Recruiters: we need your perspective to help us understand. The dialogue that has unfolded over the last week since my blog post entitled, “Recruiters: are you part of the problem?” (http://militarytransitions.biz/blog/#blog140), has given a view into how some former military job seekers experience the civilian recruiting process. However, what’s missing from the dialogue is the recruiters’ point of view. Not in self-defense but in the spirit of learning about a key segment of the labor market and of building a bridge.
As many readers know, I have written extensively on the language gap between civilian recruiters and military job candidates. The solution must be worked on both sides of the fence: former service members need to prepare their resumes and themselves to compete in the civilian job market, AND recruiters need to meet them half way. I have given so many suggestions for doing this; I simply cannot repeat them here.
To the one or two recruiters who have chimed in to this discussion, thank you so much for sharing your point of view which, if they are open to it, will educate military job candidates. I hope that they have taken your contributions to heart.
To the rest of the recruiting professionals out there: please add your voice to the mix, in a constructive way, to raise the awareness of the many former service members who read my blog. These are the folks you will be sourcing, screening, interviewing and hiring or turning away. Wouldn’t you like to have a more prepared set of candidates? This is a chance to be part of the solution.
Following are some of the responses that have come in since my last post on Tuesday. Even though they were posted on LinkedIn, I've removed names and identifying information. For the first installment of comments, refer to that (http://militarytransitions.biz/blog/#blog141).
"I would have to agree….I mean who is the person that writes the job annoucement? I saw where a forklift operator (contractor) needed [min.] a BS!?? Really? Come on, someone needs to proof-read the annoucements."
"That's funny. Perhaps the position required that the applicant actually perform surgical operations with the forklift. I can see how doing something so delicate with heavy equipment could require special training and a BS."
"Thank you for this article. I am a recruiter myself.... I understand your struggle, and I have dedicated myself to finding qualified military veterans who would be an asset to the digital publishing industry. Job fairs are not enough. If you are a veteran, I would recommend working with a career expert at your college or at the unemployment office on making your resumes "HR friendly". We have a hard time understanding many of the terms, but you may see much more responses from recruiters if you plug in civilian terms. Also make sure you are interning in the industry you are looking to work in, and utlitzing the GI Bill to educate yourself. The competition is fierce, and you will be a top choice for employers if you have a degree, industry experience, AND a military background."
"Nowadays companies and government agencies are sponsoring students before they even graduate... and pushing them into clearances, right up to FSP. And assuredly, right into proposals and new contracts, and as instant gov newbies. With little history,there is usually little hindrance to granting those clearances. I suspect the practitioners of polygraphy may ask the same questions used for those who have lengthier work histories, leaving little to uncover for adjudicators. Latent negative attitudes and influences may slip by... something we have recently seen occur with realtime negative results in the military. Same problem on a volume scale. And as everyone knows, all the agencies enjoy ridiculous backlogs on clearance applications. No feeding the problem here..."
"In the one year I've been in contracting work after retiring from the Army, I can relate to some of this. For example, yesterday I did a telephonic interview for a _____. I sent my training certificates to the recruiter for verification of my qualifications. In the phone conversation, it was obvious the recruiter was not very knowledgeable of what qualifications the customer was looking for as he obviously didn't understand the meaning or significance of certain training certificates."
"Emily, this one hits home. I separated from the Air Force in 2008 and spent roughly six months where people shook my hand, said "thank you for your service," and proceeded to explain to me that I was not qualified to work in electronics even though my background was nuclear weapon electronics and electromechanical work for ten years (as well as an instructor for the same material). It was frustrating to say the least. To be quite honest, it is now three years since I've left the service and I still have this difficulty. Thanks for posting about the subject. I appreciate it."
"…no truer words has been spoken. I wonder if any Recruiters are reading this."
"…there are simple more people looking for jobs than there are open jobs, which is true in any industry right now. Recruiters are not perfect, the hiring manager, i.e. person who wrote the job requisition based on the statement of work (contracting)or position description (gov) simply need to work together to pull out the real requirements of the position. Most recruiters are not going to know what all the certificates/training courses mean, there are simply too many and if they were in the military they might not know all the training/certs outside of their career field/service. Intel encompasses a wide range of jobs and skills and recruiters simply can't be held to the fire because they don't know everything. Now given that, if they don't know something they should go back to the hiring manager or a more experience recruiter and ask the right questions and not simply think the candidate isn't a good fit for the position."
"Another point to add is that if you're applying to government positions sometimes it takes a long long long time to finally get hired, I'll give a couple common examples from friends, one applied to the FBI out of college, he did have prior military experience and it took over 2 years from his first interview before he finally got through the entire process and got a class date. 2nd friend applied to NGA, 2 1/2 years later he was brought on board. contracting is typically faster but it's not uncommon to wait a few months there either."
"Not to stray too far from the original topic but have you looked at Think Tanks and University R&D centers that also support the DoD/IC? There are allot of roads into this type of work. Another option to is to hit the major job fairs where the decision makers will be at and get your name out there, recruiters are not the only gate keepers. check out intelligence careers.com as well, not so much for the job ads, they are ok,but they have a nice company directory, it's always best to go direct to the company websites to see what is out there. And another option staffing agencies like KForce, they place allot of people in the DoD"