Wednesday, March 25, 2015

How to Hire Top Military Officers through National Events

Orion International held its first Distinguished Candidate Conference (DCC) of 2015 in Houston, TX, earlier this month.  For this latest DCC, as with every DCC, our recruiters work hard to make the best possible match for each and every candidate and client attending. We pride ourselves in being able to provide as much information as possible to both the candidates and the companies in attendance in advance of the conference.  

Our DCCs offer a unique format, designed to maximize our clients’ chances of connecting with the right candidate, including the following:
  • 30 minute Client Presentations to the candidates 
  • Socializing with the candidates and other Hiring Managers, at our President's Reception following the Keynote Address on Monday evening. This element provides every candidate the chance to interact with all of the companies they are interested in, even if they are not scheduled for a formal interview the next day.
  • Pre-screened, assessed, qualified Officer Candidates suitably matched for your particular hiring needs
  • A private and professional interview setting
  • Personalized attention to ensure the best in customer service, including insight on the candidates and advice on the most effective hiring strategy
Our candidates at these events include Service Academy Graduates and graduates of the nation's top universities, candidates with MBAs and other advanced degrees, those with PMPs, PEs, and other professional certifications, candidates who have consistently ranked well above their peers in their professional military evaluations, and those who are willing to relocate and are geographically flexible.

The feedback from clients attending our DCCs is consistent every year, with hiring authorities saying it is the best way to find their company's next leaders. “I had a great experience at the Orion DCC I attended, as always, " explains Brandon Cates, Divisional Vice President at Sears Holdings, "The candidates were well prepared, and the DCC was smooth and well run.” 

In 2014, more than 90 client companies strategically hired Orion's Military Officers through our Distinguished Candidate Conferences, with nearly 45% making multiple hires. Companies like including Bank of America, BASF, Caterpillar, Cintas, ConocoPhillips, Georgia-Pacific, Honeywell, Medtronic, Michelin, Nestle Waters, PepsiCo, Pulte Group, Whirlpool, and many others, have taken advantage of this unique recruiting opportunity.

Orion only holds a limited number of DCCs each year, so opportunities to attend are limited. If you would like to recruit from the very top tier of Military Officers transitioning from Active Duty at an upcoming Orion DCC, please click here. Or request more information on an upcoming DCC:
Orion's Executive Leadership Team are also available throughout these events to meet and discuss your company's talent planning and how our dedicated on-boarding programs, assessment tools, and other enterprise-scale service offerings may be able to support your organization in 2015 and beyond.

Click here to learn more.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Veteran Spotlight: John Wittig

Hire a Hero sat down with John Wittig, a former Navy Nuclear Instructor, whom Orion recently matched with a career at Cytec, a specialty chemicals and materials technology company.

John received his B.S. in Math and Physics from Xavier University in Cincinnati, OH, and then went on to earn his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Cincinnati. After completing his Ph.D., he joined the Navy as an Officer to train Naval Nuclear Operators in safe operations of naval nuclear reactors and emergency procedures and analysis in Charleston, SC, at the Navy Nuclear Power Training Command (NNPTC).  

Near the end of John’s tour of duty, he attended a DistinguishedCandidate Conference in Baltimore, MD, hosted by Orion International. At the conference John met Cytec’s Cluster 2 Manufacturing Director, a former Navy Nuclear Officer himself, which would later steer John down the path to employment.  “It was through the amazing guidance provided by the entire Orion team that I had the confidence to be myself and present the best version of my abilities during the interview,” John states.

After the Distinguished Candidate Conference, John was offered a site visit to meet the Site Manager and Quality Manager. From there, John was offered the position of Quality Engineer, which he readily accepted.

Just six weeks into his new position, John was offered the role of Labor Strike Contingency Manager. “I had learned from Orion that you should never turn down a work assignment, and so I accepted the offer immediately,” he states.

John was tasked with performing all safety related investigations presenting findings and corrective actions to site and union leadership. He was rewarded with the Power of One operations leadership team recognition for his ability to diffuse very tense situations through keeping a cool head and allowing data and facts to drive outcomes versus emotions. 

After the labor union contract was ratified, John was offered a position as a Production Area Leader for a relatively small business unit.  He had held this position for three weeks when both the site and operations managers left for an executive leadership team meeting in mid-March 2014. Showing great leadership, John stepped in and ran the site. He managed to run the largest business unit, quickly putting together a two-part plan to focus resources on tackling the major engineering issues Cytec faced, as well as building a bridge to re-engage and re-energize the labor force.

