21st Century Warship a Showcase for Military Talent

A friend of mine recently attended the commissioning of the USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) in Baltimore and I enjoyed learning about this technical marvel. It was interesting to hear that this ship, one of the largest and most technologically advanced warships in the fleet, only carries a third of the crew of previous destroyers. Doing more with less. Does this sound familiar in your own line of work?

This required the Navy to rethink staffing the ship. For one, the ship’s server-based systems allow any crew member to control any function from any station. This puts a greater focus on cross-training. The state of the art systems require a tech savvy maintenance team and the expandable systems, able to upgrade to more efficient software when developed, require forward-thinking leaders to review best practices and think several steps ahead in planning upgrades.

You can bet this assignment, and the challenges of debugging the USS Zumwalt on the high seas, were given to the Navy’s best Officers and Petty Officers and are a showcase for military talent. And under the command of Captain James Kirk, the bar was set high.

For corporate hiring managers and recruiting professionals this is just another example of how the US military leads the world in recruiting our best and brightest and tasks them with the responsibility of a safe operation of multi-billion dollar equipment with stellar capabilities. To boldly go…well you get that I mean.

Flexibility and transferable skills are the key to sourcing and hiring the right military-experienced talent for your team. There are many options available to assist you in successfully navigating these waters, including BMI with access to more than 1,000,000 military job seekers.

Bobby Whitehouse

http://www.linkedin.com/in/bobbywhitehouse

Image courtesy Petty Officer 1st Class Nathan Laird/Released

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Secure Your Company by Hiring a Military-Experienced IT or Cyber Professional

In honor of Cyber Security Awareness month, I want to address a common question I hear from employers: “I work for an organization that has nothing to do with IT or software, so how can I justify investing in Cyber Security talent when it doesn’t contribute to the bottom line?”

Almost every company is involved in collecting, sorting, storing or responding to sensitive data, even if indirectly. Failure to protect your customers’ and/or employees’ information can lead to massive consequences that result in costly damage control. Developing a security plan ahead of time is more cost effective and ensures that your brand can uphold its trustworthy reputation. Companies are investing countless dollars upgrading and investing in IT assets; it’s equally important to invest in the talent needed to keep those assets safe and in working order.

Secure Your Company by Hiring a Military-Experienced IT or Cyber Professional

Since the beginning of BMI we’ve been known for placing candidates in Engineering, Leadership, Technical and Sales jobs. Many employers don’t know that we expanded our capabilities in helping employers find and hire Information Technology (IT) and Cyber Security candidates. 

Many transitioning military candidates have not one, but several industry certifications by the time they separate from the military. Corporate America has a growing need for IT and Cyber Security and the military is training and preparing candidates with this knowledge and skillset.

The background and experience of the Bradley-Morris IT or Cyber Security candidate can vary, but the end product is someone that companies can’t operate properly without. Officer candidates have led numerous technical projects, managed multiple networks or facilitated operations on an enterprise level. Enlisted candidates have hands-on experience and have received advanced training in their fields. Some of the candidates we work with are in the process of separating from the service and others already have industry experience.  We work with IT leaders, Penetration Testers, Network and Security Architects, Network and PC Forensic Technicians, Threat Analysts, and the list goes on and on.

If your company needs someone to make an immediate impact on your IT or Cyber operations, BMI candidates can get the job done. The majority of this demographic understands information protection on an enterprise and global scale and can offer strategic real-world experience. If you’re serious about improving your IT or Cyber operations, invest in this area and get involved with our TargetHire® process to find military-experienced talent.

 

Jake Hutchings
https://www.linkedin.com/in/jchutchings

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How to Leverage Government Relocation When Hiring a Transitioning Veteran

One of the most common questions I receive when speaking with employers is, “How can I find solid local candidates to fill my open roles?”

If you’re looking for a very specific skill set or background, it can be challenging to find the right job seeker in your area. Many employers don’t have the budget to offer relocation assistance to candidates either, so what should they do?Leverage Government Relocation When Hiring a Transitioning Veteran

My advice is to not limit yourself to a specific geographic area just because relocation assistance is not in the budget. Looking outside of your area opens up so many possibilities and increases the odds that your new hire will be the closest match possible to what you’re looking for. Finding the right candidate for your opening and not settling will benefit your company by reducing turnover and cutting costs in the longrun. It just makes business sense.

Many hiring managers don’t realize that they can leverage government relocation when hiring a transitioning veteran. The military will move transitioning service members and their families from their last duty station to as far as their home of record after their separation date. Using a national talent pool can help your company target the best job seekers at no cost to you.

