are invaluable to employers on the outside, especially the people who have taken the initiative to get those additional credentials above and beyond what the military trains them for.” Charlie Lufkin Senior Vice President of Human Resources, Dynamic Research Corporation 8
  8. 8. You can reduce the cost and processing time of security clearances. If your company’s business requires employees with a security clearance, you are already painfully aware of the cost involved in obtaining a clearance (the cost is in the thousands for a Top Secret clearance) and the time it takes to process and adjudicate one (average of one year for a Top Secret). Many service members already have a security clearance, and it can usually be transferred to your company once the veteran separates from the military. You can staff hard-to-fill international positions. Many veterans have lived and worked abroad during their military careers, and may be more receptive to your international assignments than the average candidate. Those who served overseas were trained on the local culture. Some may also speak the language. Some military officers have job specialties which require them to become regional experts on a geographic area and the cultures of the people who live there. The candidates are technically skilled. The Department of Defense has over 7,000 military occupational codes representing the different job skills in its workforces. Roughly 81 percent of them are closely related to or identical to civilian positions. The military has mechanics, electricians, civil engineers, database administrators, satellite operators, physical therapists, human resources generalists, lawyers, warehouse managers, pilots, food service workers and financial specialists. The candidates are pre-screened. One of the toughest aspects of recruiting is finding out your ideal candidate did not pass his or her pre-employment background check and/or drug and health screen. New military recruits undergo thorough background checks before being allowed to serve. Veteran’s whose jobs required a security clearance underwent multiple investigative processes to obtain and maintain that clearance. Frequent random drug testing is a fact of life in the military. Complete health physicals are required every five years and dental exams are required annually. You can gain deep industry knowledge of the Department of Defense. For those companies who do a lot of business with the DoD (or would like to do more business with the DoD), having employees with in-depth knowledge of the military and numerous industry and government contacts is invaluable. Veterans speak the DoD language and have an understanding of the needs and challenges of the services. Having veterans on your DoD business development teams or staffed on DoD projects can help your company develop strong relationships. Recruit Get Your Military Recruiting Strategy in Order Companies who have “cracked the code” on finding and hiring quality military candidates know that it requires a customized recruiting plan, a trained support team, and a relevant set of metrics to measure success. Bring in a veteran to assess and advise you on your military recruiting plan. A veteran’s intimate knowledge of the workings of the commercial- and government-run veteran placement programs can save you significant time and effort in determining the most appropriate methods for finding and attracting candidates. 13 14 15 16 17 18 “It’s been very exciting and very heartwarming to see the number of employers who are looking for a way to welcome veterans and enable them to develop careers [outside the military]. I have seen more and more employers trying to figure out how to make it work. The biggest hurdle I’ve seen [within organizations] is not the lack of desire, but the ability accommodate the veterans. I think there’s a misconception that veterans of the armed forces have lost their individuality. From my personal experience, most veterans have a much better global awareness and understanding of their community beyond the local borders. For larger organizations or employers who do business internationally, that’s really a plus.” John Mehrmann CEO, Zylog Systems Ltd Continue reading at: 9
  9. 9. Hire recruiters who have experience in placing veterans. Recruiters who have experience with placing military candidates are better able to translate resumes written in military-speak and can influence hiring managers to consider the resumes. Flag veteran-submitted resumes for focused consideration by your trained team. Consider asking service members to submit their resume using a designated code word (like “military experience”) so it is easier to locate in your recruiting application. Provide an overview of military careers to your recruiting staff and hiring managers. The better they understand and realize the unique capabilities of the military applicant, the easier it will be for them to see how the service member’s knowledge, skills, and aptitudes map to your requirements and business needs. Dedicate a portion of your annual recruiting budget specifically to military recruiting. There are career fairs, job boards (like or, placement firms, and publications (like Military Times) that specifically serve the transitioning veteran. These mediums are the ones that service members tend to utilize first, if not exclusively, when conducting a job hunt. Search your state employment office’s website to find your Local Veteran’s Employment Representative (LVER). LVERs are charged with assisting veterans in finding employment, and can help you with posting job positions. Utilize an online military-to-civilian job translator. This tool can help you decipher occupations listed on a military resume and determine if the candidate has relevant experience for the job under consideration. Establish partnerships with service-run recruiting programs. These programs match employers with initial-entry recruits who agree to study