John is proud to report that as of February 2015, the site has experienced six consecutive months of a greater than 90% delivery performance and the first month in recorded site history when they have been able to beat the labor cost budget.  It was because of his leadership and success that John was offered the position of FengXian (Shanghai, China) Plant Manager.

For John, the most rewarding aspect of his career is the team that he has built around him to support his vision. “The business unit is far too complicated for one person to do everything. My success could only be achieved by having the right people in the correct roles that trust me and are willing to follow me through a very difficult time,” John explains. 

John attributes his success to the time he spent as a leader in the military. “I learned many valuable lessons about leading people and how to build relationships with people that are completely different from you, which was essential to my success,” he states.

To learn more about how your company can recruit talented veteran candidates for your open positions, please click here.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Orion Founding Partner Randy H. Nelson on His New Book, The Second Decision

On Friday, March 6th, Randy H. Nelson stopped by Orion International’s headquarters in Cary, NC, to speak about his book, The Second Decision, that came out last month, as well as to sign copies. Randy was a founding partner of Orion International and led the way for many of the business systems and procedures that the company uses today.

Randy spoke briefly about his vision of forming Orion International with four other former Junior Military Officers, relating the tremendous growth that the company saw within the first couple of years. Today, thanks to the hard work and dedication of Randy and his business partners, Orion International has grown into five offices and has placed over 33,000 veterans into civilian careers. Read more about Orion International’s history here.

He then went on to speak about his book, which addresses the second part, or “second decision”, of becoming an entrepreneur.  He explained that while it is easy to begin a business, running a successful business requires extensive business knowledge and decision-making processes, posing the question, “Do you have what it takes to run a business?”

Randy H. Nelson reads an excerpt from his book at Orion's headquarters in Cary, NC

Randy finished his talk with a call to action to become more self-aware, especially in the area of knowledge. “Always keep learning,” he stated, “and when you think you’ve learned it all – start again.”

The Second Decision is available for purchase here. You can learn more about Randy Nelson and his story on his website.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

20 Creative Ways to Show Employees They're Appreciated

It's no surprise that employees are the biggest asset of your company - without them, no business objective could be accomplished. Most companies want to offer rewards and incentives to keep their employees happy, productive, and engaged, but find themselves stumped on how exactly to achieve those goals. offers 20 affordable ways to show employees that they are a valued asset to a company.

Flex time. Allow your employees a way to accommodate for personal matters, like doctor’s appointments.

Innovation days. Get your employees thinking creatively by setting aside a few days a year to address projects related to their workspace and the way they work.

Monthly commuter benefits. In cities where mass transit is used, companies offer tax-free transit far programs, like TransitChek or Commuter Check, which also saves your company money in payroll taxes.

Fully stocked kitchen. Keep your employees hydrated and satisfied with free coffee, soda, and even snacks during work hours. 

Wellness benefits. Employees can receive reimbursement for items related to fitness and well-being, including gym memberships, athletic equipment, etc.

Free lunch. Occasionally order in for your employees to encourage community and give them a break from packed lunches.

Canine colleagues. Invite some (house-trained) canine visitors to boost morale for the dog-lovers in your office.

Parental leave. The U.S. has one of the weakest paid family-leave benefits of any country. Set your company apart by making sure all employees are eligible for paid time off after a life event, such as the birth of a child.

No dress code. Create a relaxed work environment and leave the ties and business suits at home.

Summer hours. Allow employees to leave early on Fridays, giving them a head start on their weekend as well as the traffic.

Optional telecommuting. In our ever-expanding mobile and digitally connected world, it is becoming increasingly easier for employees to work from home successfully. Allow for employees to work either full or part-time from home.

Flexibility in paid time off. Allow employees to choose when to use their paid time off (vacation, sick or personal time) to meet the needs of their individual situations.

A culture of work/life balance. Create an environment where your employees know it really is okay to leave the office before 8 p.m.

Perks for part-time employees. 
Many companies forget about their part-time employees – provide them with perks and rewards and you will get full-time productivity. 

Cultural extras.Reward your employees with gifts like concert or movie tickets, passes to sporting events, or even gift cards to restaurants to keep the workplace exciting.

Sabbaticals. Don’t forget those long-term employees – offer month-long sabbaticals after five or ten years of service.

Employee referral programs. Your best employees are usually hired through referrals. Offer a cash bonus to those who refer a potential employee who is hired.

