Wednesday, September 30, 2015

SmartCCM Think Tank on Veteran Hiring Explores Military Hiring Strategies

Steve Casey, Sr. Partner and Vice President, Strategic Programs at Orion International, recently participated in an innovative think tank hosted by SmartCCM designed to explore best practices in hiring veterans, particularly in the healthcare industry. SmartCCM is a chronic care management company that communicates with patients on behalf of their doctor between visits to provide more consistent and better quality care that improves patient outcomes. In an effort to be the leader in the U.S. in hiring hundreds of Veterans in a new niche in the healthcare industry, the company hosted the SmartCCM Think Tank on Veteran Hiring.

Held in July 2015 in Dallas, TX, the event brought together a variety of people from different veteran backgrounds and non-profit organizations. The event also hosted two Dallas Cowboy Super Bowl players for another perspective on transitions in life, etc. There were a number of company representatives, partner firms, entrepreneurs, etc., in the audience.

SmartCCM conducted the think tank to highlight the need to create a dedicated process to hire, train, and onboard veterans. The panel’s overall themes included the ideas that:
  • Veterans are excellent target for SCCM staff
  • Most veterans have extensive medical field training
  • Veterans will relate well to seniors (may have chronic conditions themselves)
  • Veterans will embrace the mission (a sense of duty, service to others)
  • Veterans are internally motivated
  • Veterans aspire to meet and exceed expectations

Additionally, the panel discussed retaining veterans once they are hired, a subject many companies neglect in developing a military hiring strategy. Their conclusions were that the most critical time is first three months, and that veterans need a path to grow and ultimately advance in the hierarchy. The company will be publishing the results of the panel to various sources.

SCCM is a great example of a company striving to develop the best military recruiting program they can by calling in the experts. Many companies that have not done their research may have no idea how veterans can relate to Corporate America or the real strengths they bring to organizations. This worthwhile event introduced veterans as the quality civilian employees they are, and Orion was proud to be a part of this innovative panel.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Resume War Stoppers: Don't Let Them Keep You From Finding Top Talent

How many times have you looked at the huge stack of resumes on your desk or inbox with dread, knowing that you’ll probably end up with a full recycle bin and very few potential job candidates at the end of the day? If you could advise job seekers as to what not to do when writing a resume, what would you tell them? Take a look at these top resume blunders considered by many employers to be major war stoppers:

Submitting generic or blanket resumes: A resume that is targeted to the job the applicant is applying to is mission-essential. Hiring managers often only have a few seconds to glance through hundreds of resumes for one job opening. A resume is a job seeker’s personal elevator speech. You want to know why the person is right for the job, and you want to see how well that person communicates that message in less than 30 seconds.

Not quantifying successes and achievements: In today’s competitive economy, you need results-driven employees who can help you improve your bottom line and bring value to your organization. Resumes should describe achievements in terms of quantifiable outcomes and how that can benefit a potential employer. It’s not about the job seeker’s objectives, it’s about what the job seeker can do for the employer.

Rampant spellcheck and grammar errors: We’ve all become slaves to technology and editing tools like spell check.  While spell check can be a useful tool, it does not always pick up the differences between words like “its” and “it’s”, “your” and “you’re” and “whose” or “who’s”.   An applicant who takes the time to have a second set of human eyes proofread his or her resume is one who wants the job, and cares about the details.

Too much content: Even if a candidate has 25 years of work experience, hiring managers are most interested in candidates with experience that is current and relevant.  A good rule of thumb is one page for every ten years of work experience, not to exceed two pages.

Not accounting for employment gaps: Employment gaps are sometimes red flags for hiring managers, but they don’t have to be fatal flaws. Applicants who account for their time out of the workforce honestly and effectively are much more likely to make it to the next level in the hiring process. Volunteer work, travel, continuing education are all activities which can enhance professional development and build valuable life skills.