and work in high-demand skills while serving their enlistment. At the end of the enlistment (which can be as few as two years in length), the company gets first dibs to interview the service member and offer him or her a job. Add veteran outreach programs to your greater community service initiative. Your company participates in community relations not just to build goodwill, but to market the company. Partnering/sponsoring veteran outreach programs will gain your company general exposure in the military community and opportunities to “soft-sell” military volunteers and attendees who may be unfamiliar with your organization. Establish an apprenticeship or management trainee program. These types of programs allow you to test drive candidates who show high potential, but who may not have all of the technical or functional skills needed to perform the job. Offer internships as part of a military “Training with Industry” program. These are typically two-year programs offered to active military members, in which they are required to develop special skills that are scarce in the military workforce. The military provides the service member’s normal pay and benefits during the internship. Once the internship ends, the service member returns to the military to apply his or her new knowledge. The win for you is that the service member retains a favorable impression of your company and the role he or she may play in it in the future. 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 Additional resources related to this item are available for download f 10 rom
  10. 10. Apply for formal recognition as an employer who is supportive of the military. Some organizations require you to sign a pledge to offer certain benefits and take certain actions; others have metrics (such as number of veterans hired) that must be met and evaluated. Establish Supportive HR Policies Some policies are required as part of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) of 1994. Other policies are recognized differentiators that get noticed by those who continue to serve in the Guard and Reserve. You’ll want to develop these policies early on so you can market them to the veteran on your website and in other materials. Offer a pay differential to offset any lost wages during active duty service. Certain military salaries lag civilian compensation. An absence for active military service, whether it be it a two-week annual training requirement or a 12-month mobilization, can put your veteran-employee in a financial bind. USERRA does not require employers to offer a pay differential, but many of the top ranked military-friendly employers do. Distinguish between an absence for vacation and an absence for military service. USERRA prohibits companies from forcing an employee to use up his or her vacation time to complete military requirements. Review your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for inclusion of services that support the needs of veteran-employees. Those with service-connected disabilities or who have recently returned from an extended deployment to a war zone may desire to seek out mental health counseling or rehabilitation services. Other appropriate services include stress or anger management counseling, guidance on how to reunite with families, and advice on how to pace their transition to a civilian job. Assume the veteran-employee is unaware your company offers these benefits, and ensure his or her family is made aware of them as well. Customize Your Company Career Website Make it obvious that you are looking for military applicants on your main recruiting website. The service member should be no more than one click away from discovering just how committed your company is to hiring veterans. Place an easy-to-find link on your career home page that directs military candidates to a specific page customized for them. The customized page should contain the types of items listed below. List military-specific career fairs you are attending in the foreseeable future, including any on-base/on-post career fairs. Veterans begin the transition process up to a year prior to separation, and have to balance ongoing work commitments with job hunting activities. Seeing your military recruiting schedule for the next six to 12 months helps them pinpoint available opportunities to meet you. Offer to send text message reminders of your company’s attendance at upcoming military-specific and civilian job fairs. While not every service member has daily access to a computer, almost all of them have a cell phone. A periodic reminder from you, sent a few weeks and then again a few days in advance of an event, can bolster attendance. 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 “In May, 2012 Humana, Inc. pledged to hire 1,000 military veterans and/or their spouses over a three-year period as part of President Obama’s nationwide veterans hiring challenge. One of the key platforms of our strategy is the Veterans Talent Network. We decided to create a separate talent network because the message we want to send to veterans is a little different than the one we would send to civilians. The Veterans Talent Network has allowed us to put more information in their hands. Once we had that tool, we then created a strategy around how we were going to get our message out, and how we were actually going to make the hires.” Kevin Stakelum Talent Acquisition Director Humana, Inc. Continue reading at: 11
