This year at the onrec Expo 2010 (THE Recruiting Conference) a panelist of recruiting experts: Gerry Crispin the Principal and Co-Founder of CareerXroads, Chris Murdock the Founder and Senior Partner of IQTalent Partners, Chad Sowash the Vice President of Direct Employers, and Sean Kelley a Staffing Director at Microsoft, discussed the challenges organizations have faced in recruiting former and active military members, and having them become a successful part of their organization’s team.

For some organizations the difficulties lie in finding the right recruiters to recruit, hire, and place veterans within their organization, but for others - it’s matching the individual veteran skill sets to the right job. According to the panel, the challenges of recruiting and transitioning veterans into an organization can be contributed to:

·         The service members/veterans special mindset: the military is a community built on trust and if trust isn’t established - or worse, broken - focus is lost. Meaning although veterans may be a part of your organization they won’t perform well until they feel they are part of a team they can trust. This mindset - although closely related to that of any organizational breakdown, are as follows:

o   Organization: Know who you are working for

o   Mission: What are the job objectives

o   Unit: Who is on the team

·         They’re looking for ways to mesh: it often becomes difficult for veterans to transition back into the workforce because of the “total team/trust” mindset, the effect of the action they may have seen and/or been a part of, and their total dependency of the military community they were surrounded by during their years of service. This makes it hard to relate to their civilian co-workers of non-military status who often work fiercely independent of others.

·         Underutilization: some of the biggest issues organizations face are they don’t know how to access or use the hiring resources and tools at their disposal in their effort to recruit veterans or, worse, they don’t fully understand and leverage the veterans’ transferable skills and knowledge to the benefit of the civilian workforce.

To stem off these difficulties the panel suggested recruiters learn to translate the value of a veteran (literally) by understand the jobs and trades they’ve accrued during their military training and to familiarize themselves with programs the veterans underwent during enlistment. They also need to learn how to translate the many skill acronyms in any veterans CV. In order to do this, companies will need to “enlist” and train recruiters to understand and translate acronyms for the Military Occupation Codes (MOCs) - to meet service men and women halfway in their transition back into the civilian workforce and if at all possible provide an inclusive environment for the service men and women to become a part of.

The panel provided examples of the some of the best hiring tools recruiters could use to discover the jobs and skills the military offers:

·         Military Crosswalk Search:

·         DOD Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms -

·         and even Acronym Finder:

Columnist and writer Paula Santonocito covered these tools in her “TMT Talk” blog postings on titled “Acronyms for Everything”:

The most resourceful site by-far (suggested by panelist Chris Murdock) is the Military Crosswalk Search, which provides a detailed description of the Jobs, Tasks, Education, Work Context, and so on, preformed by the veterans. A highly useful and powerful tool provided by O*NET OnLine which was created for the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration.

Also suggested by the panelists was to connect with the local veteran representative at both the State Employment and or the local Armed Forces recruitment offices  in order to open the doors more easily for the veterans and help them find your organization and jobs which help them transition back into civilization. By working closely with these representatives, organizations can quickly become known as vet-friendly employers.

Another concern - which can be deterred by using the above resources - is the level of job engagement transitioning veterans face and the underutilization of their transferable skills, which cause them to feel underutilized and leave the organization. To understand their goals, their skills, and how they understand the “mission” is what makes for a successful on-boarding of veterans into the civilian workforce.

Take the time to listen and have at least one military-friendly hiring manager who, like the government, recognize military members are and could be your most powerful asset by leveraging their military training and education, building on the four principals:

·         Loyalty

·         Respect

·         Honor

·         and Teamwork

Here is what VetJobs founder Ted Daywalt has to say about the benefits of recruiting and hiring veterans: “Since the founding of the United States, veterans have played the major role in ensuring the freedoms of our country. While defending America veterans have obtained a myriad of skills, which sets them aside and identifies them as sought-after top employees, which is why the VetJobs byline is Veterans Make the Best Employees.”

He continues to say veterans make the best employees for the following reasons:

Proven Leadership: Veterans were put into leadership roles at early stages of their time in the service. The real world, front line and often battle proven leadership developed in the military is well beyond that of a similar person in a civilian job.

Mission Focused: Every member of the military is used to working in an environment that is focused on the mission at hand. They are not clock watchers, but rather are focused on what it takes to be successful in their mission.

Team Players: From the early stages initial training, all members of the military are used to working in a team environment. Some teams are small, others very large, but all members of the team know that their individual efforts are to support the team in reaching the larger objective.

Work Ethic: The work ethic of veterans is unparalleled due to the need to depend on each other for their lives. Every military person knows that their life and success depends on their team mates. As a result, the work ethic of veterans is vastly stronger than the most civilian work ethic. People who have served in the military are used to working long hours in non-traditional environments.

Training and Education: Today's military veteran has been trained in nearly every occupation imaginable, with a strong emphasis on technology. Most of the training schools of the military that teach technology, leadership, sales, management and operations surpass those available to civilians.

Immediate Contributor: Veterans, through their proven experiences in the military, become valuable contributors from day one of employment. Veterans are used to being challenged, encouraged to demonstrate initiative, think quickly on their feet and give recognition for performance to those who earn it.

Background Checks and Security Clearances: Over 90% of those in the military have had extensive background checks for various levels of security clearances. When you hire a veteran, they are less likely to become a risk to your operation. And if your company requires security clearances, a veteran can save you a great deal of money on special background investigations since the veteran can be transferred in status.

Post Military Education: Most veterans continue their education upon leaving the active duty military. Consequently, there is no job done in the civilian work force that cannot be done by a veteran!

Ted went on to say “Since these men and women are the individuals who have made it possible for America to have freedom and a free enterprise society, hiring a veteran is the right thing to do - and can only benefit your organization.”

About onrec Expo (THE Recruiting Conference)

onrec Expo is’s annual international recruitment conference featuring a wide range of industry-specific topics from the top thought leaders and industry experts - and with the 2009 acquisition of Kennedy Information's Recruiting Conference and, onrec Expo has effectively become the must attend recruitment conference of the year - rebranding themselves as THE Recruitment Conference.

A division of the Tarsus Group - an international B2B media company creating industry-leading events, publications and online media since 1998 - is the world's leading information resource for Human Resource and Recruiting professionals, and is the accompanying website to Online Recruitment Magazine, which takes an in-depth look into recruitment and industry suppliers - helping corporate recruiters, recruitment agencies, and suppliers find the best resources available through a range of media and services. A growing portfolio supported by Tarsus Online Media, features educational and networking products in the talent management, HR and recruiting sector including;,,,, and

For more information on THE Recruiting Conference, contact Anna Brekka at or go to

2010 Exhibitors and sponsors included: ZoomInfo,, Monster Worldwide, Human Resource Management Center (HRMC), Impact Achievement Group, AfterCollege, Q4B Mankuta Gallagher, Maximus Workforce Solutions, Conrep, Talent Hog,, Bond Talent, Beyond, Qualigence, AIRS The RightThing, AccuSearch, Broadlook Technologies,, KellyOCG, MBA Focus, VetJobs, Dice, Alumwire, Dillistone System, Simply Hired, Jigsaw, Madgex, disABLEDperson, Futurestep/The Newman Group, Shaker Recruitment Advertising & Communications, ChicagoJobs, The Value of a Veteran, Sheila Greco Associates, Ivy Exec, Wanted Technologies, Career Corner Digital, FINS, TweetaJob, BountyJobs, Networked Recruiter, CKR Interactive, SmartBrief Jobs, Corp Shorts (RezBuzz), SkillSurvey, and Arbita

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