Tapping the Military Community

In the past, employment managers have paid dearly to find inroads to the pools of Junior Military Officers, academy grads, technical NCOs/Petty Officers, and other segments of the military community highly sought after in today’s employment market. The easiest method was to tap placement firms, but at an average cost of $5,000 to $15,000 per placement, it is also the most costly. A second approach was to run classified advertisements in military specific periodicals, but with an average cost of $2,800 or more to run a campaign, your tab can add up quickly without guaranteed results. Finally, the most aggressive and tireless recruiters would develop their own networks at military bases, with frequent trips to keep their contacts fresh. However, with their specialized needs, these recruiters were not as effective as the “generalists”?since you may have to kiss a thousand frogs to find a prince. Enter the Internet. Instead of going to the applicants, have them come to you! Within the past few months, there has been a tremendous amount of activity in developing online communities. Unlike specific job boards that assist those in transition, these online communities keep in contact with both active and passive candidates by offering value and content between natural points of career change. (After all, isn’t everyone available for the right price?) <*SPONSORMESSAGE*> The military community is a natural one to tap, and with millions of dollars at stake in e-commerce, venture capital poured in to create mega-sites like military.com, militaryhub.com, and others. With huge advertising budgets, and military specific content, these sites are beginning to register the thousands of military members who desire to be connected to custom designed information, via the web. It’s a natural for a smart hunter to now drop bait at watering holes like these! But according to an article in USA Today, too much of a good thing may be hazardous to a site’s long-term health. It predicts that there will be a shakeout in the coming months, bringing the number of major portals that cater to the military down to only one or two. Only the best positioned will survive, as “the big grab” continues for market share. In this process, each of the sites is developing career channels to add more content for their visitors and to provide an affordable option for employers who wish to come in contact with applicants. Before choosing a long-term contract though, an employer may wish to investigate the site’s strategy and strategic partners to insure they will be around for the long haul. More importantly, when an employer flashes their logo or job postings on any site?but specifically ones that cater to the military?with a hyperlink back to their own website, an employer can score points by customizing the page the applicant is brought to. Using a “one size fits all” strategy doesn’t make for an intuitive application process for someone in transition. After all, upon landing on your site after visiting a military-specific site, the applicant will realize “they aren’t in Kansas anymore,” and may be a little disoriented. Why not make it easy for them to apply for specific positions by creating customized pages that feature testimonials from previous military hires highlighting the experiences they had, making them valuable to their new employers? Once a potential applicant sees a logical track, it will make your job easier in classifying potential applicants by following proven past successes.

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Bill Gaul (bgaul@destinygrp.com) 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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