“Dad, let me help you job search.” This was a conversation every time I saw my recently retired Dad for about 6 months, probably longer. I was learning quickly that time served translates into a new level of stubborn. I guess I already knew that, though. Both of my parents served 20+ years in the Army and I served my time on bases, too.
He might be stubborn but I guess it’s for a good reason, or at least it is if you ask him. He served around the world, mainly in the Middle East, on missions I still have yet to hear all about. We have framed pictures of him in our office with Princes and Kings. He was a pilot and then as his eyesight deteriorated, he moved on to the global finance units and eventually worked on budgets to support getting more equipment to our troops at war from the Pentagon. He’s smart, considerate, funny and detail-oriented with a wealth of global experience. The kind of guy you would want to have a beer with, if that’s your culture test. And he couldn’t get a call back on civilian applications.
“What the hell” he would say, sipping his Coors Light and looking befuddled. He applied to a handful of civilian jobs that he had done in the Army and a few others but the results were the same – no e-mail, no call. Nothing. A frustrating cycle for a guy who had just been awarded a service medal from Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mullen.
He never did get the right call back but decided instead to live frugally and go into retirement early. Good for him and his golf game but it’s just screwed up to me. After working in the recruiting world for so long, hearing about this apparent talent crisis – I just don’t get it. In fact, it actually pisses me off. Not just for him, but for all veterans entering the workforce.
Hooah: Untapped Talent
There are two reasons I believe talent like my Dad and others in the veteran community don’t end up finding similar or “step-up” type roles as they transition into the workforce. The first is because their resume doesn’t have the language the civilian recruiters are looking for. Most people don’t get the acronyms, let alone include them in their Boolean search. It doesn’t help that many of the career military veterans with 20 plus years of service entering the workforce probably haven’t applied to a job since faxing was still a common thing.
The second is because people aren’t seeking out our veterans for great jobs. They’re searching for simple keywords, finding people on LinkedIn and then creating veteran hiring initiatives that don’t ever get a veteran hired. We’re offering discounts instead of access to great jobs. 20% is nice and all, when you have a job that will pay you money you can spend.
This Veterans Day, take 30 minutes to join us on RecruitingLive and help hire more veterans. Veteran (of both the show and the US Army) Arron Daniels will join us to share communities he uses to source veterans, searches that help target this audience and answer your questions on veteran hiring.