Memorial Day Message to HR – Hire the Military, Make a Difference.

by Deborah on July 28, 2013

When First Sgt. Matt Eversmann spoke at the inaugural HR Florida Leadership Summit held this month in Bonita Springs, he asked the group of senior Human Resources executives in the audience if they were ready for the strategic shock that is coming. “Will we lead the way? Will we be courageous”?

This article posted last year showed veteran unemployment rates to be staggering, so with thousands more returning from Afghanistan over the next couple of years, our brave men and women who come home will surely face some challenges to get reestablished and gainfully employed.

An article posted by MSNBC: younger veterans want to work but face roadblocks , brought to mind a story that a friend shared with me several weeks back. Her son spent time in the army (in Afghanistan) and had a recent run in interview with a publicly traded company here in South Florida. Some of the questions and comments from Mr. Interviewer look something like this:

• “Saw your resume and we called you because of (xyz college), but I don’t understand why you bothered getting a masters”?

• “You went for your masters after the army for more opportunity….good because the Army doesn’t do much for your chances.”

• “So, if you are top of your class and researched areas you wanted to work before you graduated, why is it you’re still jobless? Is there a problem with you?”

Then Mr. Interviewer proceeds to talk on his cell phone during the meeting while two other people interview him. And for you HR folks about ready to throw your fist through the computer you’ll be happy to know that Mr. Interviewer was NOT in HR, he was the CIO. Scary isn’t it?

They fought for our freedom – don’t make them fight for a job too.

My friend’s son said the interviewer made him feel “horrible” for not having a job 1.5 months after graduating and that they would need to offer him “a lot of money to work under this guy”. It turns out that the position had been open for months and to quote my friend “it’s hard to believe someone in a position as CIO has no class or courtesy”.

So to help these brave men and women returning, not only do we need to consider developing a plan for military hiring (if we don’t already have one) – we need to have a word with our hiring managers and provide guidance on what to say (and what NOT to say) when we’re interviewing them.

And if you’re wondering what happened to my friend’s son, I’m happy to say that he landed a job – a dream job at that.

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