In my personal experience, I was born and raised in Connecticut but was stationed in Georgia at the end of my service. When I was transitioning from the Army, I was extended a job offer in Virginia. I was able to move to Virginia with the government covering all of my relocation costs and the company did not pay a dime. It was a win-win.

After you decide to expand your talent search, the next roadblock you may run into is how do you begin recruiting across the country? Connecting with a recruiting service like Bradley-Morris, Inc. (BMI) offers allows you to efficiently hire from a national talent pool of candidates, many of which are willing to relocate for their dream job or location. BMI does the leg work by introducing you to pre-screened military candidates that are up to speed on your company and are excited about your opportunity.

While it may be difficult to fully quantify the value of importing great talent to your company and community, it’s easy to see that great talent + free relocation = a winning combination.

 

Jake Hutchings
https://www.linkedin.com/in/jchutchings
Image courtesy of Matthew W. Jackson

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5 Ways to Have Success in Hiring Military

I recently read Daniel Nichols’ post regarding the “Top 10 Fails of Military Recruiting” . Daniel makes good points but I like to focus on the positives. So here are some bright-spots, that is, 5 ways to have success in hiring military that are put into action each day by my team for our employer clients.5 ways to have success in hiring military

1.) Open the Focus on Transferable Skills. The best and worst thing that has happened in military-to-civilian recruiting is the MOS translator. We worked hard to get job seekers and companies out of the  “military candidates are just a fit for our government services business unit” only for veterans to be hamstrung by their occupational specialty. It’s a new and improved narrow-focused strategy that makes the numbers work against them, and you, the hiring manager. The military-to-industry connection happens between the lines of the job order and the resume. This is why our ConferenceHire events are so successful. This also leads to number 2.

2). Make your job description about the Key Performance Areas (KPA). I understand why hiring managers want specific experience. “What we do is unique” – I know, right? The weird thing is that what we have done in the military is specialized, too. So military-experienced candidates are also acclimated to training on and learning new specialized processes. “And then they put me in charge of” is the start of many great stories of overcoming new assignments and trial by fire accomplishments. Not to mention the adage, “hire character and train skill”.

3). Focus your search on time in service. Hands-on maintenance leaders and field service engineers are typically on different timelines for instance. There are individual contributors, team leaders and results managers. The military community is not one-size fits all.

4). Be sure to “see” the individual. I’ve placed Marines in high-tech and Senior NCOs in field service. Working against the stereotypes, these candidates have been highly successful. Culture is about people. One expression I have heard time and again is “the candidate felt like a good fit for us” and I believe it. Your company should know your type and all types volunteer to serve. Avoid stereotypes and you’ll hire superstars.

5). Look outside the traditional military box. The newest G.I. Bill provides exceptional continuing education and campuses are seeing more military-experienced students. This combination of experience and education gives a whole new meaning to “green grad”. But these candidates are often overlooked because of their gap in employment.

Efficiently hiring military-experienced talent is a great business strategy. These are some of the best men and women our country produces and American businesses can do better at connecting with them. But the more companies that succeed with hiring military the more faith they will have in the concept. Maybe you’ve heard of the importance of “getting the people thing right” but of equal importance is “getting the veteran thing right”.

Bobby Whitehouse

http://www.linkedin.com/in/bobbywhitehouse

Image courtesy of DoD photo, by Army Staff Sgt. Sean K. Harps

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Hiring Military is Like Learning To Golf

The internet is awesome – news flash, right? What I mean is that you can teach yourself so many things from guides and videos on the internet. I have a colleague, who is not a handyman by any means, who took apart and fixed his washing machine with a $1.50 part thanks to a youtube video.

Hiring Military is Like Learning To GolfEven for harder and more difficult to master tasks, this applies as well, but only to a point. If you want to learn how to hit a golf ball and play golf, there are guides and videos on that skill as well. I’ll bet there are some success stories of beginning golfers who advance using the internet as their coach, but without a professional to guide them, they probably took some time-consuming and costly wrong turns along the way. Others may have even given up in frustration when the desired results weren’t forthcoming.

Likewise, there are many guides and videos regarding hiring military and veterans on the internet. And just like our golfer above, these may get you to the point of “getting good contact” on the ball. But can they help shape a plan that takes into account your goals, your physiology and the amount of time and money you have to invest? Only a coach can help on that level.