  11. 11. Add a link to short video clips or spotlight profiles of current veteran employees. Hearing firsthand from a veteran employee who has made a successful career at your company emphasizes the message that veterans are welcome here and will be treated well. Set up blogs, podcasts, webcasts, or online chats with current employees who are veterans. The ability to communicate and ask questions of current veteran-employees in real time of near real-time can accelerate a viewer’s decision to apply for a position and provide the viewer with insight into the day-to-day activities that may be experienced. Offer a subscription to a customized newsletter. This is your opportunity to communicate general career information and some specifics regarding the work your company does. It also offers you an opportunity to showcase a veteran-employee or mention work your veteran’s affiliation group is doing as part of community outreach. Mention any partnerships you have with service-run recruiting programs, such as the Army’s Partnership for Youth Success (PaYS). This demonstrates you are utilizing varied recruiting tactics and are interested in finding quality candidates from all ranks, not just the more typical junior officer programs. Quote a statistic of how many veterans you hired last year. Even better, compare that statistic to the number you have hired year-to-date if you can show a progressive increase. This communicates seriousness of intent to the potential applicant. Note the percentage of disabled, veteran-owned business enterprises your company employs as part of your supplier diversity program. This signals that you see the value in service members not only as internal employees but as external suppliers. List the military-friendly policies and programs offered by your company, such as a salary differential for mobilized National Guard and Reserve, a veteran affiliation group within the company, or your unique veteran integration process. Potential applicants want to know up front that you understand their unique needs and are committed to supporting them. Provide links to internal and external news sources that highlight your corporate citizenship work conducted on behalf of veterans or that your veteran’s affiliation group has initiated. Simple efforts, such as sending care packages to deployed troops, greeting returning service members at the airport or sponsoring and volunteering with organizations such as the Challenged Athletes Foundation can reap many types of goodwill. Highlight any special job programs you offer for military spouses. Targeting this under-tapped talent pool makes terrific sense for companies that have multiple locations across the U.S. One of the primary frustrations of a military spouse is difficulty in building a career due to the need to constantly change jobs in order to follow the military member to his or her next assignment. Show that you understand the challenge and have a solution that benefits both the military candidate and spouse. 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 12
  12. 12. Note any awards or acknowledgements you’ve received from external organizations (such as G.I. Jobs or the Department of Defense’s Employer Support of the Guard and Reserves) that recognize your support of the military. These organizations publish lists of employers that meet criteria of a “company known to actively support the military.” This information is made available to separating service members as part of standard transition assistance. Provide a resume guide with a link to a military-to-civilian job translator. This helps the applicant focus on creating a resume that translates his or her military occupational code into skills and attributes that are more quickly recognized by civilian employers. Better yet, list the civilian equivalent skills you are currently hiring so the applicant can reverse-translate. Create a game or simulation that allows the veteran to enter his or her general military specialty and/or areas of interest. As the applicant answers your online questions, he/she should start to see some general information about the types of jobs offered at your company that may be a good fit in terms of skills and interest. If you can link these high-level job descriptions to actual job openings in your recruiting software, even better. Link to other websites of interest to the veteran. There are numerous government and commercial websites with a focus on the career needs of transitioning military members. Show your potential applicants that you are conscious of their immediate concerns. Get Your Company Brand in Front of the Military Candidate Your company may be in the Global Fortune 500, but unless you sell consumer products or services or have extensive contracts with the Department of Defense, chances are your company is a big mystery to the military applicant. Your goal is to create company brand awareness within the military community using as many different tactics as you can support. Exhibit at military career fairs. These are hosted by military posts/bases and by companies who specialize in these types of events. These events are the first, and often the only, types of career fairs the transitioning military member attends, so your presence there is vital. Attract military with military by using your veteran-employees as volunteer recruiters at the on-site career events. Veteran-employees can establish rapport quickly with job fair attendees, translate their questions and offer assurances that their skills are relevant and needed in the civilian job market. Ask your veteran-employees to volunteer as military applicant sponsors during the hiring process. Their job is to help your recruiters identify appropriate open positions for the candidates to interview for, and then to work with the hiring managers for those positions to ensure the resume is considered and that the knowledge, skills and attributes are highlighted. These sponsors can even assist with the actual interview process, asking questions using a language that is better understood by the candidate. 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 Additional resources related to this item are available for download from 13
