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Hiring military personnel, including active duty reservists and guardsmen and veterans should be an important part of any organization’s recruiting strategy. Individuals from all branches of the military have real-world experience in many disciplines. More than 80 percent of the military occupation specialties have a civilian equivalent according to Lisa Rosser, author of “The Value of a Veteran: The Guide for Human Resource Professionals to Regarding, Recruiting and Retaining Military Veterans.” Service members have extensive backgrounds in many fields including logistics, information technology, law enforcement and security, emergency management, intelligence and human resources. These individuals are hard-working and dedicated, but are struggling to find work in the civilian world.
There are more than 1.4 million active personnel currently serving in the armed forces. And, as of January 2011, more than 15 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans are unemployed. The unemployment rate may remain high if the U.S. military begins drawing down troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Recruiting and human resource professionals across all industries need to fill openings with the best possible candidates. Military personnel are an untapped resource that should not be overlooked. Organizations that fail to recognize the extraordinary leadership qualities active duty service members and veterans bring to the workplace pass up the opportunity to work with results-oriented employees that have a strong sense of accountability and responsibility.
Active duty service members and veterans often feel as though they are entering uncharted territory when approaching the job market. Employers can feel the same way during the recruiting and hiring process.
Active duty service members begin exploring civilian career options as long as a year in advance of separation from the military. They start to apply for jobs that they are educationally qualified for or seem to be equivalent to their military occupation, hoping to start off on the right foot once home.
Unfortunately, many service members have difficulty during their transition as they struggle to explain their military experience in non-military terms and identify potential employers who value their skills. Because many employers don’t understand military slang and the many acronyms the military is known to use, recruiters often don’t equate the experience they are looking at in a resume to their specific needs.
Employers need help knowing where to look and how to identify a number of quality candidates, including disabled veterans, family members and caregivers of wounded warriors, who can fill these open positions. It is also difficult for employers to post jobs to attract these highly-qualified applicants when there is not an understanding of military experience or they don’t know where the candidates can be found.
Reservists and guardsmen can also pose unique challenges to employers seeking to hire from this candidate pool. Since reservists and guardsmen are still serving in the military, but can also work a civilian job, employers face challenges regarding their employment, such as deployments. Laws can seem confusing if there is not a clear answer for an employer. Making sure that you are abiding by the rules is important when hiring active duty military and recently discharged veterans, but who can you turn to assure your hiring and employment practices are correct?
Military assistance groups are an incredible resource to employers, veterans and active service members. This is a best practice for employers recruiting veterans, reservists and guardsmen, beyond sourcing jobs specifically for transitioning service members. There are a number of military assistance groups that work with America’s employers to link them to these highly-qualified American heroes.
Through these assistance groups, employers are able to find qualified candidates that meet specific employment needs. The military assistance groups find, vet and offer additional assistance, when needed, to America’s heroes. Ultimately, employers that partner with military assistance groups expand their recruiting efforts and access a new and highly desirable talent pool.
There are a number of assistance groups to partner with. AlliedBarton Security Services has partnered
with the following:
- Employer Partnership of the Armed Forces
- Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (H2H)
- Wounded Warrior Project
- American GI Forum
- U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Jerold Ramos, AlliedBarton’s Director, Strategic Recruiting, works as AlliedBarton’s liaison with these groups. “Building relationships with a military assistance group can better position an organization at the top of the list when America’s heroes seek employment,” Ramos explained. “These men and women have years of military experience and when reviewed properly, equates to most civilian jobs. We have found that we can count on the dependability, leadership, pride and commitment that they bring to our company.”
These groups exist to help our heroes find employment in the civilian workforce. Connections are made between employers and these candidates every day.
There are many advantages to working with these groups:
- Greater access to active duty, reservists and guardsmen, veterans and military family and caregivers
- Resources for translating military experience and qualifications into civilian occupations so recruiters will understand their qualifications
- Source of knowledgeable experts who can help guide military recruiting efforts
- Ability to become more involved in recruiting on the military bases in your area
- Unlimited numbers of qualified applicants, including applicant flow from the families of deployed heroes, wounded warriors ready to re-enter the workplace and caregivers of our wounded warriors
- Resources to understand USERRA and assist employers in putting returning service members back to work
In addition, many organizations may require job candidates to be background checked. It can add a layer of comfort knowing that service members have had background checks, medical screenings and aptitude tests from the military.
AlliedBarton Security Services is committed to hiring veterans, reservists, their families and caregivers, and promoting this important hiring practice. Our company-wide military hiring program, Hire Our HeroesSM, is an essential part of our recruiting strategy.
“There are 1.1 million guard members and reservists and 14.4 million veterans under the age of 65,” said Ramos. “At the more than 10 percent unemployment rate currently, our target audience of possible employees is close to two million veterans, guardsmen and reservists. These transitioning service members, our nation’s heroes, have anywhere from three to more than 20 years of experience that can be beneficial to any employer.”
AlliedBarton is honored to employ those who have dedicated themselves to protecting our freedom, and the security services industry is an ideal career for transitioning military. “We are proud to partner with military veterans associations to help put these heroes to work,” said Ramos.
Success in partnering with these military assistance groups is measured in large part by increasing the numbers of America’s heroes that can be put to work. Recently, the Wounded Warrior Project, Warriors to Work Program, celebrated the 100th placement of a wounded warrior, including caregivers and family members. “That’s the biggest benefit we have found thus far,” said Ramos. “AlliedBarton is proud to be putting America’s heroes back to work because it feels good and is simply the right thing to do.”
Employers can become true partners with military assistance groups and work with them proactively to ensure recruiting efforts are maximized. Employers can also save time and money in recruiting costs by tapping into the hundreds and thousands of service members who are highly skilled, self-motivated and have demonstrated leadership through their military service.
All industries can benefit from the skill sets and leadership qualities that service members possess, regardless if the organization is large or small, or offers a product or service. It is important to support service members and their families who have sacrificed so much. They have invested their time into our nation and employers can give back by investing in their civilian careers.