The coach I’m referring to in this case is a military-focused recruiting firm. For our beginning “player”, every new veteran hiring guide that comes on the scene lacks important information that leaves a well-meaning company open to expensive mistakes. Military recruiting firms, like Bradley-Morris, provide expert guidance that translates to efficiencies in time and money spent.

The online playbook does not take into account the physiology of your organization and the skeletal, motor skills and musculature structure that makes it unique. The differences in physiology manifest themselves in big differences in the “swings” of organizations in terms of the way they approach the military hiring process, even for companies in similar industries. For instance, the way Walmart hires military is vastly differently than how Amazon hires military even though some of the roles, especially in the supply chain, are similar.

In the same vein, the internet guide is one size fits all – it doesn’t take into account the differences between teaching someone who has the resources to play three times a week versus a weekend duffer. Or someone who needs a quick “win”, that is, needs to get be able to get around the course for an upcoming corporate event, versus a player who has a strategic goal that is building for long term success. Translating our hypothetical “player” in these scenarios to a company interested in hiring veterans, the methods to hire and even more importantly the types of roles that could be a success vary greatly depending on the specific scenario.

Among those who are serious about becoming good golfers, most players hire a coach at some point of their careers. The coach evaluates your swing, learns your goals, sees inside your head and is invested in your results. The value of outside perspective and analysis provides changes – sometimes revelatory, sometimes subtle – that produce exceptional results…whether we are talking golf or hiring military.

Bobby Whitehouse

http://www.linkedin.com/in/bobbywhitehouse

Image courtesy Tour Pro Golf Clubs

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Digging into the recent LinkedIn Veteran Insight Report

Digging into the recent LinkedIn Veteran Insight ReportAs we approach July 4th, I took some time digging into the recent LinkedIn Veteran Insight Report. Whether it be patriotic or performance motives, it’s great to see the changing tide regarding veteran hiring in Corporate America.

In 2001, when I started with Bradley-Morris, we looked for one of two things to get corporate buy-in:

  1. We needed a company that was so desperately in need of talent that they would open their hiring requirements to include military-experience, or
  2. We needed a champion who understood the value of military talent. Most of the latter where veterans themselves and while there were a few early adopters of focused military programs, most companies were alien to this talent pool.

When LinkedIn released their “2016 Annual Veteran Insight Report”, I was curious to see how their data aligned with our tribal knowledge as well as our value proposition to our clients.

From their “6 key highlights that demonstrate the veteran community is flourishing in their professional careers” slide I was drawn to #5, “that two-thirds of professional veterans work in positions that are not similar to what they did in the military”. This data lines up with our focusing on “transferable skills” in military to industry placement. By leveraging military success traits across broad Key Performance Areas, we find success in positions such as Manufacturing Production Supervisor where veterans who have no manufacturing experience start their careers and thrive.

The “Dallas-Ft Worth and New York Metropolitan Area are two Major locations where veterans move post service” data point speaks to the relocatable nature of the military-experienced talent pool. BMI’s clients know they tap into an international talent pool for their local positions. Veterans can be found where the jobs are.

Their “Veterans are leaders in the workforce” slide confirms one of our core value propositions. Almost half of the veterans on LinkedIn are in middle-manager or senior contributor roles. Their 36% at entry level stat confirms that many companies still do not know how to leverage military-experience into their business. It will be interesting to see these data points move over time. About 75% of the military-experienced candidates I’ve placed were promoted ahead of schedule.

The “Operations is the #1 job function for veterans” slide points to the successful integration of transferable skills. Sales being #3 is the most telling as there are no sales people in the military. Sales is a vocation where character can be tested. Most sales people I place are highly successful and become top performing in their careers.

Lastly, I see that “Tech Companies have the highest job views among veterans” and this one I point out for companies not on the list. The listed businesses are known because they are in the government contract space or have become famous employer brands for veterans. By working with Bradley-Morris, your company can leverage our brand awareness, best practices and largest military-to-civilian candidate footprint to win the race for military-experienced talent.

Bobby Whitehouse

http://www.linkedin.com/in/bobbywhitehouse

Image courtesy Scott L.

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Military-Experienced Executives Series: Jerry Ashcroft

I had the opportunity to speak with military-experienced executive Jerry Ashcroft who was recently selected to be the Chief Executive Officer of an iconic oil and gas industry brand. Mr. Ashcroft was a decorated Major in the United States Marine Corps. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the United States Naval Academy and his MBA from Emory University’s Goizueta Business School.

Military-Experienced ExecutivesI was eager to ask Mr. Ashcroft questions about how his military experiences informed his business career. My first question was centered on finding out what the biggest leadership lessons were that he learned from the Naval Academy and as a Marine that he applied to running a business. Mr. Ashcroft replied, “Discipline and servant leadership”.

