How Do Exhibitors Measure Success?
What makes RecruitMilitary job fairs worthwhile for the employers that exhibit? What are they hoping to find at our events? What are we doing or providing that cannot be found elsewhere?
To find out, I attended our event at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver on August 27. I spoke with recruiters who are relatively new to our job fair scene – people who have been attending our events for three or fewer years. I was interested in what caused them to begin attending, and how they measure success after the events. I asked them:
- What brought you to our event?
- How did our representatives influence your decision to come here?
- Why do you like to hire veterans?
- How do you measure success when it comes to your veteran hiring initiatives?
- How do events like this one fit into those plans?
I spoke first with Lindsey Herman and Michael Powder of First Transit, Inc., which is headquartered in Cincinnati. First Transit provides public bus transportation contracting and management services in the United States and Canada. The company is a business unit of FirstGroup plc, which is headquartered in Aberdeen, Scotland. First Transit’s customers include transit authorities such as federal, state, and local transportation departments as well as private institutions, including universities, hospitals, and airports. First Transit attended its first RecruitMilitary job fair in 2014, and has attended three events since. In Denver, the company was hoping not only to fill slots, but also to “get their name out there” to as many veterans as possible. “They served our country, and we want to serve them,” said Powder.
First Transit has found that our representatives have made it simple and easy to sign up for our events. Their RecruitMilitary account executive, Jeanne Buse, provides all of the information they need via phone and email. Herman said that RecruitMilitary’s nationwide schedule of job fairs is extremely useful because First Transit is a nationwide company. “Another thing we really like is that RecruitMilitary provides information on the numbers of registered attendees that will be at the events,” she said. “As a company paying to have employees out there, we find that beneficial. It’s great and allows us to plan for the event.”
First Transit measures the success of its veteran hiring initiatives in a couple ways. First, they track the numbers of applicants they get from events that they attend. They also feel that increased visibility for their company is a measure of success. “We want to make sure that these individuals have the opportunity to learn about First Transit – and get those interviews scheduled and get these veterans hired,” said Powder.
How do RecruitMilitary All Veterans Job Fairs fit into their future hiring plans? First Transit is already planning to attend more events. “Visibility is priceless,” said Herman. “A lot of people think of our client [customer] names and they don’t necessarily think of our name on the back end. So we’ve created a field recruiting team that allows us to travel around the country and have a greater presence at these events – and build brand recognition with the FirstGroup and First Transit names.”
Next, I spoke with Laura Roybal with Terumo BCT, the largest medical device manufacturer in Colorado and a global leader in blood component and cellular technologies. Hospitals, blood banks, and research facilities use their products. Corporate headquarters are in Lakewood, Colorado.
Terumo BCT has come to three RecruitMilitary events since 2012. Why? Roybal told me this: “We want to target veterans because some of the roles we have really lend themselves to folks coming out of the military – electrical, mechanical, production, manufacturing, supply chain. We have jobs in all of those different areas, and would love to fill them with veterans.” Roybal was a big fan of our Denver event. “The location is outstanding,” she said. “It’s the middle of town, and we can get to it easily – and candidates can get here easily.” Roybal also noted that the attendees were especially stellar: “We are seeing a quality of candidates that we really appreciate. We’ve had some engineers come through, and that’s a huge group in our organization.”
Terumo BCT also had a veteran, Michael Freemyer, in its recruiting group at the job fair. The company saw his presence as a way to connect to the candidates, and it proved that veteran success is to be found at Terumo BCT.
Roybal wants to find more employees like Freemyer, whom she described as “very organized and very reliable.” She added that the training servicemembers get helps them transition into a very engaged civilian work force.
Terumo BCT also just wants to give back. “We want to bridge that gap between being in the civilian world and being in the military,” said Roybal.
The company measures success at job fairs by the number of hires it gets. Terumo BCT also tracks data on work interests of veteran attendees. Because Terumo BCT wants to hire veterans, the company attends at least one or two public hiring events a year. In addition, Terumo BCT representatives will visit a veterans hospital and plug in with community work-force centers. Terumo BCT has found that our events are an exceptionally efficient way to find and hire quality veteran talent. “We would absolutely come to a RecruitMilitary event again,” said Roybal.
Colorado State University
Colorado State University, located in Fort Collins, attended its first RecruitMilitary job fair in 2011, and CSU recruiter Chris Mullen has worked six of our events since 2014. Mullen told me that one of the many reasons he likes our job fairs is that they give him the opportunity to talk with so many veterans – usually between 200 and 400 per event. Mullen, like many others, told me that he “loved the venue” because it holds more interest than a conference room and is easy to find.
Most schools that participate in our events are looking for students, but CSU was looking for employees. “We have between 100 and 200 jobs available,” said Mullen, “anything from admissions to facilities to professors.” CSU was hoping to have as many veterans as possible apply to those positions.
Mullen told me that one of the reasons he began to come to our events is the personal approach of Lisa Miller, the RecruitMilitary account executive who works with CSU. “The emails and phone calls are all from her, and it just makes it feel more personal,” said Mullen. He appreciates that he has a single point of contact at our company – and how involved she is.
In fact, Mullen told me that he does not normally take calls from recruiting companies. “Lisa reached out to me,” he said. “Her warm personality, in addition to the company’s mission to get veterans hired, won me over.”
CSU likes to hire veterans because the university appreciates their service and has seen that they bring great leadership skills to work. “They’re just hard workers,” said Mullen. “They don’t mind doing the work that needs to be done. And they have transferable skills.” Mullen measures success not just by how many veterans stop by his booth, but also by how many are qualified applicants. “We track how many veterans make it through the hiring process – not just the application,” he said. “These events bring highly qualified candidates.”
And in the future? CSU has already signed up for the April 2016 RecruitMilitary All Veterans Job Fair in Denver. “We get thousands and thousands of applicants, and we want to hire only the best,” Mullen told me.
Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corporation
Ball Aerospace designs and manufactures products for government and commercial customers. Those products are as large as complete satellite systems and subsystems, and as small as antennas for personal communication services. Company headquarters are in Boulder, Colorado. Christine Grimes, the company’s representative at our job fair, said, “This is a wonderful event. We’re really thrilled to be here.” The company had been to one other event, in April 2013.
In Denver, Ball Aerospace was looking to fill 191 requisitions, and most of the population that the company employs is retired military. “These events are the perfect venue for us to find the talent we’re looking for,” said Grimes. “The folks at RecruitMilitary do a great job in setting up a very talented and polished group of professionals for us to select from.”
Grimes explained that the company finds very professional candidates through RecruitMilitary. “Those who have served in the military have highly transferrable skills for our company,” she said. “Plus, we’re passionate about finding solutions that protect the warfighter, so they are working actively in support of the U.S. government.”
When it comes to veteran hiring initiatives, Ball Aerospace measures success through a return-on-investment tracker. The company tracks the number of hires it gets from each event attended. “We pride ourselves on hiring the top industry talent and creating a broad and diverse workforce,” said Grimes.
“We are all about hiring veterans, especially since the U.S. military promotes and teaches different skill sets that are directly transferable and applicable to our business needs. We are thrilled to be at a RecruitMilitary event where we can find that high-caliber talent. We wouldn’t miss this event for anything.”
The highly personable and knowledgeable recruiters I met have specific hiring goals, and they closely track success according to specific criteria. They come to our events to find high-quality veteran job seekers that they know will be there. Connecting the two sides is what RecruitMilitary is “all about” – as Grimes would put it – and it is always rewarding to see our efforts pay off at these events.
By ELIZABETH STETLER