Are You Shooting Yourself in the Foot During the Hiring Process?

There’s a grim joke going around recruiting circles these days about the country’s historic unemployment lows and the candidate-driven climate: if you can fog a mirror, you can get a job in today’s market. Gallows humor aside, opportunities abound, and if you’re a veteran job seeker, even more so. Your skill set, work ethic and problem-solving capabilities are highly sought after in Corporate America. Nevertheless, you can still wind up empty-handed if you make these mistakes:

###Expecting the Job to Be Handed to You###

Military service is a bonus, but you’ve got to put in the work. “Some veteran candidates just don’t know any better, me included,” said one Army veteran. “Just because you served in the military does not mean that a job will just be given to you. Companies want veteran talent and the work ethic that comes with serving. But you still must interview and prove that you are the best asset for that organization.”

###Getting Hung Up on a Title###

Believing that because you held a leadership role or rank that you should automatically be offered opportunities at the same level immediately after separation will set you up for disappointment. The reality is that civilian organizations use systems, protocols, software, products, and missions that differ from the military. New hires must learn their way of business before giving receiving the reins. Job seekers should not see this as a negative. Instead, make any grooming process work for you by using the time to ensure that you’re up to speed on your new company’s methods and procedures.

###Translating Your Experience###

Many companies do an outstanding job of educating themselves about veterans and have worked to build military hiring initiatives to attract the best talent as well as foster a strong culture for transitioning military. Others are still in the learning process, and many still rely solely on a veteran job seeker’s ability to articulate where they can fit in and how they can be an asset.

The bottom line: it’s your responsibility to identify your strengths, translate your experience, and articulate why you’d be a good fit for the role and company.

###Not Being Prepared###

“It hurts when I speak to recruiters at our hiring events who tell me they found a great candidate, but later discovered in an interview that this person had not completed any research on the opportunity, company, culture, etc.,” said Adam O’Toole, Director of Partner Relations for Bradley-Morris/RecruitMilitary. “Companies want a candidate who has taken the time to find out who they are and the opportunity they are looking to fill. If you arrive at an interview expecting to obtain the necessary information from that meeting, you have already set yourself up for failure.”

Unemployment statistics continue to tell the story of a candidate’s job market. Veteran job seekers who put in the work to showcase their skills will come out ahead.