When I heard his answer, “discipline” made sense; that sounds very much like a Marine leadership characteristic. However, when we look beyond Marine Corps stereotypes, so is “servant leadership”. Servant leaders build trusting team environments that bring out their players’ best potential.

Next, I asked how those lessons compared or contrasted with the lessons of business school. “I feel my experience in business school was built on those lessons and allowed me to focus on being a team member in a business setting,” explained Mr. Ashcroft. “It was also a great way to sharpen my skills in a civilian environment.”

In my experience, business school and military leadership are a proven combination for successful corporate leadership.

I moved on to delve into what education or experience helped Mr. Ashcroft the most while leading his company through challenging times in the energy sector. He replied, “I believe my military experience helps me prioritize what is really important. Having a clear direction usually provides a calming influence for the team. From my observations, I also think it helps you to work well under pressure and keep a level head when others may become flustered.”

A key discussion point centered on whether military-experienced leaders are good fits for energy companies. “I think they are a good fit for all companies,” said Mr. Ashcroft. “Those that are used to self-sacrifice and putting others first deliver global wins across an organization.”

On a more personal note, I asked if he believed his military background had anything to do with his becoming a leader in an energy company. Mr. Ashcroft replied, “Yes, it gave me leadership experience in my twenties versus most having to wait until their forties”.

In this response, Mr. Ashcroft has arrived at a reoccurring theme I regularly see with Leadership Development Programs or LDPs. When a company has a need for middle management leadership positions (to build bench strength against projected retirements; to help institute culture change; to staff up for growth; etc.), many times an LDP program is the answer.

And Bradley-Morris has the second piece of that answer in the form of (relatively) young and motivated Junior Military Officers (JMOs). These job seekers have leadership experience that is leveraged to fast track into the specific business via the LDP.

Finally, I asked Mr. Ashcroft what he would most want to share with other CEOs about hiring military. “The most important resource is your human resource and the military has done a great job teaching how to lead and care for that resource,” he said.

Thank you to Jerry Ashcroft for your time and your illuminating thoughts.

Bobby Whitehouse

http://www.linkedin.com/in/bobbywhitehouse

Image courtesy Jerry Ashcroft

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Ask the Rep: How does my regional company compete with Fortune 500s to hire talent?

“How does my regional company compete with Fortune 500s to hire talent?” was the question asked from a young hiring manager who attended a recent Bradley-Morris ConferenceHire military hiring event. I love this stuff. I blogged on David versus Goliath previously. All in all though, I take great satisfaction in helping employers of any size get a win and the below tips are applicable to most competitive recruiting situations.

Ask A Military Hiring Expert

“Speed Kills the Competition” is a long-established BMI Client Best Practice. And that was my first recommendation; that he reach out to the preferred candidates quickly with open dates for follow-up interviews.

My next recommendation was have them “meet the family”. This particular regional business has great camaraderie. Their president blogs on leadership. They bond through team-building projects and put a team car in the “24 hours of LeMONS” race. They have a good time working together and this is a major selling point for recruiting military candidates. Camaraderie is a part of military culture and is typically well-received by military-experienced job seekers.

Finally, later in the process, I encouraged the hiring manager to keep up the momentum. After an early site visit and great feedback showing off the team-orientation of the business, the last thing they would want to do is let these excited and bought-in job seekers wither on the vine. Military job seekers, especially those transitioning from the military, have a hard separation date and their clock is ticking. And probably more than civilian candidates, military job seekers view corporate indecisiveness with a wary eye.

The hiring manager in question avoided this trap, however, and within two days of the site visit extended an offer to their top choice – and the candidate accepted the same day! This syncs with our historical experience – offers extended within two weeks of the initial interview at our ConferenceHire events have a 90% rate of being accepted.

Ask the Rep is a new series and I would like to hear your recruiting or hiring questions! Please send me a message on LinkedIn or email. I look forward to hearing them.

Bobby Whitehouse

http://www.linkedin.com/in/bobbywhitehouse

Images courtesy nick fullerton, Phil Whitehouse and Dennis Hill

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Hire military and improve hiring metrics

One of my recent readings was the IBM Smarter Workforce Institute’s The Secret to Reducing Hiring Mistakes? It’s in the metrics by Dr. Rena Rasch. I encourage you to download the white paper and draw your own Rena Raschconclusions. For my part, I found it an interesting view of corporate recruiting as well as a telling insight into current recruiting measures and results.