  13. 13. Post jobs with the Service Academy alumni associations. These companies host career fairs in several locations across the U.S., and consolidate attendee resumes. Participating companies are provided access to all the resumes, and can specifically request to interview select attendees during the career fair. Utilize Junior Military Officer (JMO) recruiting firms. JMO recruiting firms specialize in preparing a select group of separating servicemen and women (officers under the age of 29 with college degrees) through resume reviews and interview coaching. They set up interview days and bring in employers with specific open positions. The candidates are pre-screened by JMO account managers and assigned to interview with select employers. JMO placement firms receive a fee from the employer for any candidates placed. Develop a working relationship with your local post/base military transition assistance center. These centers are designed to assist the transitioning service member seeking civilian employment. Some services that benefit the employer are opportunities to exhibit at on post/on base career fairs and the ability to post (at no-cost) local job openings. They can also assist you with distributing these job postings to centers across the U.S., Europe and Asia. Pay a visit to your local post/base education center. Once you communicate which skills and professional certifications are in demand in your organization, the counselors at the education center can identify potential candidates and steer them in the direction of obtaining the needed remaining qualifications. Post your positions on military job boards or with military e-recruiting companies. Military-specific job boards have come of age and some have partnered with big-name job boards (such as CareerBuilder) to offer expected functionalities like profiling, job alerts and push technology. There are even job boards specifically for employers requiring candidates with security clearances. E-recruiting companies work similarly to the JMO recruiting firms, but they do not focus solely on placing junior officers. Military e-recruiters will place veterans of all ranks, as well as their spouses and retirees. Advertise with military-specific news periodicals and Internet sites. These publications have heavy circulation on every base and post, and are well known to service members. The print periodicals also have special editions that focus exclusively on career transitions. Post jobs with military professional associations. Find out their area of focus before you commit: Some associations support only service members of a specific rank; others are specific to occupation. In addition to their job boards, most of these associations offer member-only resume referral services and career fairs. 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 “Transition Assistance Programs (TAPs) are a valuable resource for us. These programs give us access to a large pool of former service members with the unique skill sets needed to support government organizations and defense technologies that require specific security clearances. TAP offices on military bases support the transitioning of service members by providing education and raising awareness. Service members can take advantage of online and in-person seminars and workshops focusing on job search tools, resume writing and interview techniques. We can also take advantage of TAPs by advertising jobs and participating in veteran-focused career fairs, which enable us to identify and select quality talent.” Chris Crace Director National Recruiting Center Kforce (Former Captain, USMC), Kforce Additional resources related to this item are available for download f 14 rom
  14. 14. Recruiting Disabled Veterans The number of young veterans with service-connected disabilities is rising, and the losses they’ve experienced can be compounded by frustration in finding a new, accommodating career. If your company desires to proactively seek out disabled service members, here are some special tips to help you: Highlight the fact that your company is especially accommodating of those with disabilities. Use language such as “career opportunities for military veterans, including those with service-connected disabilities” on your website and in your marketing materials. Contact your state employment office’s website to find your local Disabled Veterans’ Outreach Program (DVOP) representative. DVOPs specialize in helping disabled veterans find civilian jobs and can assist and advise you in finding good candidates. Call your local Veterans Affairs (VA) regional office. The VA has a Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VRE) service which assists disabled service members in undergoing retraining to support their placement with new careers. Check for local veteran services organizations in your area. Many offer job-finding assistance to disabled veterans and can help employers learn more about meeting their needs. Post positions with service or Department of Defense job boards established specifically to assist wounded veterans. These programs have workers who assist you with locating wounded service members, help you determine how to support their needs, and provide you insight as to how to integrate the disabled veteran into your organization. Have your website reviewed for Section 508 compliance. Section 508 refers to a requirement for the federal government to make its electronic and information technology accessible to people with disabilities. Veterans who are visually or aurally impaired are using special readers and devices to assist them in reviewing content on the Web, including job postings and company information. Small adjustments such as increasing the font size on your career page make it easier for them to learn about you. Retain How to Support Veterans Once You’ve Hired Them Most companies have support programs in place for the more recognized diversity communities: women, ethnic minorities and gay/ lesbian/ transgendered. Your veteran population is also a diverse population with specific, and often unique, support needs. Establish a veteran affiliation group. The military has a strong culture, and those who have served form fast and lasting bonds. Provide them a formal group where they can meet those who have made the transition from military to civilian life and have achieved success in your organization. 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 Additional resources related to this item are available for download from 15
