Know your KPAs to better hire military

Hiring Veterans is great for business (see this study by the Center for a New American Security for an example proof point) and is being actively encouraged at the highest levels in our country. Our CEO, Sandy Morris, who was invited to the second anniversary of the Joining Forces initiative at the White House, can personally attest to this (pictured here at the event with BMI’s Chief Business Development Officer Craig Griffin).

This accepted national paradigm also fosters new questions from employers, questions that run the gambit from how to recruit military, to the culture fit of military, to military-to-civilian skills translation. So before you go “taking the Hire Military hill”, let’s noodle on hiring needs.

It starts with your hiring focus. Separating must have skills from institutional bias is paramount. Saying, “We love navy nukes” is a lot different than explaining why you love them. Maybe you’re a nuclear power plant and the nuclear training is a must have. However, is what you love about these candidate more their engineering core, or their technical skills, or do you have a specific focus on electrical, electronics, mechanical or chemistry skills? My point is maybe you need nukes or maybe there are other military technical backgrounds that will also work. Opening the position requirements and then focusing in on KPAs (Key Performance Areas) betters your odds for a “Rock Star” hire.

Opening the requirements is Headhunter 101 and helps to broaden the candidate pool and may reduce your cost per hire. It’s also a common-sense approach to focusing on performance and building better teams. Start by asking, “What do we need this person to accomplish?”

For instance, if the job description is for a project engineer who must have an engineering degree – Do they really need the degree or do they simply need to “speak engineer” so that they can effectively communicate with design, field, manufacturing or application teams? A military savvy search might include those military job seekers who have received a core engineering curriculum but their undergraduate degree is in a non-engineering area.

This specialized knowledge is where Bradley-Morris, Inc. comes to the fore. We help organizations open their hiring managers to military-experienced candidates who they often see as non-traditional. We help them understand where candidates they would not typically interview fit into the organizational chart and also how they will become their next generation of leaders. It’s why I love coming to work every day!

Bobby Whitehouse

P.S. Another White House Photo: