Preparation and Strength in Numbers Leads to Virtual Career Fair Success
David Best enjoys helping qualified veterans and military spouses land at Humana after leaving the service, just as he did in 2013 after 32 years on U.S. Army active duty. “I was a high school dropout and joined up at age 17. I spent ten years in tanks and armored vehicles, and 22 as a career counselor. I earned a graduate degree, a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, and retired as a Sergeant Major (E-9),” he said. He worked as a re-enlistment NCO to encourage his fellow soldiers to continue in the military, a role one must be invited to apply for in the Army.
Best began his time at Humana working on a platform migration project and then as an assistant program manager for a lean startup using agile project management (PM) methodology. “Networking and having my Lean Six Sigma Black Belt certification helped me get in at Humana,” he said. Some of his Lean Six Sigma colleagues had landed Humana post-service and kept him abreast of openings. He found a great leader in his first boss there. “She knew I had other talents to further the goals of the business unit and ending up being a mentor to me. We are in touch still,” he said.
Being an active member of Humana’s Veteran’s Network Resource Group helped Best discover and apply for his current role, which played to his career counseling strengths. “It’s my dream job. I’m happy I can get up every day and serve the military community, and it gives me the opportunity to learn and to continue to be inspired every day,” he said.
One of the avenues Humana has used to attract top veteran talent has been RecruitMilitary’s Virtual Career Fairs. “It’s a new avenue for us, and it affords so many possibilities,” Best said. “The virtual events covered 18 states, so we were able to expand who we were talking to.”
However, when it comes to success at a virtual career fair, Best believes there is strength in numbers. “You have to be prepared for a lot of people,” he said. “There’s so much activity going on during these events, and it can’t be handled by one or two people, no matter how ambitious you are. And it’s important to reply to candidates as quickly as possible in that environment.”
Preparation was the key to Humana’s success in maximizing all the benefits these virtual events offered. Best and his team of six recruiters met ahead of time to walk through the website hosting the fair. Wanting to give veterans lots of reasons to stay in Humana’s virtual booth, Best created a resource package made up of downloadable resume templates and tips, an explanation of the hiring process, and a spreadsheet of open roles within Humana connected to hot links. In addition, he also made a slide show about what hiring managers really want to see on a resume.
Best often works as a go-between for veteran applicants and their spouses. He reviews applications for qualifications and connects with a recruiter he finds a fit. He also helps recruiters navigate the often-confusing world of military jargon. “Many resumes may list duties that can get lost in translation. I give a heads-up to a recruiter and explain the civilian counterpart,” he said.
Best believes veterans fit well into the company culture at Humana. “We have a family environment here like the military, with shared values and similarities. One of the things I love about Humana is that we all push toward a common goal, which many veterans valued the most during their service,” he said. “Veterans thrive here because they are used to being taken out of their comfort zone. The military trains people in specialized roles, but also puts them in foreign places doing things from sourcing water to resolving conflicts. That infuses veterans with the confidence they need to lead and do the right thing. From there, they can take on anything.”
Just as companies prepare for virtual career fairs, so must veteran candidates. Best advised, “Learn something about the companies before going into a booth. Then you can lead with something like this statement: “I’ve been researching Humana and I see you do a lot of project management work. I do that type of work now, and it’s something I’m interested in continuing. What would it take for me to do that at Humana?”
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