  15. 15. Create a formal integration program (i.e., sponsorship). Making the transition from military to civilian work life can be overwhelming, confusing and frustrating. A veteran-employee sponsor can provide advice and encouragement to help the new veteran employee navigate his or her new career. Designate a specific point of contact in your human resources department to serve as an ombudsman. It’s this person’s job to know the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) and your specific company military policies. Your employees who still serve in the Guard or Reserves will have questions regarding your policies and will want to know firsthand how utilizing these benefits will affect their career at your company. Recognize your veteran-employees on Veterans Day and Memorial Day. Celebrate the meaning of these specific holidays in your offices and acknowledge the sacrifices that all veterans and their families have made in service to the country. Arrange for a recognized company leader to send a personal message to each veteran-employee thanking them for their service. Proclaim publicly your company’s support of your veteran employees. Publicly broadcasting your support will be positively interpreted by the veteran-employee, and will create awareness amongst your non-veteran employees. Publicly supporting your female employees, your ethnic minority employees and your gay/ lesbian/transgender employees but remaining silent on your support of veteran-employees sends a conflicting message. Supporting Mobilized Employees Having one job is hard enough. Keeping up with the demands of two jobs can be overwhelming. This feeling is compounded when the part-time second job turns into a full-time job that takes the employee away for an extended period of time, perhaps to a dangerous place. There are ways you can make the absence less stressful for your veteran-employee: Maintain contact. Activated Guard and Reserve members want to know their civilian employers have not forgotten them. Send company news, care packages, photos, and cards and letters from co-workers and your veteran affiliation group. Place physical reminders throughout the workplace to represent the employee who has been mobilized. Ask the employee if he or she is OK with publicly releasing his or her military email address or mailing address so that other employees can send individual cards, letters and care packages. Provide support to the mobilized service member’s family; children in particular. Kids deal with the stress of an extended absence of a parent in many different ways. Ask for volunteers to tutor, cheer them on at Little League, or offer other types of support which the left-behind parent or caregiver agrees to allow you to provide. Welcome publicly your veteran-employee back from mobilization upon completion. Acknowledge companywide the service and hardships veteran-employees endured while being separated from family, loved ones and co-workers. 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 “More than 1,100 CardinalHealth employees have served our country, and many are still on active duty. That’s not counting all those employees who have family members answering the call. In the last 13 months alone, 24 of our staff have been called to serve for an average of 134 days. CardinalHealth is committed to supporting America’s veterans as they reenter the world of work to civilian status . To provide new careers to many of America’s finest and most qualified employees, we also proudly participate in the Employer Partnership of the Armed Forces. And we support our troops through our own Veterans and Military Advocates group, dedicated to giving back to those who give us all so much.” Megan Schiavoni Recruitment Marketing/ Diversity Advisor CardinalHealth 16
  16. 16. About the Author Lisa Rosser is on a mission to help organizations improve their veteran recruiting and retention programs. She is a vocal advocate of hiring veterans to be the solution to poor fit, high turnover, feeble pipelines, and homogeneous succession plans. Lisa helps her clients make the business case for targeting the military, learning which recruiting tactics are most effective, and implementing retention programs that resonate with veterans and make them feel at home in their new environment. Lisa “walks the talk.” Her military career spans several decades, three continents, and four major deployments. The majority of her active military career was focused on the human side of the military— performance management, recruiting, placement, training and skills development. She now leverages that knowledge to help companies improve their recruiting and retention programs for diverse employee populations. Lisa is a consultant, author, speaker, and workshop leader on the topic of “The Value of a Veteran™: The Guide for Human Resource Professionals to Regarding, Recruiting, and Retaining Military Veterans.” For more information on how to implement the ideas offered in this guide, please visit 17
