5 Tips for Developing a Winning Military Hiring Strategy

I recently learned a new acronym from an Army infantry leader: METT-T (Mission, Enemy, Terrain, Troops – Time). This acronym is commonly used for battlefield analysis and the organization of a plan of defense. I believe this acronym can likewise be applied to a winning military hiring strategy for your team. These are five simple tips that are easy to implement:

Mission – When hiring, too often the focus moves away from the mission. Sometimes you try to predict the future and disappear down the “What if?” rabbit hole when reading resumes. You might also set an expectation that candidates should have certain rare experiences, which is equally distracting and unreasonable. This will easily narrow the candidate pool to zero. You must focus on the open position, strip it down to the most basic of skills, and broaden transferrable skills to expand the military talent pool.

Enemy – In business, this is knowing your competition. Where do they have the advantage and what is a weakness you can leverage? I’ve helped many employers by making their opportunity appear more personal and appealing to a military-experienced candidate vs. a competitor. In the current job climate, a returned call or status update goes a long way to gaining a prospective employee’s trust. There are many employer brand pitfalls that a strong competitor can take advantage of and win.

Terrain – Knowing the environment that you are operating in is of critical importance. This is not the employer market of 2001 or 2008. We are seeing competition increase for STEM and high tech positions. Have you shopped your salary ranges recently or completed a cost of living adjustment? Have you assessed your talent source or adjusted your hiring strategy for 2017? The environment is ever-changing and, if you have not experienced growth in a while, you may be surprised when you get out from behind your desk and gain a new perspective. Be on top of the changes by developing an evolutionary strategy with regard to the hiring climate.

Troops – Do the internal assessment. How many employees are eligible for retirement? What is your employee satisfaction and engagement like? As the economy continues to turn for the positive, do you know where your team is looking? Know the current morale and wellness of your team and keep in mind their possible moves in order to keep the hiring plan current and fluid.

Time – In business, it is known that “time kills deals”. Sometimes a tactical pause is the right call, but the speed in which you engage your hiring process sets the tone for its success. It’s not about making a quick decision, but about making a deliberate decision. Potential employees will respond in kind to a timely and well-organized process. I might hint at a candidate, “These guys have their act together. Do you see yourself on a team like this?” Time is not completely fool proof, but statistics show that a quicker response time wins over a longer response time by an 80% margin. It is also proven that shorter processes produce better hires.

These five tips should help with your overall hiring efficiency. Does your team currently implement any of these? What is the biggest hiring barrier that could be improved? I look forward to your feedback and comments.

Bobby Whitehouse