Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Veteran Spotlight: Brendan Finnegan

Hire a Hero recently caught up with Orion alumnus Brendan Finnegan, who began a career with Hines Interests in October 2012. He shared insight into his own career progression, as well as some advice for managers wanting to hire veterans. Finnegan, a former Air Force Reconnaissance Combat Systems Captain, found his position as an Assistant Property Manager with Hines through an Orion Hiring Conference.

Finnegan now works in Property Management, which is fitting with his Air Force career. In the Air Force, he was the Director of Facilities for the 552d Operations Group at Tinker AFB, OK, as his additional duty. This experience in project management and budgets was exactly what Hines was looking for.

When asked about other ways his military and civilian careers relate, Finnegan stated, “My military experience helps in some small way every day at my civilian job. Checklists and safety were drilled into my head as a flier. When you're managing hundreds of moving parts around a 1.3 million square foot skyscraper, having a checklist and safety oriented mindset coupled with the technical understanding demanded in military flying is exactly what it takes to manage a skyscraper from the engineering plant systems to the operation and safety demands of a roof mounted 133 foot retractable window washing boom.”

Finnegan is responsible for lots of moving parts in his civilian career, ranging from understanding the complex legal language of commercial leases, to understanding, monitoring, and being able to articulate the full scope of massive $100K-$1M+ projects going on in and around the building. He deals with tenant issues, contractor and vendor management, contract bidding, emergency procedures, security issues, telecommunications, etc. "I plan to move into a senior Development and/or Marketing role with Hines, as they continue to grow their presence in the international commercial real estate and building development markets," says Finnegan of his future with Hines.

For managers looking to hire veterans, Finnegan suggests that they find someone who understands military jargon and have them review veteran applicants and give some honest feedback. “Above all,” he says, “remember that veterans are loyal and professional. If they can be trained to the degree it takes to take a skill set into battle, why could they not be trained into anything you want them to do here?”

Click here to read more about Finnegan's transition.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Top Companies add to their Ranks at Orion’s Distinguished Candidate Conferences

Orion International held its first Distinguished Candidate Conference (DCC) of 2014 in Houston, TX, in early March.  The successful event hosted 48 different company interview lineups and 90 military officer candidates.  For every DCC, our recruiters work hard to make the best possible match for each and each candidate and client company 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. "Our experience at Orion's Distinguished Candidate Conference was a great success. The candidates were of the highest caliber and extremely well matched for our Leadership Development Program," explains a Program Manager from BP, "This event enabled us to hire 5 outstanding JMOs very efficiently, saving weeks of time. I look forward to seeing the impact these new leaders will have on BP." 

In 2013, more than 170 client companies strategically hired Orion's Military Officers through our Distinguished Candidate Conferences, with nearly 50% making multiple hires. Companies like Alcoa, Bank of America, Boston Scientific, Bridgestone,  Dell, Frito-Lay, Hershey’s, Honeywell, Lexmark, PepsiCo, Safeway, Samsung, Siemens, and many others have taken advantage of this unique recruiting opportunity.

Orion only holds a few 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:

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Polaris Industries Partners with Orion International to Bring Careers to Veterans

Polaris Industries, manufacturer of high quality off-road vehicles, has partnered with Orion International, the nation's largest military career placement firm, to offer jobs to U.S. Veterans. Polaris interviewed Veterans for opportunities within Engineering, Planning, Logistics, and Operations, on March 3rd and 4th at Orion's Distinguished Candidate Conference in Houston, TX, and at an exclusive Polaris Hiring Event on March 5th and 6th at Fort Campbell, KY.

Founded in 1954, Polaris Industries designs, engineers, manufactures and markets innovative, high quality off-road vehicles, including all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and the Polaris RANGER® and RZR® side-by-side vehicles, snowmobiles, motorcycles and on-road electric/hybrid powered vehicles. Polaris values the skills and values that military members have to offer, and recognizes their sacrifice and dedication. Recently a Polaris employee, Nathan Good, was presented with the Patriotic Employer Award, "for contributing to National Security and protecting liberty and freedom by supporting employee participation in America's National Guard and Reserve Force."