  17. 17. Translating a Military Resume Military servicemen and women never have to fill out a resume, never have to explain what they do, never have to search or apply for a job and never have to prepare for an interview. This is one reason why military candidates have such a hard time showcasing how their military skills and experience transfer to the civilian workforce to potential employers: For many, the job search process as many of us know it is uncharted territory. As an employer, it’s critical that you understand the following two questions: “How do I understand a military person’s skill set so I can translate a resume and know a good candidate when I see one? And more importantly, how can I align the types of jobs my company has with the military’s skill set so I can fill as many roles as possible?” Eighty-one percent of jobs in the military have a very close civilian equivalent (with the other 19 percent — who make up combat forces — in possession of transferrable skills), making the military an abundant source for recruiting quality candidates. The first step to recruiting these candidates is figuring out exactly how a candidate’s military skills transfer to the civilian workforce. Consider the following two approaches to military recruitment: The Reactive Approach to Military Recruiting The reactive approach is used when a hiring manager has a resume and is trying to determine it what it means. For this approach, there are two things employers need to first ask military candidates: “What is your grade?” and “What is your military occupational code?” Question one: “What is your grade?” In the military, every service has grades and ranks. The grades are common and all start with a letter (“O” for officer, “W” for warrant officer or “E” for enlisted), followed by a number (1-10, with 10 being the most senior). While grades are common throughout the four military services, ranks will differ by service. For example, someone with the grade O-4 in one service will get paid the same and do roughly the same level of work as an O-4 in another service (whether they are a marine, naval officer, etc); however, an O-4’s rank will differ by service, as a Major in the Army, Air Force and Marine Corps, but as Lieutenant Commander in the Navy. Looking at it another way, a Captain rank is common to all four military services; however, in the Army, Air Force and Marine Corps, a Captain’s grade is O-3, and in the Navy, it is O-6. (To put it in perspective, that’s a difference of about 12 years of experience and $65,000 worth of salary expectations. Kind of a big deal.) As for the differences between officers, warrant officers and enlisted members: 18 The following information in this toolkit is derived from the training seminars offered by The Value Of a Veteran™. For more information on the training products available for human resources professionals, hiring managers and/or supervisors, please visit
  18. 18. Enlisted members make up about 75 percent of the military. These members typically join the military right out of high school, so while they have a lot of technical expertise, they may not have a bachelor’s degree (they didn’t need one because the military trained them). If you’re looking for the hands-on, very technical, actually-knows-how-to-do-stuff employees, then enlisted members are actually the ones you’re looking for. If the requirement of a degree is what’s preventing you from being able to hire these people, that’s a conversation you need to have with the hiring manager to see if that can be overcome. Officers may not have the same level of expertise enlisted members do, although they typically come out of a college commissioning program, such as West Point, Annapolis or a Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program, so they usually have their college degrees. Officers have a big-picture, project management look at an organization. They might not know how to operate things, but they know what their organizations are capable of. They are the client-facing part of the organization. They’re in charge of making sure the organization is performing efficiently. Warrant Officers are found at higher echelons in the community. They are the subject matter experts, and typically come from the enlisted ranks — with a few exceptions — and are in the technical fields of the military (such as intelligence, telecommunications, logistics, aviation and maintenance). They know the equipment really well and they know how to fix and get the most out of that equipment. They’re also the ones who write some of the policy the organization needs to follow. Below is a breakdown of management experience and education among grade levels here: A breakdown of Supervisory/Managerial Experience and education Attained by Military Grade Level Category Grade Range Years of Military Experience 4-yr College Degree? Supervisory/ Managerial Exp? Junior Officer 01-03 01-02 = 4 years Y Y (40-120 ppl) Mid-Grade Officer 04-06 10-22 years Y Y (750-2000 ppl) Senior Grace Officer 07-010 23+ years Y Y (5000+ ppl) Junior Warrant Officer W01-W02 2-7 years Maybe No* Mid-Grage Warrant Officer W03-W04 8-18 years Likely No* Senior Warrant Officer W05 19+ years Likely No* Junior Enlisted E1-E3 3 years Maybe No Mid-Grade Enlisted E4-E6 4-15 years Maybe Y (5-25 ppl) Senior Enlisted E7-E9 15+ years Likely Y (40-120 ppl) ©2012 The Value of a Veteran (all rights reserved) “Typically, when veterans write their resumes, they write in very technical terms. The problem is, hiring managers don’t take these things like rank or service history into consideration, because those aren’t terms they understand. As a result, their resumes end up falling through the cracks, and employers can miss out on highly qualified candidates.” Crystal Dyer Program Manager, Digital Intelligence Systems Corporation (DISYS) Continue reading at: 19 Veteran Recruiting Toolkit