Too much industry-speak: For job seekers transitioning out of the military and other highly specialized industries, acronyms and other field-specific terminology should be kept to a bare minimum.  Resumes should communicate the parallels to the job the applicant is applying to in terms of skill sets, leadership and management experience.

Fancy fonts and formats: Any hiring manager will tell you that when it comes to resume formats, simple is best. Standard MS Word format, with a font size and style that is easy to read such as 12 point Times New Roman or Ariel works nicely. Font color should always be black, and resumes should always be printed on white or off-white paper, not craft or specialty paper. 

Don’t let these resume war stoppers deter you from your mission to find the right candidates. Orion International’s knowledgeable team offers many ways to assist you as you embark on your employee search. Take a look at some of the many programs and services we offer, including our Orion Military Talent Programs™ that can help you and your hiring teams recruit and hire the best talent for your company’s needs.  


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

SpaceX Supervisor Travis Guthrie Featured in GI Jobs

Travis Guthrie, a former Nuclear Machinist Mate who found his career through Orion, is featured in the September issue of GI Jobs in an article titled “Better Off for Having Served”, as well as in a Senior Enlisted Profile. In the cover story, GI Jobs explores how veterans are better off in the workplace because of their service, as opposed to the popular portrayal of veterans unable to assimilate.

Guthrie is highlighted as a great example of this. The article points out that while the media likes to present homeless or traumatized veterans who are unable to find a civilian career because of their service, the majority of veterans like Guthrie are able to successfully transition thanks to their service instead of despite it.

PO1 Guthrie is now a Friction Stir Weld Supervisor with SpaceX, a company that designs, manufactures and launches advanced rockets and spacecraft in-house from the ground up.  The company is actively developing the technologies to make this possible, with the ultimate goal of enabling human life on Mars. With more than 3,000 employees at its headquarters in Hawthorne, California; SpaceX also has launch facilities at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, and Vandenberg Air Force Base, California; rocket development facility in McGregor, Texas; and offices in Houston, Texas; Chantilly, Virginia; and Washington, D.C. SpaceX has proudly partnered with Orion to build a Military Talent Program and has hired more than 200 Veterans from Orion to date.

"SpaceX is like Special Forces... we do the missions that others think are impossible. We have goals that are absurdly ambitious by any reasonable standard, but we’re going to make them happen,” explains SpaceX’s CEO Elon Musk, “We have the potential here at SpaceX to have an incredible effect on the future of humanity and life itself."

Guthrie, hired through an Orion Hiring Conference in San Diego in June 2014, supervises a crew of technicians who build rockets for the company. Guthrie uses his Navy skills every day at SpaceX and knows that it is those very skills that helped him land the job.

Want to learn more about how your company can hire veterans like Guthrie? Click here.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Industry Update: Supply Chain Management, Logistics, and Transportation

In an article posted on Sept. 2, 2015, the Wall Street Journal reported that despite the recent economic crisis in China, the housing market continues to see growth and construction spending has increased to its highest level in seven years, likely fueling more domestic demand for imported goods. This is good news for veterans seeking civilian jobs in the supply chain management, logistics and transportation industries, as their military experience gives them a definitive edge in this competitive job market.
What Makes Veterans an Ideal Fit?
So, what makes veterans ideal candidates for careers in supply chain, logistics and transportation management? Here are just a few of the many transferrable skills and experiences veterans bring to this challenging and growing industry: 
  • They have experience moving people, fuel, food, medical supplies and other materiel over long distances in challenging conditions;
  • They are mission-oriented and adept at overcoming obstacles to ensure success;
  • They have the ability to constantly evaluate multiple variables in constantly   changing conditions to determine needs;
  • They are adept in building and leading diverse and multi-functional teams;
  • They are proficient in using industry standard inventory and supply databases,  software and related technology;
  • They quickly adapt and adjust to changing priorities while staying on target;
  • They respect and observe safety protocols and procedures.
Who is Hiring Veterans?
Many Fortune 500 companies, including the Whirlpool Corporation, Honda, Michelin, as well as Honeywell International and its subsidiaries, employ military veterans in positions such as Procurement, Supply Chain Planning Analyst, Integrated Supply Chain Supervisor, and Logistics Supervisor. These companies and others support their veteran employees through programs and initiatives within their organizations, and engage in community events and causes supporting veterans and their families. As a company founded by former military members, Orion International supports this engagement and strives to connect employers with the highest quality candidates available.
How Can Employers Connect to Military Talent?
Orion International offers many ways to connect employers to top military talent. Hiring events, such as Orion’s Regional and Distinguished Candidate Conferences offer employers opportunities to connect in person to candidates at an invitation-only event which is tailored to both employer and candidate needs.
Want to exceed the hiring standard for your organization by employing top military talent? Visit Orion’s Hire Military page today to learn about Orion’s Military Talent Programs™, recruiting services, temp to perm/contract services, and hiring events.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