A career with Polaris represents an excellent opportunity for veterans to make a difference and grow professionally. With over 5300 employees, Polaris helps develop the careers of its veteran employees through programs like Annual Performance Feedback & Development, General Core Skill Training, and Leadership Development Training Programs. Polaris also offers a comprehensive benefits program that is contemporary and fully competitive. These programs and benefits makes Polaris a great example of how to hire and integrate veterans onto your team.

"Polaris seeks to hire Veterans due to the values and experiences that Veterans acquire while serving in the Military", said Amy Fossum, Staffing Manager, Polaris Industries. "These values and experiences are in direct correlation with the Polaris company Values - including Leadership, Adaptability, Technical Skills, Problem Solving, Decision Making, Adventure, Loving outdoors, and so much more".

Interested in learning how you can position your company as an Orion Featured Employer and attract qualified veterans through a Military Talent Program? Click here.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Orion International COO Tim Isacco Interviewed for USA Today

Orion International’s Chief Operating Officer Tim Isacco was interviewed last week for USA Today about the recent battle for veterans to find a job in the private sector in response to the Bureau of Labor Statistics recent report on the condition of veteran unemployment in America.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics report, about one in 11 of returning veterans (or 9 percent) was jobless in 2013, with those who had been deployed to both wars having the highest jobless rates of 10 percent or more. Those hit hardest by this surge of unemployment is the infantry.

“Unfortunately, they are the ones doing most of the fighting and they have the highest unemployment rates,” said Tim Isacco.

Many returning veterans begin seeking work in retail, security, manufacturing, warehousing, and the food and beverage industry, states Isacco. However, the manufacturing industry – once a lucrative field for returning veterans – has set its sights on more technologically skilled candidates. To make things more difficult for veterans is the fact that other industries such as warehousing and food and beverage distribution are hiring more temporary contract positions.

“You’re seeing more temp jobs that are out there,” Isacco said.

Isacco recommends that veterans should take advantage for the education benefits that they are eligible for under the Department of Veterans Affairs and obtain some kind of vocational or Associates degree before beginning their job search to ensure better success in these lucrative but highly competitive industries.

Read the full article here.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Difference Between Military Hiring Conferences and Veteran Job Fairs

For employers looking to hire veterans, it can be difficult to determine what type of recruiting to do, including deciding between Hiring Conferences and Job Fairs. While Hiring Conferences and Job Fair may seem synonymous, they are very different. Read on to learn more about the difference and how Hiring Conferences help you successfully add veterans to your team.

Job fairs for veterans, or career fairs as they are commonly called, are usually hosted by a major organization, like a city’s Chamber of Commerce, for example. Most often set up in the form of different booths or tables, they feature a number of different companies from a variety of industries. 

Potential employees participating in the job fair visit the different "booths," or companies, dropping off their resume for increased visibility on open positions. While veteran job fairs occasionally result in an employer finding the right employee, these events are usually designed for networking purposes, giving employers a chance to meet lots of candidates. 

military Hiring Conference by Orion International is a well designed event where employers interview military job seekers, selected and pre-screened specifically for their open positions. Throughout the conference, Orion client companies receive personalized attention to ensure the best in customer service, including insight on the transitioning military candidates, and advice on the most effective hiring strategy. Our goal is that our candidates will have completed the hiring process and accepted your offer within 14 days of attending the conference.

Orion Hiring Conferences are held over two days. On the first day, candidates participate in interview preparation, attend briefings on the companies and positions offered, and are given the opportunity to network with both the interviewing employers and other military job seekers. The second day is filled with pre-arranged interviews with interested companies for positions that have been chosen based on veterans’ skills and experiences.

