From Service to Getting Veterans Hired
Larry Slagel, Chief Operating Officer of Bradley-Morris/RecruitMilitary, thought long and hard about joining the armed forces. His father and uncles served in the Army and Air Force. “In the lineage of my family, there was only one Marine, a great-uncle who served in the island-hopping campaign in World War II,” he said.
“By junior year in college I was set on joining the military. I wanted to serve my country. I wanted a challenge. I wanted to be different than my buddies, but I had no idea which branch to join. I sought out recruiters from each branch and thought I was sold on the Navy. That was until I met with the Marines,” Slagel recalled. “The second I encountered the Marine captain who recruited officers, the whole vibe was different. A serious, ‘don’t waste our time’ attitude seemed to be the theme. After having all the other branches tell me what they could offer me, I anxiously anticipated what he would say. Then it came: nothing. He told me, ‘We can’t offer you anything except the greatest physical and mental challenge you have ever had.’ That was it; I was in 100 percent!”
Strides in Hiring Veterans
The progress that’s been made in the veteran-to-civilian hiring niche over the last decade is nothing short of incredible, according to Slagel. He notes that veteran unemployment currently sits at a 50-year low at 2.9 percent, with civilian unemployment coming in nearly a full percentage point higher at 3.7 percent. “Corporate America has discovered that hiring veterans is one of the smartest business moves a company can make,” he pointed out. “I remember years ago hearing about how tragic it was that veterans could not find jobs. They weren’t qualified enough; no one knew what to do with an infantry, tank, or artillery veteran. That thinking has certainly changed, and I’d like to believe that Bradley-Morris and RecruitMilitary have played a huge part in helping educate Corporate America on why hiring veterans is a very wise business decision.”
Favorite Part About Being a Marine
“I loved being part of an elite team. The pride, esprit de corps, and the ‘never say die’ attitude were so much more than just words,” Slagel said. “I met and worked alongside so many talented Marines, both enlisted and officers, and learned from every one of them. Being in the Marine Corps made me feel like my existence meant something to the United States. Overwhelmingly, the best part about being a Marine, was the friendships I still have more than 30 years later.”
Advice to Employers
Slagel’s message to employers in 2019 is very simple: if you are not hiring veterans, you are missing a unique opportunity. “You must explore how you can connect with, interview, and hire military veterans. And if you are interviewing veterans, be aware of the veteran unemployment numbers,” he warns. “Act decisively and aggressively to hire a veteran that you interview and like, because if you drag your feet or approach the hiring process nonchalantly, you’ll lose your chance.”
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