  19. 19. Employers can use this “cheat sheet” to get a good picture of where their military candidates might fit into their organizations, based on military grade. Question Two: What is Your Military Occupational Code? The military occupation code (MOC) is the all-encompassing title across services. Employers can enter this code in the crosswalk page at O-Net Online, the department of labor’s online occupational handbook, to find out how the MOC translates to the civilian world. This tool will translate the MOC of position title, and the search will return related occupational categories, along with a description of the job, related skills and even the salary. ( also has a free military skills translation tool to show how military skills translate to the civilian world.) Additional resources include:,,, and For those job titles that cannot be found on O-Net Online (such as Commander/Commanding Officer/Platoon Leader, Executive Officer, Platoon Leader and Operations Officer), Wikipedia can also be a great resource for finding out what responsibilities correspond with these positions. Something to Keep in Mind when Reviewing Resumes Salary and compensation can be another source of misunderstanding between military candidates and employers. A military candidate’s most recent W-2 can be an inaccurate indication of what they should be making. The military has an online calculator that enables military candidates to see how much money they should be making. Because this calculator takes into account military workers’ tax-free housing and assistance allowances, free health care and other military-specific benefits, their asking salary may be up to 20 or 30 percent more than their most recent W-2 reflects. When it comes to negotiating salary, make sure you have a number in hand when ready to talk to them, and help them understand that you’re offering benefits beyond base pay (if you are) and what these benefits are worth. The Proactive Approach to Military Recruiting A more strategic approach to military recruiting, the proactive approach is about looking at the jobs you have to fill at your organization, then figuring out if and how military members will fit into these roles. You can use many of the same resources mentioned above to help you to determine the various grades of the military you should be looking at when recruiting for these positions. O-Net, for example, enables you to enter the position for which you’re trying to hire, and from there, it will generate the military equivalent of that position. Get More Out of Your Efforts: Call in for Backup Regardless of the approach you employ, its often best to have either a dedicated military recruiting team — even outsourcing these efforts to a dedicated recruiter who specializes in military recruitment — or making military recruitment everyone’s responsibility. Both methods have shown to work; it’s just a matter of finding the approach that’s right for your organization. When employing either of these methods, enlist the help of your own veteran employees, who can help you and your recruiting team better understand military candidates and how their skills will fit into your organization. Finally, remember that recruiting military candidates is a skill that requires training and dedication. This is something that takes time to learn how to do and you’re not going to get this overnight. 20
  20. 20. Five Ways to Attract Veterans Through Your Job Posting Descriptions How can you use military intelligence to write better job descriptions — and more successfully recruit veterans seeking a civilian job at your company? Military recruiting: A lofty goal While many companies think their recruiting goals are lofty, the total 2012 recruiting goal for all divisions of Army, Air Force, Marines, and Navy was 267,405 recruits. Obviously, with so many people to recruit each year in many different divisions, the military has learned very strong recruitment tactics along the way. There are many common recruiting themes throughout the military, and civilian employers can use many of these same tactics to attract veterans once they start looking to join the civilian workforce. The military transition timeline Though some civilian workers are very prepared when it comes to job hunting, those in the military generally have a much different timeline than the average worker; military veterans begin their transition process up to a year (or more) in advance of separation. A year (or more) before leaving the military, someone will likely submit a request to separate and begin developing a transition plan, and then six months prior to leaving the military will begin preparing a resume. Four months before completing the transition to civilian life, he or she will likely start applying for positions and completing any certifications or training needed for a desired line of work. As an employer who wants to attract veterans, it’s important to keep this mentality in mind. You should be equally as prepared on the recruitment side, projecting your needs out for the future year and starting to foster relationships with candidates who will be very hireable after a set period of time. By building your talent pipeline now, you’re more likely to attract military workers who are seeking a civilian job and will be able to align your needs with theirs once you are ready to hire. Continued on next page 21 Veteran Recruiting Toolkit
  21. 21. Five common themes resonate with most military veterans. Here’s how civilian employers can use them to better attract military veterans to their open jobs through their job descriptions (as well as their other hiring methods): Military recruitment theme No. 1 You’ll be part of an elite group. Civilian translation: Think in the mindset of, “We’re looking for the best and brightest” and “not everyone is cut out to do this work.” What does your company excel in, and how can you promote what you do better than anyone else in your recruitment strategy? Less than 1 percent of the U.S. population has ever served in the military — it’s quite an elite group itself. Military recruitment theme No. 2 You’ll find challenging work. Civilian translation: Stress to potential employees that they will experience cutting-edge technology and/or research and development opportunities. Does every day bring new challenges and new problems to solve, and get employees excited about what will be created or developed next? Advertise those aspects of the job. You’ll receive training/gain skills that will improve your career. Military recruitment theme No. 3 Civilian translation: Do you have management training programs, invest thousands of dollars a year for employee