Green initiativesOffer preferred parking or subsidies for those employees who purchase and drive a hybrid vehicle.

Tuition forgiveness. For those hard-to-fill positions, offer to pay a percentage of tuition owed, per year of employment.

Paid time off to volunteer. Help your employees give back to the community easier by offering a specific amount of time to volunteer.

Incorporating these benefits will help your company attract top talent, decrease expensive voluntary turnover, and ensure that your employees will retain their positions happily. Has your company enacted any of the above perks? What other ways can your company show employees they are appreciated?

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Veteran Spotlight: Joe Shupe

Hire a Hero recently caught up with Joe Shupe, a former MM1(SW) ELT in the Navy and 1LT Signal Corps in the Army, whom Orion matched with a sales career at Nalco, the world's leading water treatment and process improvement company. His job search process began in August 2014 when he contacted Orion in preparation for his February 2015 separation from the Army. His transition continued through October 2014 when he attended an Orion Hiring Conference, which was noted in an article in Middle Market Growth by Judith Nemes titled “Enlisting Veterans to Bolster Employee Forces.

Joe attended both an Orion Distinguished Candidate Conference in Chicago and a Hiring Conference in San Diego.  After both conferences, he was invited back to the headquarters of interested employers, where he was given the chance for further interviews and ride-alongs. In her article, Nemes writes that Joe interviewed with seven companies and had been called back by four at the time of publication. She attributes that success to his technical, leadership, and management experience from his time in the military.

In his new position as a District Sales Representative with Nalco, Joe is required to work with large production plants that have many similarities to the propulsion plants that he worked with in the Navy. The leadership experience and presentation skills that Joe gained in the Army will be put to good use, as well.  “I will be making business proposals to key leaders within California's production plants across the Central Valley.  After serving as a junior officer in the Army, I now possess the confidence and ability to make great presentations and leave a good impression on my clients,” explains Joe. He says he is also delighted with the differences that he sees between his civilian and military careers:  “I have much more control over my earnings and my career path now that I am with Nalco.”

Joe has served in the military twice in his lifetime and, therefore, knows what it is like to leave the comfort and security that the military has to offer.  “The first time I served in the Navy, I made the transition by myself.  At the time, I was filled with anxiety and a sense of uncertainty,” recalls Joe, “The second time, I made contact with Orion before I left.  I cannot believe the difference that Orion has made.  My transition was significantly less stressful and much more enjoyable.  Even now, I feel much better knowing that Orion is out there.”

Want to learn more about how Orion can help you hire military leaders like Joe? Click here!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Left Brain v. Right Brain: The Makings of the Modern Recruiter

What does it take to woo even the most passive of candidates? According to LinkedIn Talent Solutions it takes a Modern Recruiter who is Part Artist, Part Scientist. A head for metrics, coupled with an understanding of the intangibles of candidate experience, makes for a well-rounded recruiter best suited to successfully filling open positions. Check out the infographic below to learn exactly what this means:

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Most Memorable Job Interview Mistakes

Recently, Careerbuilder released the results from a survey of more than 2,000 HR professionals and hiring managers on the interview process. Of those surveyed, nearly half said that they can tell within the first five minutes of an interview whether or not the person is worthy of the position. In addition, 90 percent stated that they have made up their mind about the person within 15 minutes of the interview.
Below are a few interview mistakes of those who most certainly did not get the job, according to those surveyed:
  • Candidate thought it appropriate to sit in a yoga pose during the interview.
  • Candidate brought their dog to the interview.
  • Candidate hugged the president of the company.
  • Candidate said they didn't like getting up early and didn't like to read.
  • Candidate said he had to quit his banking position because he was tempted to steal.
  • Candidate emptied the employer's candy dish into her pocket.
  • Candidate called in sick to her current employer, faking an illness.
  • Candidate stated that he would do whatever it takes to get the job done, legal or not.
  • Candidate called his wife to see what they were having for dinner.
  • Candidate said he didn't want the job if he had to work a lot.
  • Candidate asked to postpone the start date so she could still get holiday gifts from her vendors at her current job.
  • Candidate wouldn't answer a question because he thought they would steal his idea and not hire him.
  • Candidate denied he had a cell phone with him even though it could be heard ringing from his briefcase.
  • Candidate reached over and put his hand on the interviewer's knee.
While the above mistakes are extreme, it is a good idea to be prepared for any situation during an interview.