A Veteran Recruiter on Transition Challenges


Veterans are without peer in the value and integrity they offer a company, and offer diverse marketable skill sets which can allow them to focus on one project or multitask.  Veterans offer flexibility with set standards.Unfortunately, these skills are often misunderstood; progressive companies, like People Scout, hire Military Recruiters to translate them. 

My personal experience with transition was attending a three-day transition program designed to shift emphasis to the corporate world. underscoring the importance of selecting a career, then structuring the résumé-writing process. I arrived home to Indiana and found employment at a steel fabrication facility as a 3rd shift maintenance technician.I worked long hours, worked my way to 1st shift, and then into management. Although the job was rewarding, I was still searching for direction. The company I worked for decided to step up their military hiring initiative. The idea was to grow a robust position within the company as a Military Recruiter.

I was living my dream, my family was growing and I was an integral part of what I thought was a growing successful company. Two weeks before my twins were born I received a call that my position was eliminated after 12 months with the company. I was now forced to relocate my family -- risky, but acceptable.

I wanted to get back to Military Recruiting. I searched for opportunities of increased responsibility as a recruiter. My prior company touted itself as "veteran-friendly," but lacked the intellectual understanding of how to incorporate veterans' added value. Simply, they did not understand the investment and its return, but understood the arrogance of placing false proclamations over substance.

People Scout, a company that recognizes the importance of understanding how to place veterans, came to the rescue. I am now the Senior Military Recruiter.

My challenge: translate veterans' skills into value-added traits the corporate world embraces. Companies that successfully hire veterans are the companies that reach out at military events and job fairs, and Military Recruiters. Successful companies create their own path through sound genuine internal processes. My hope is more companies will dedicate time and resources to this humanized approach.

What is the real issue behind military members exiting the military not connecting with available jobs?

Veterans sell themselves short. They are underpaid and almost become prey for the industry. Government-controlled TAP remains inadequate. Skills do translate to corporate values. Solution: take the guesswork out of transitioning, and use corporate technology to create a focused approach.

I now work for a company that is genuine in its motive to hire veterans. I found to my surprise that many veterans were not proficient in negotiating their compensation. They learn quickly, but in general are behind the power curve, while their civilian counterparts fully understand their worth. In one example, I once had a perfect candidate for a position, but he was not contacted due to his stated salary requirement. I followed up with the candidate and discovered that due to his lack of insight on position pay and geogrpahical area, he had simply "thrown a number out there." Once I had educated him on the range for the position, he was willing decrease his salary request and take advantage of relocation at DOD expense to compensate, and was eventually hired. This is an example of technology driving the process. My point is that military candidates are expected to not only translate their skills and be in the right place at the right time but also play the "pick a number between 1-10" game and get it right.

I am home in Indiana with family and look forward to coming to work every day, providing corporate value while assisting veterans…this is invaluable to me.My goal is to leave this world a little better than when I found it.

Carl Vickers is a contributor to the book An American Crisis: Veteran's Unemployment and is a senior recruiter for People Scout.

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