For employers seeking an efficient way to interview up to ten pre-qualified veteran candidates for each open position, an Orion International Hiring Conference is a great way to go. When compared to a job fair, Hiring Conferences offer a carefully selected veteran candidate pool from which to hire. And, not only have these candidates been briefed on the specifics of your positions, but they are ready to accept an offer. Our average selection rate per lineup is over 50%, with a hire cycle time at less than 21 days. 

Additionally, employers should consider attending a Distinguished Candidate Conference to interview our top tier of Military Officer talent, or hosting an onsite Mini-Conference® in order to accomplish all phases of the hiring process in a single day without requiring any travel.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Don't Ever Hire the Wrong Person Again

Chances are that you've hired an individual in the past that may not have been an exemplary employee, whether it be due to their general attitude, work performance, or their relationship with their co-workers.

Unfortunately, these bad hires can cost your company a significant amount of money. Consider this – the average salary of an employee is $57,968, which means that if you onboard a poor hire, you will have lost at least that much. The cost goes up when the employee is in a managerial role. Check out this infographic on The Outrageous Costs of a Bad Hire.

If you are a repeat offender of hiring a dud of an employee, learn to view the warning signs with these five reasons that you hired the wrong person:

Going grocery shopping without a list. When you grocery shop without a list, you wind up buying things that you don’t really need and forgetting the things that you do, often resulting in a return trip to the store. Hiring without a clear picture of what you are looking for in a candidate for the specific role will most likely result in a hire that is not a fit for the position.

Using the “post and pray” technique. This happens when you find yourself in a position where you need to hire someone immediately. Don’t fall into the trap of posting a position and hoping that the perfect candidate will come along that can start tomorrow.

Fishing in the wrong pond. If you post your position on an online job board, your ads may be recruiting candidates who are looking for any job, and aren’t necessarily looking at your position in detail. These types of candidates instead of apply to positions just for the sake of applying. Consider asking your employees, business partners, friends, and family for referrals first before posting a position online. Not surprisingly, referrals are the number one best way to hire employees.

Relying on gut instinct. If you and a potential candidate mesh well personally, you are more apt to find reasons to hire them instead of really taking a good look at their qualifications and skills. The same holds true for those applicants that you don’t like.

Failing to use tools. Perhaps the biggest reason that bad hires actually get the job is lack of follow through on those onboarding tools that can find potential red flags early – namely, checking references and evaluating if they meet the minimum requirements of the position. While it may take the extra time, being thorough in your job search will lead to a valuable hire that has staying power.

Want to know if the person you already hired is not what you expected? Check out this list of five signs that you hired the wrong person:

They love their social media. While every employee takes time out of their day to check in on Facebook and Twitter, watch out for the employee who posts doing work hours, as their social media time will only increase the longer they stay in their position.

They have attendance problems. An employee who immediately starts taking time off or shows up late will almost always continue this habit.

They feel entitled. Most employees start a new position with the tools they are given (computer, phone, etc.) and only ask for new equipment when the need is justified. Then there are those who instantly need a better computer, desk, office supplies…the list goes on. These types of employees will blame their work environment and their lack of resources as a main reason why they cannot perform at the top level of their position, not to mention cost you more money.

They constantly refer to their old job. Of course, new employees bring certain skills and experiences from their former position that can be beneficial, but watch out for those that constantly refer to the way things were done “at their old job.” These employees are adverse to change, and cannot transition into a new position.

They are very opinionated. While it’s good for a new hire to voice concerns, have ideas, and offer up their own opinions, watch out for the employee who constantly argues and forces their opinions without first establishing relationships with other co-workers.

If you are in the process of looking for a new candidate, keep the above tips in mind to avoid hiring a less than stellar employee, and heed the warning signs of current new hires to determine if they will cause a bigger headache in the future.


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Six Reasons Veterans aren’t Applying to your Company

1. Your Careers website is not veteran-friendly. When it comes to recruiting veterans, a one-size-fits-all Career website is not a good thing. 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 2014 and 2015.

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 reasons 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.