2nd Annual Patriot Challenge 5K - September 26, 2015

Show Your Colors in support of Military Veterans!

Patriot Challenge 5K
Cary, North Carolina

September 26, 2015
Koka Booth Amphitheatre | 8003 Regency Pkwy, Cary, NC 27518

The first Patriot Challenge in September 2014

Join us for the 2nd Annual Patriot Challenge 5K at Cary's Koka Booth Amphitheatre! This family friendly event will feature a timed 5K run/walk for adults and kids alike, and plenty of fun for the whole family.

Proceeds directly benefit our partner Veteran Organizations - Operation Military EmbraceChildren of Fallen Patriots Foundation, and Warrior HikeDue to contributions and participation, we were able to raise a total of $23,809 for our three partner charities last year, with 268 runners in attendance. 

Orion is pleased to host a variety of sponsors this year, including L&E Research, Systematic Business Consulting, Omega Sports, and Sheetz. Corporate Sponsor packages for this year are still available, as well as In-Kind Donations. You can make an Individual Donation here. All sponsorships and donations are tax deductible.

Click here to learn more and register.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

6 Reasons Veterans aren't Applying to your Company

Many companies realize the value of hiring veterans but are left wondering why veterans aren't applying to their company. When it comes to recruiting veterans, a one-size-fits-all approach is not a good idea. Recruiting methods need to be targeted and appropriate. Falling into the trap of one of the six big mistakes can cost a company a talented new employee.

1. Your Careers website is not veteran-friendly. A generic Careers website doesn't speak to veterans, since many are coming straight out of the military. In fact, veterans come from a unique situation with a variety of skill sets and expectations. It is important to highlight the veteran culture at your company in a way that validates your veteran preference. Examples include listing press releases of your work with veterans, Veteran Spotlights, Partnerships Awards / recognition, and military-friendly HR policies.

2. Your Hiring Managers do not understand how to translate military experience. This is a major mistake that can lead to the loss of qualified veteran candidates. It is important to cross-reference your job descriptions with veteran skills and to educate your hiring managers on what military occupations translate well into what positions, as well as the intangibles that often make possibly less-experienced veterans more qualified for your positions.

3. Your hiring process is confusing and slow as molasses. In the military, veterans are given a clear course of promotion and are kept informed along the way. They expect the same in their civilian hiring process. Your hiring process should be clearly explained, including describing how long it takes and what is involved, and should move along at a good pace with good communication. Often, good veteran candidates are lost because they perceive a lack of communication to be a lack of interest.

4. Your hiring message is not appropriately targeted to veterans. When issuing messaging about hiring veterans, it is important to provide quantifiable evidence giving the number of veterans hired and giving legitimacy to their efforts through lists of their veteran perks. Simply saying, “We’re hiring veterans,” is not enough. A better message would be: Company XYZ has committed to hiring 100 veterans for technical positions throughout 2015 and 2016.

