Job Recruiters Need to Recognize Value of Military Service

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2011-11-11 Print this article Print

They have experience working in teams that function in even the most difficult circumstances. They have managed people under conditions that are nearly impossible to describe. These people have learned to work under conditions that are so difficult that most workers in the United States would refuse outright.

One of the things that I learned in my career in the military is that there's more to management than simply ordering people around. It's true that as an officer, the people who worked for me were duty-bound to follow my orders, but you don't build an effective team that way. You build an effective team because people see you as a leader, and want to be part of your team. The truth is, you cannot order a person to give up their life for you-the only way they will take an action that could result in their own sacrifice is because they believe in you as a leader and are willing to do it for you and the team.

To squander this pool of leaders at all levels that have learned teamwork so effectively is to give up your company's chance at the best management and the best work force you could possibly have. Out there in the labor pool, unemployed or under employed are the people who could transform your company. All you have to do is bring them on board.

Of course, you will have to make some adjustments. Some of these priceless employees have already given more than you will ever ask of them, so you may need to accommodate their wheelchairs or their prosthetics. Quite frankly you should feel honored to do so.

But you will also need to make some adjustments in how your recruiting process and your HR departments work. Those automatic resume screening packages that you use to turn away people who at least at first glance aren't qualified also turn away veterans. But those packages can have their parameters adjusted.

And those recruiters who don't understand that the word "combat" means collaboration and leadership can be trained. But most of all, you have to realize that you're missing out on what is a huge competitive advantage, because ultimately every business depends on the quality of its people.

Several times on this Veterans Day, people have thanked me for my service and I appreciate that. But the best way you can thank me and the tens of thousands of other veterans is to help them find real, rewarding work. They are a national treasure. Please recognize them for that. 

Wayne Rash Wayne Rash is a Senior Analyst for eWEEK Labs and runs the magazineÔÇÖs Washington Bureau. Prior to joining eWEEK as a Senior Writer on wireless technology, he was a Senior Contributing Editor and previously a Senior Analyst in the InfoWorld Test Center. He was also a reviewer for Federal Computer Week and Information Security Magazine. Previously, he ran the reviews and events departments at CMP's InternetWeek.

He is a retired naval officer, a former principal at American Management Systems and a long-time columnist for Byte Magazine. He is a regular contributor to Plane & Pilot Magazine and The Washington Post.

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