Discovering a Hidden Talent Pool: Transitioning Military Personnel

If you or your company is faced with the recruitment dilemma of too many openings and too few qualified candidates, it may be time to grow your own. The military has a large pool of potential candidates. These highly skilled individuals are highly trainable, seasoned workers. In the coming months, this series will uncover a hidden talent pool that is being tapped by successful organizations. We will share with you some of the secrets on how you can reach this group, and what to look for in “translating” resumes full of military jargon. First, why bother? Let’s look at the demographics:

  • Over 200,000 Workers Will Change Uniforms in 1999

    Nearly one out of every six members of the U. S. Military returns to the civilian world each year.

  • Highly Trained and Experienced

    Service personnel have had extensive training and more hands-on experience and responsibility than their civilian counterparts. (82% are between the ages of 18 & 34)

  • Professionals & Engineers

    The combination of education and experience places these men and women among the most sought after professionals in the country.

    You will be able to recruit:

    • Engineers
    • Computer Programmers
    • Project Managers
    • Logisticians
    • System Administrators
    • Supervisors
  • Technical Specialists

    The Armed Forces offer a huge pool of these highly technical and sought after individuals. During the upcoming year, the following personnel are available to recruit:

    • 28,000 in Radio, Radar and Communication
    • 24,000 in Electronic Equipment Repair
    • 22,000 in Aircraft Maintenance
    • 12,000 in Plant Maintenance
    • 12,000 in Vehicle Repairs
    • 12,000 Craftsman (Machinist, Electricians, General Construction, etc.)

Second, they are trainable. The military does a lot of training. Days, weeks, months are spent training for a mission. They give their leaders ample time and opportunity to train and be trained. They train the trainers. What better group will be more adaptable to your business, able to learn your technology and learn how to utilize it in record time? Also, companies that evaluate prospective employees before hiring them have found that military personnel have some of the highest test scores on pre-employment testing for aptitude. Third, they are flexible. In today’s tight labor market, top candidates call the shots for location and salary demands. On the other hand, military candidates realize they have to prove themselves to you. They are eager to do so and are more willing to take an initial assignment that may not be as glamorous as most, but one which could offer a rewarding and fulfilling experience that catapults them into the “civilian” workforce. Shift assignments, remote locations, stressful work conditions, and average pay is the norm for these individuals in the military. Fourth, relocation. With free relocation benefits provided to them by the federal government, and you now have prospects for a hard to fill assignment. In the coming months, I will highlight the skills to look for in military candidates and how to present them to hiring managers. Many hiring managers may not understand that military candidates have skills, which make them valuable on their very first day of work. Typically, the candidates’ resumes don’t capture the true essence of their abilities. Too often, hiring managers will miss the boat by saying, “but I don’t have any aircraft carriers or helicopters!” I speak from experience, as an ex-helicopter pilot myself, hired to become a brand manager many years ago.

Article Continues Below

Bill Gaul ( is President and CEO of The Destiny Group, an Internet-based recruiting tool that utilizes the latest patent-pending technology (including audio/visual) for organizations to use to source men and women departing the military services. Endorsed by all of the U.S. Service Academy Alumni Associations, and three times selected as one of the "50 BEST" by CareerXRoads, this online system is the easiest and lowest cost method to reach transitioning military worldwide, without a per-head fee.

Bill's articles are Copyright 2001, The Destiny Group.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *