Military personnel are driven to succeed under numerous, often harsh circumstances. They are trained in the most innovative technologies, and exposed to an environment in which leadership and reliability are paramount. In brief, active Military personnel and Veterans bring qualities that translate directly to the skilled trades, IT, finance and corporate workforce. And yet, having seen everything the talent acquisition industry has to offer, it’s perplexing why more companies don’t make a concentrated effort to recruit, hire and develop this source.
I’ve been a recruiter for more than seven years, having recruited for roles in finance, IT, advanced manufacturing, construction and the auto mechanical sectors. I’m also part of WilsonHCG’s Operation Transition; having over a dozen family members previously or currently serving in the US Military, easing the transition of Veterans, introducing active personnel to career opportunities, and sharing with companies the benefits of hiring such individuals is highly personal to me.
It's no secret that complex skill-sets for verticals such as skilled trades, IT and finance are hard to find. In 2018, supply isn’t meeting demand. Companies need to overcome their concerns, fears and hesitancies over hiring Military personnel and look into the truly valuable benefits they bring to the table:
1. Training in Advanced Technologies
Nearly 80 percent of Military jobs have direct or very close civilian equivalents, says Lisa Rosser, CEO and founder of The Value of a Veteran: “[The military has] x-ray technicians, financial specialists, human resources people and legal specialists. You name it, and the chances are we’ve got that already in the Military.”
To undertake such positions, positions that directly translate to the world of work outside of the Military, active duty members are trained by the brightest minds to ensure their knowledge, skills and proficiency in an ever-changing military-technology environment are proficient. For example, the Military is embracing tablet technology in construction with these technologies also being used by many sectors.
Trained in effective writing and communications, Military personnel also know that building successful personal and business relationships (i.e., sales, clients, etc.) means communicating intentionally, candidly and efficiently. Military members are also taught and trained to manage adversity. Unexpected issues arise in the workplace; being trained to think outside of the box and come up with alternate solutions is a must to keep projects of all kinds moving forward.
2. Inspired, Team-Focused Success
Teamwork and accountability are two of the most important lessons you can learn in the Military. How does this translate to the civilian workforce? Take a construction project, for example. The project manager, superintendent and subcontractors all need to openly communicating both successes and setbacks to ensure the project succeeds. This extends to all industries, including verticals involved in building technologies and managing financial investments. We’ve all dealt with a colleague who lacks accountability. This trait is built into the very fabric and character of Military personnel.
These individuals bring an intrinsic understanding of how loyalty and trust adds to team proficiency. Moreover, in my experience as a recruiter – for business leaders looking to make a thoughtful, long-term investment in an employee specific to collaboration and serving as proven “team” players – Military personnel often outperform other candidates.
3. Leadership and Reliability
Throughout their Military career, service members are continually learning about their areas of expertise, and being trained and mentored for the next level of responsibility. A typical member in the Army, for example, is expected to be able to perform at a position two levels above their current station. In brief, Military personnel undertake extensive, full-time training in not only technical specialties but also essential, often intrinsic non-technical skills such as leadership, decision making, diligence, and communication. Each of which play a significant role in the value employees bring to an organization.
Conclusion: Next Steps
As noted above, companies need to overcome their concerns and look into the many benefits that Military Personnel bring to the table. Concerns such as mismatched or misunderstood skills are a simple fix with a little research. Recruitment teams, Operation Transition included, can do our part to ensure Military personnel looking to transition to the civilian workforce have resumes focused on the correct verbage, skill-focused keywords that match their expertise to what employers seek, opportunities to practice interviews, as well as networks to connect with men and women in similar situations as them.
Ultimately, Veterans and active service members across the world bring teamwork, unique training and leadership to the labor force. In addition, hiring personnel who serve our countries is important to the world. These brave men and women sacrifice on a daily basis for us; it’s up to us as recruiters and business leaders to give back by helping them transition to the civilian workforce as best we can.