5. You don’t develop and train your veteran employees. Simply hiring veterans is not enough to continue to attract veteran employees. Veterans often expect that their career progression be clearly defined as it was in the military. Also in the military, they were given the tools to succeed through various schools and training. Civilian companies can mirror this structure through the implementation of Leadership development programs, Veterans affinity groups, annual skills assessments, and Mentorship programs.

6. You don’t understand the importance of referrals and word-of-mouth marketing. Most transitioning service members rely on referrals, their personal networks, alumni associations, or firms specializing in placing military.  Often, they have never before been required to conduct a job search and tend to seek the counsel of fellow veterans that have previously made a successful transition. This reliance on word-of-mouth can hurt you in the military community, as a recent survey revealed that 83% of candidates in general tell their family and friends about their experience and 64% spread the word on social media.

These six mistakes can easily stand between your company and hiring from the most talented labor pool this country has to offer. But they don’t have to. With a little research, effort, and teamwork, companies can highlight their military recruiting efforts in a way sure to attract qualified veteran candidates.

To learn more about how you can market your company to veteran candidates, click here. You can also view our Best Practices for Successful Military Talent Programs here.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

4 Ways Hiring Veterans Can Save You Money

For the thousands of companies today that are actively recruiting veterans, surely one of the biggest motivators is a sense of patriotism. And while this is certainly one admirable reason to hire veterans, we here at Hire a Hero have espoused both the tangible and intangible skills that these men and women bring to the civilian workforce. However, there is yet another reason to hire veterans--there are significant cost benefits associated with hiring veterans.

1. Tax Benefits to Hiring Veterans

On December 19, 2014, President Obama signed into law the Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014, which provided for the temporary extension of more than 50 tax breaks, most of which expired at the end of 2013. The bill was retroactive and covered the entire 2014 tax year. Included in these extenders was an extension of the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) tax credit, which expired on December 31, 2013. Through this bill, WOTC was retroactively put in place through 2014, for eligible veteran employees who began work before January 1, 2015. This credit has obviously expired for now, but it could likely be extended again.

WOTC contains provisions for both the Returning Heroes Tax Credit, which provides incentives of up to $5,600 for hiring qualified unemployed veterans, and the Wounded Warriors Tax Credit, which provides credit for long-term unemployed veterans with service-connected disabilities to up to $9,600. Learn more about Federal Tax Credits for Hiring Veterans.

There are also other programs which offer state and local tax benefits to hiring veterans in addition to federal credits. For example, Utah has the Veteran Employment Tax Credit, which provides tax credits for the first year beginning at $200 per month, not to exceed $2,400 per year and increases the second year to $400 per month, not to exceed $4,800 per year, for each veteran hired. Learn more about additional state tax credits for hiring veterans, and check with your state Department of Labor to learn about the tax benefits of hiring veterans in your state.

2. Relocation Cost Savings

Each branch of the military pays the final relocation costs for its service members, resulting in several thousand dollars in cost savings per hire. The military will also pay for the veteran to put their belongings into storage for up to a full year at no cost, which is especially useful if a training program is required in a different location than where the candidate will ultimately work.

3. Lower Health Care Premiums

Physical fitness is of great importance in the military, and generally speaking, veterans are in good physical condition. This translates into cost savings for employers on health premiums and claims filed by veterans. Retired veterans (who are young as 37) are eligible to receive free health care coverage for life through TRICARE, the military's health care program, as well as reduced cost for their family members. In addition, all separated military members have at least basic eligibility to use the Veterans Administration system for qualified medical issues. Many military reservists choose to use a TRICARE supplement, rather than utilizing their employer's plan.

4. Workplace Safety Cost Reductions

It is estimated that workforce safety injuries cost American industry over $18.3 billion annually. Military professionals are trained to work efficiently while physically overexerted and with quick, precise reactions. Safety is paramount in the military and veterans bring this focus with them to the civilian workforce.

There are many benefits to hiring military professionals. Learn more about the Advantage of choosing Orion as your military employment recruiter.