Self-Assessment and Probing Questions Help Determine Culture Fit

A foot in both the military and civilian worlds gives Todd Skiles a unique perspective. The Army Reservist and Ryder employee shared how transitioning military veterans can unearth whether a company’s culture suits them.

###Discern What Matters Most###

Perform a basic self-assessment to determine what you value most and want in a civilian career. “Most folks are extremely proud of their service and wear their affiliation with pride,” Skiles told Bradley-Morris’s Veteran Influencer Podcast. “So, when you think about what you’re most proud of, how do you describe that to someone else?”

Next, drill down on what surrounds that feeling of pride. Is it the missions? The opportunity for advancement and training? Commitment to a team? Once you understand what made you feel good about your service, you can find companies that offer similar experiences.

###Size Up Culture Through Thoughtful Questions###

Formulate questions around the values that matter to you. Skiles acknowledged that there’s a fine line between probing questions and putting an interviewer on the spot. Nevertheless, he believes in the importance of asking relevant questions around how committed a company is to its employees. Some of those include:

• “What’s your turnover rate?”

• “What’s an average tenure?”

• “How do you train people and develop them for success?”

• “What opportunities for advancement do you offer?”

• “What’s your commitment to family?”

“Gauge the response,” he said. “Does the answer you get make you feel proud? People stick with a company because they share its values and feel cared about as a person. Asking some questions around how they demonstrate that has associated risk. But there’s also risk in not asking.”

Skiles likes it when prospective hires ask about promotions. “Many want to know about their next roles. The people that I’ve respected the most have really dug into that,” he said.

###Best Time to Find a Career###

The current business climate favors the job seeker across the board. “It’s the best economy in the history of our nation to be an employee,” said Skiles. “Unemployment rates are low and there’s a talent scarcity. It’s the best time to be a veteran looking for work in the U.S. economy. Your skill sets are desired. A number of companies like Ryder are actively engaged in finding you.”

He noted that Ryder aims to grow by 10-20 percent each year. “Companies are growing and looking for good employees, and they are committed to the training and development of their employees. The better you are in your role, the less likely you are to stay in it for an extended period. And that’s the exciting part of the civilian world,” Skiles added.