The paper baselined “rehire” and I was surprised to learn that HR leaders and hiring managers would only rehire 61% of their current hires. They compared various HR metrics that contribute to this stat to determine which metrics increase or decrease hiring mistakes. Perhaps not surprisingly, metrics that focus on hiring efficiencies impacted “rehire” negatively, e.g., number of qualified candidates, time to fill position, cost of hire and promotion speed.

Hiring excellence and the numbersSome of these are easy targets. Focusing on cost per hire is straight from the race to the bottom playbook; number of qualified candidates suggests the qualifications gap is too narrow reducing the cross section of soft skills represented; time to fill is purely transactional.

In the military recruiting/hiring arena, we like to think we approach things a little differently. Rather than simply focus on producing the best stats, our ConferenceHire military hiring event process has a quarter century of producing the best matches. A key part of this success derives from the advance work that we do to make sure the right candidates and right companies are “bought in” and prepared and confirmed to show up at the same place and at the same time; another part is attributable to the subtle competition at the event whereby candidates and companies alike put their best foot forward.

Interestingly, one of the most positive contributors to good rehire – feedback from peers/co-workers – is built into our ConferenceHire process. Before the ConferenceHire event even begins, our most successful hirers have already scheduled second interview schedules/site visits: structured on-site interviews with leaders and peers as well as business casual lunch meetings. These employers assume a “getting to know you” posture that often involves the candidate’s spouse; they go all-in to impress. Likewise, on these visits we recommend the candidates pay attention to the culture and environment of the company. It’s more matchmaker than zero-sum game.

Finally, I agree that quality of hire, perhaps measured by Return On Hire (ROH), is the most important metric, although “value delivered” to the organization is more quantifiable than an employee’s performance appraisals.

For example, I placed a military-experienced process improvement engineer with a mid-sized manufacturer who in his first six months reduced production cost by nearly $1.00 per unit. His ROH was off the chart. Or the manufacturer who hired 25 Junior Military Officers (JMOs) as mid-level managers and relatively soon after was sold to a major corporation. One of the major buying points was the middle manager bench strength that the smaller company possessed. Another was the significant increase in revenue that the JMO team had already delivered.

Of course we should work to reduce non-rehires. But what about the “I wish I could hire ten just like them” hires? The HR leaders and hiring managers who see their employees as their team and business as the playing field are at a huge advantage when it comes to winning in business. In the end, employers that hire military improve hiring metrics as well.

Bobby Whitehouse

http://www.linkedin.com/in/bobbywhitehouse

Images courtesy IBM

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Hire what you can’t train

“I don’t have time to train someone.”

If you’re a manager and you’re telling others or yourself this, then it’s time for you to reevaluate your priorities. Because it’s easy to train skills. But it’s impossible to train core values.

Hire what you can’t trainThink about it. What’s eating at your time that prevents you from training skills? Most likely it is dealing with issues related to character. The team leader who is always slipping out of the office early. The supervisor who doesn’t keep you updated on key plant issues. Or the field service technician who doesn’t go above or beyond for clients because “that’s not my job”. If you are always “covering down” for your reports, then you are hiring all wrong. You should hire what you can’t train.

The reason that hiring military-experienced candidates results in consistent quality of hire is because these job seekers have excelled through world-class character development.

It starts with a service mindset which is a leading reason our all-volunteer military is the most successful in the world. This is a character trait that not everyone possesses: the willingness and ability to sacrifice personal interest for the service of others.

This core character is matured and tested under fire. The main focus of military training is to learn to act as a team. Individuality, freedom, choice and opinion are tempered in favor of discipline, order, detail and focus. This is the kind of pressure that makes precious stones.

With “character” being developed to the critical level, the military allows the traits of the individual to come back to the fore, now being better able to make decisions, function on a team and focus on an objective. This applies whether the service member is learning and performing technical skills, or operating engineering equipment or leading a team through a series of maneuvers.

The point is that the military offers a unique training environment where they focus on building character first and then training operational skills. Corporate America doesn’t have that system and if even if businesses did start it today they would be light years behind the curve.

“I have time to invest in the right person” is the mindset to possess. Because the right person can learn your technology, your products, your process and how you do business. They will do what they say they will, be where they are supposed to be and communicate in the way a professional communicates. When you have a team that has strong character, you can focus on supporting their performance and attend to your position’s other key priorities.

Bobby Whitehouse

http://www.linkedin.com/in/bobbywhitehouse

Images courtesy The U.S. Army

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