Ready… Aim… HIRE! Target the appropriate military rank for your opportunities

If you have an established military hiring program for your organization, you may already be familiar with some of the terms to describe the talent available. Terms such as JMO, FMO, NCO, Retirees, Separated, Active Duty, Enlisted, etc. If you aren’t tapping into each of these groups for selected opportunities, you may be missing out on one of America’s best kept secrets. Within the military, there are six basic groups; each classification has unique skills and educational backgrounds. Of course, there are always exceptions, but for the most part here is a description of the six basic groups. Enlisted Personnel: These individuals have entered military service immediately upon graduating High School or equivalent. After attending basic (boot camp) training and successfully meeting service standards, they are sent to Advanced Individual Training (AIT) which gives them in depth instruction in the area of their specialty. This can range from telecommunications to equipment maintenance to language training, etc. This specialization is chosen by the enlistee prior to entering the military and is tested for aptitude before training begins. Once training has been completed, they will report to their first assignment, where in reality, they will really learn how to do their job with hands on experience. Many come to the military for this advanced training, and once their commitment is finished (2-4 years), they will be seeking opportunities in the civilian sector. Some will continue on, advancing in rank and responsibility. Quite a few have veteran benefits to attend college and additional training schools, with the government paying a large share of this educational expense. NCO/PO: Non-Commissioned Officers and Petty Officers are enlisted personnel that have chosen to remain in the military service beyond their first enlistment and may range from 4-30 years of service. They have proven supervisory skills, technical skills, and years of hands on experience. Although most would consider this group the “blue collar” workforce supervisors of the military, there are many instances where this group has demonstrated tremendous responsibilities and expertise. Over 46% have graduated or attended college, and some even have advanced degrees. Personally, having served as an officer myself and having a father who was a NCO, I would consider these individuals the backbone of the military. Warrant Officers/LDO: Due to a specialized field of training and/or proven expertise, the military elevates this group above the rank of NCO into the Officer ranks. Their training could be in maintenance, property management/logistics, finance, technical services, or piloting to name a few areas. These individuals usually have a college degree, or are in the pursuit of one. More importantly, they have passed stringent testing requirements to insure that before the government invests heavily in their training, they have the aptitude to complete it satisfactorily. JMO: Junior Military Officers are the most sought after group. Jack Welch, CEO of GE stated in Business Week that he was profoundly impressed with JMO’s and encouraged all of his business units to hire hundreds in the past few years. Needless to say, GE has done well for itself under Jack, and continues to have an active JMO recruitment program today. After completing college, this individual must serve an initial term of 3-5 years, after which they may separate. A JMO is an officer that has served between 3-8 years in the military, performing a combination of direct supervisory roles, and technical expertise in some capacity. They have proven leadership under stressful conditions, and a sense of responsibility far in excess of others in their age group. Some begin an MBA program while in the military, many chose to attend some of the finer business schools after they finish their commitment, using their veteran benefits. Mid-Level (Staff) Officers: Serving between 5-15 years in the military, and completing at least one major command, mid level officers are usually put into a staff role awaiting selection for a higher command. Military hierarchy is much like a pyramid; there are fewer opportunities to command as you climb the chain. Staff officers are excellent project managers and have developed tremendous presentation skills. They know how to analyze data, work within groups, gain commitments, and strategically plan. Many obtain advanced degrees at night and on the weekends, further demonstrating time management skills and a sincere desire to develop an area of expertise. Senior Officers: Having served 15-30 years as an officer, or in some cases, coming up through the ranks as prior enlisted, this group has it all. They have a combination of command/staff position experience, and years of executive education. Most have advanced degrees and are expert leaders, planners, communicators, and analysts. This group has demonstrated successfully that they are results oriented and understand how to take care of employees. They are mature, seasoned, and yet trainable and desire to translate their people skills and proven leadership to a variety of industries. Depending on your recruitment strategy, each of these groups may have something to offer you. You will be pleasantly surprised that they will not only meet your expectations, they will beat them! Set your sights on the right group and you will be pleased with the results.

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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.


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