Hiring Process Insights for Veterans In/Approaching Career Transition

The May/Jun 2019 edition of Harvard Business Review had a great article entitled “Your Approach to Hiring Is All Wrong.”


In this article, author Peter Cappelli (Professor, the Wharton School) notes that despite higher rates of hire, large hiring-related spends, and survey results indicating that hiring talent is the number one concern of many CEOs, many employers don’t know whether their efforts and investments are effective at sourcing and selecting good candidates.


Cappelli does a nice job covering a variety of context, cause and solution topics.


Several stood out to me as especially relevant for military veterans in career transition/job search.


Most people who took a new job last year weren’t looking.

Employers seem enamored with ‘passive’ candidates – folks who are currently employed and not looking to change jobs. This being the case, how are you as a military veteran positioning yourself to compete with a population that is already in the jobs you may be seeking? How are you getting visibility with desired employers, so they have you on their radar?


Employers advertise ‘phantom’ jobs (openings that don’t exist) hoping to find people who might be useful later or in a different context/role. Don’t be surprised when your on-line application goes without response or if the company asks you about your interest in a different role.


More open jobs are being filled by external candidates rather than internal successors. While on the surface this is a positive for transitioning veterans, the ‘story behind the story’ may be concerning on two fronts.

· First, this leads to a hiring priority shift away from entry-level toward more senior jobs. Again, this may appear positive for experienced military veterans but with these more-senior openings comes the expectation for more exact experience – both in terms of years and specificity.

· Second, hiring from the outside many times means the company doesn’t have to spend on developing internal talent; a scary circumstance for military veterans who come from one of the most robust ‘career management’ environments on earth.


Many companies have outsourced the recruiting function, which reduces the ‘checks & balances’ on hiring managers. Thus, their expectations for job requirements are becoming inflated to the point that mere mortals could never meet them.


The most popular method for finding talent is via employee referrals; according to this article up to 48% of new hires come this way. Who do you know that knows someone with an opportunity for which they can refer you?


These points scratch the surface of the transition environment. If you'd like more information or are considering a transition coach feel free to reach out to me at bill@kieffer-associates.com or on LinkedIn.

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