training, or offer tuition reimbursement? Promote those benefits that military vets can use to continue furthering their career. When many veterans leave the military, they get the impression they’ll be trained in different realms – and often find out that’s not the case. Employers expect them to just “know” many skills coming in — but in the military, they’re always learning new skills (and they’re a quick study), so keep that in mind. Your work will have an impact on others. Military recruitment theme No. 4 Civilian translation: Informing a military veteran that, “The equipment you build will save lives,” or “the security you provide lets people sleep at night,” or “you’ll help businesses operate more efficiently” is key here. It’s important to relay that what they will be doing at your company matters, and will make a difference in people’s lives. Military recruitment theme No. 5 You’ll experience great camaraderie. Civilian translation: Do you have great teams, a strong sense of community, and a family atmosphere? Let candidates know whether they can expect these types of things from your work culture. Consider starting a veteran employee resource group, if you don’t already have one. How else are you prepared to help military veterans make the transition to your organization? 22
  22. 22. Dos and Don’ts of Interviewing Military Candidates Recruiters and hiring managers should already know that any question that asks a candidate to reveal information about his or her national origin, citizenship, age, marital status, disabilities, arrest and conviction record, military discharges, or personal information is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. And interviewing a military candidate or veterans is no different. But while avoiding these subjects sounds easy enough, it’s not always glaringly obvious what questions might be construed as inappropriate — even when they seem harmless on the surface. Questions relevant to experience or training received while in the military, or to determine eligibility for any veteran’s preference required by law, are acceptable. Below are the dos and don’ts of interviewing military candidates — while still getting the information you’re looking for. DO have a dedicated military recruiting team or train everyone on your existing team with the skills they need to interpret military resumes. DO utilize your current military employees. Enlist their help with interpreting military resumes. If you do not have military employees, consider outsourcing these efforts to a dedicated recruiting expert who specializes in military recruitment. DO ask candidates if they’ve ever served in the military. This is a question that’s okay to ask up front, at the point of application. While military members do not have to self-identify, they may choose to. JP Morgan Chase asks, at the point of application, do you currently serve in the military or have you ever served in the military? they are flagged so they have a fair shot of being seen by someone who can read a military resume. Also know that military members do not have to disclose whether or not they have a disability and/or what the disability is. DO NOT ask any questions along the lines of… …“Will you be called in to go back if you’re in the reserve or national guard?” You cannot discriminate against guard and reserve workers simply because they might get deployed at some point. (This is the military equivalent of asking a woman if she’s pregnant.) …“What was your combat experience like?” If you can tell they’ve served in a combat zone, you cannot ask (even you’re just curious), what it was like — even if it is just out of curiosity. Military candidates could easily interpret this question as a way to figure out if they have a disability. …”What kind of discharge did you receive?” or “Why didn’t you get an honorable discharge?” There are five types of discharge in the military, two of which are considered favorable: Honorable, and general under honorable conditions. The standards of conduct in the military, however, are vastly different from those in the civilian world, and military members can get kicked out of the military before their contract comes to an end for reasons that have zero bearing in the civilian world. For example, members can get kicked out for things such as being overweight, not paying bills on time, having affairs, fraternizing, and (prior to the repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’) sexual orientation. Asking this question may compel military candidates to reveal something they might not otherwise reveal (and do not have to). DO cut them some slack during the interview process. In the military, the closest thing to an interview is a promotion board, and it’s very high pressure. Therefore, these candidates are conditioned to bark out answers and sit ramrod straight, which might make them come across as nervous, inhibited, or tense. Put candidates at ease by asking them questions about their management experience in the military. 23 Veteran Recruiting Toolkit
  23. 23. About CareerBuilder® CareerBuilder is the global leader in human capital solutions, helping companies target and attract their most important asset - their people. Its online career site,®, is the largest in the United States with more than 22 million unique visitors, 1 million jobs and 40 million resumes. CareerBuilder works with the world’s top employers, providing resources for everything from employment branding and data analysis to recruitment support. More than 9,000 websites, including 140 newspapers and broadband portals such as MSN and AOL, feature CareerBuilder’s proprietary job search technology on their career sites. Owned by Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE:GCI), Tribune Company and The McClatchy Company (NYSE:MNI), CareerBuilder and its subsidiaries operate in the United States, Europe, Canada and Asia. CareerBuilder for Employers Employer Blog Mission-Critical Website