Find Qualified Job Candidates in Military Veterans

Truckstop and travel plaza operators looking for hard-working, motivated employees may want to consider turning to the nation’s veterans. Veterans not only know the meaning of hard work, but also understand the value of teamwork.

Don Quinn, president of Sapp Bros. and chairman of NATSO, said military veterans, particularly those that have had leadership training, hold a lot of promise for the indus­try. “I think that not only are there some great people out there, but also that we have a moral obligation to hire someone who has served our country,” he said. “It is a pool that we monitor and try to pull from.”

Darren Schulte, NATSO’s vice president of membership, said it can be helpful to look at the specific job veterans did in the service and how that can translate into their ability to perform and be effective in available positions. For example, someone who was a combat leader of a squad is likely able to think and react quickly and direct a team. “That type of person is probably going to make an amazing manger because that is what his or her skill sets are,” Schulte said.

At the same time, someone who had a very regimented position in the military that required something to be done the same way every time, such as loading artillery shells, may not flourish in a position that requires a lot of creativity, Schulte said. “That person might be better off in a role where they have to follow the rules and regulations,” he explained, adding that service members overall are very disciplined and know how to follow directions.

Cindy Knight, human resources manager for the Rochelle Petro, said she has had success hiring veterans in the location’s shop. “If a veteran’s military occupational specialty was working on trucks in the military, that experience transfers to here pretty well,” she said.

Tom Liutkus, a spokesman for TravelCenters of America, said the company has been recruiting military veterans for years. “They are a great source for our techs, general managers and many other positions. We’ve even had an occasional cook come from the military,” he said.

Brad Bentley, CEO of FASTPORT, a NATSO Chairman’s Circle member that focuses on connecting members of the military with careers, said hiring managers should consider the peripheral training veterans have received when considering their experience. “You have a lot of people who have worked in inventory management, but it could be on a ship or on a military base. It is similar but not exactly the same as what you have to do at a travel plaza,” he said, adding that the overall understanding and experience would translate well to this industry.

In other positions, such as a tech­nician, there is a direct connection, Bentley said. “There is a demand for people that have that type of ex­perience,” he said.

Bentley said he believes there are opportunities for those who enlisted in the military as well as officers. He was particularly interested in management and training opportunities within the truckstop and travel plaza industry. Because the industry staffs for three shifts, Bentley saw an opportunity to place more people. “It was good to see there was a mix of opportunities,” he said.

The majority of veterans leaving the military—83 percent—are transitioning away from wherever their last base was. “A lot of them are going to small towns and rural areas and that fits nicely to where truckstops and travel plazas are located,” Bentley said. “It goes hand in hand with where people are doing their search.”

NATSO members receive a NATSO member discount on FASTPORT’s services, and NATSO and FASTPORT presented a webinar on hiring veterans, which is available at http://www.natso.com/ calendar/about FASTPORT.

“It doesn’t matter to us if it is the biggest member or somebody that has one location and needs a shift leader. We care about the veterans. We want to get as many of them placed as possible,” Bentley said.

TEN TIPS FOR INTERVIEWING, HIRING AND RETAINING VETERANS

Truckstop and travel plaza operators always want to hire the best candidate for a position, but military resumes can look different from those many hiring manag­ers are used to. Translating military jargon, certifications and accomplishments into a civilian position isn’t always intuitive, but here are 10 tips for moving past the resume to find the best candidate for the job and ways to retain veterans once they’ve joined a company.

1 Many military veterans have never interviewed for a job before, so making the hiring process comfortable and easy-to-follow can go a long way to finding the right candidate. The Department of Veterans Affairs recommends using performance-based interviews for applicants directly out of the service. Avoid asking questions that elicit a yes or no response.

2 Be familiar with the military occupational specialty (MOS) that correlates with the job.

3 Consider asking questions that will let you see the candidate’s ability to meet a certain need, even if the experience isn’t directly related to the position. For example, someone right out of the military may not have direct ex­perience serving customers, but it could be helpful to ask candidates for times when they realized someone needed help, how they knew the person needed help and what they did to provide it.

4 The military prioritizes service before self, so many veterans take ac­countability but give credit and praise to others, but the right questions can help draw out useful answers. Consider asking: What did it take to accom­plish this mission? What were the key activities you performed? What people or resources were you responsible for in this role?

5 Other questions that will ensure that the applicant provides more detail about their responsibilities include: Tell me about the type of training and education you received in the military. Were you involved in day-to-day manage­ment of personnel or supplies? How many people did you supervise? 

6 Ask follow-up questions. For example, a candidate may say he drove a truck in the military, but he may not add that while doing so he super­vised dozens of soldiers transporting millions of dollars of inventory.

7 Ask the candidate to share situations in the military in which he or she achieved an end goal.

8 To help shape interviews, ask current veteran employees how they felt about the interviewing, hiring and onboarding process. Ask if there is anything they liked or didn’t like or felt could be improved.

9 The military can focus on being self-sufficient, so it is important to en­courage veteran hires to ask for help if they need it.

10 To help set new veteran hires up for success, consider creating a mentoring program.



via Business Feeds

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