COMPANIES looking to capitalise on the pool of ex-military talent available to them can make the most of the opportunity by ensuring both sides are speaking the same business language.
While service leavers are encouraged to translate the skills they have learned in the military into those companies can understand, businesses can get a head start by training their recruiters to interpret military experience, or even hiring experienced recruiters from military backgrounds.
Hiring service leavers - what to ask?
Simple steps include teaching recruiters to avoid mistakes by quantifying a candidate's experience - ask them how many people did they supervise, whether they handled budgets, specific training, work schedules and evaluation and performance information.
Businesses can also put a call out to current employees, some of whom might well have military experience, for guidance in translating military skills into civilian ones.
Using military knowledge to find great employees
Unlike civilian companies, which each has its own unique way of working, each branch of the military has a highly-structured hierarchy and pay grade system. However, each branch of the military is also unique and asks different things from its members and recruiters should develop an understanding of the requirements and responsibilities associated with each branch and rank.
By understanding and appreciating the unique and specific aspects of the military, moving away from the idea of service personnel as a homogeneous mass in green or blue, recruiters will be able to pick from a pool of new talent regularly entering the workforce with their powerful combination of purpose, work ethic, leadership and an unmistakable desire to succeed.
Our recruiters making the most of their military experience
At SaluteMyJob, we employ recruiters with military experience to help both candidates and employers navigate the skills translation obstacles either side might face.
Francine McKay served for 13 years in the Royal Air Force as a photographer and a recruitment consultant and she acknowledges the role her military experience plays in her success in recruitment.
"I can usually understand the military jargon on veterans' CVs and this helps enormously in translating it, in collaboration with my candidates, into a language that a hiring manager can understand," she said.
"This avoids a hiring manager misunderstanding or misinterpreting a veteran's skills and makes both the candidate and myself look more professional and aligned to the client's requirements. As soon as I explain to candidates that the reason that I 'get it' is because I am a veteran too, it instantly helps to build a rapport with them.
"For me, it is about helping former Servicemen and women compete strongly against jobseekers with commercial experience. It's also about guiding them to realise that if they want a hiring manager to find them to be competitive, their skills need to be translated into a language that those with no military background can understand. Crystal balls don't work, but plain English does!".
Another of SaluteMyJob's recruitment consultants, Laura Brooke-Smith served in the Army for a decade, briefly as a Junior Non-Commissioned Officer in the Royal Military Police and subsequently as a Commissioned Officer in the Adjutant General Corps (Staff and Personnel Support). Her role involved supporting the human resource needs of military personnel all over the world including Afghanistan and Kenya.
"I worked closely with the various Units that I was attached to so I gained a very good understanding of different cap badges, from the Royal Logistic Corps to the Infantry. I also managed a team of military HR specialists throughout this time and was responsible for their training and career development. Part of my role was as a Unit Resettlement Officer, supporting soldiers and officers in their transition out of the military," she said.
“I have found my military experience invaluable in my role with SaluteMyJob. Firstly, I understand the language our candidates use, both spoken and written. This helps me to provide effective careers guidance and CV advice including translating military skills into civilian language. Secondly, I am able to build a good rapport with our candidates as they know they are speaking to someone who not only understands them, but who has been in their position. Thirdly, I have a thorough understanding of the military resettlement package and entitlements. This means that I can advise candidates on funding they are entitled to for training courses. Finally, my experience means that I can effectively screen job applicants against roles and confidently put forward CV's to our clients in a language that they will understand."
For more information about how to translate military skills into civilian employment, visit our skills translation pages.