The Big Offensive Mistake Employers Make When Hiring Vets

career

Companies rightfully want to hire veterans. America's veterans have always been driven individuals with unique skills and leadership experience. But after more than a decade of complex counterinsurgency operations, today’s vets are more talented than in any era of American history.


That’s what makes the following internal hiring data of a top U.S. banking and financial services firm obtained by Task & Purpose so offensive.

The slide, which I’ve redacted the identifying information from but otherwise will print below, was titled “Enlisted Recruiting vs. Officer Recruiting.”

I will not identify the company by name  because this isn’t about them. This problem is indicative of the way too many hiring managers view veterans.

Bottom line: Hire officers if you want leaders, hire enlisted vets if you want someone to work in a call center.

This type of mentality is offensive and harmful. As the person who gave me the slide, an enlisted Army veteran who attends a top-ranked university, told me: “because that’s why I joined that Army, I wanted to work in a call center eventually.”

Related: When hiring veterans, ignorance is bliss until it becomes offensive.

There's nothing wrong with working in a call center, to be sure, but there is absolutely something wrong with the suggestion that the majority of military veterans don't have valued military leadership experiences or are less qualified than their officer counterparts.

It's an antiquated notion, not in keeping with the complexities of the past 12 years. Thinking of enlisted troops as the guys who blindly followed orders like "storm that machinegun nest!" wasn't true 50 years ago, but it's sure as hell not the case now.

In the modern military, every person of every rank has to have the ability to lead, to perform their duties autonomously with little to no supervision, and to think critically about everything around them.

This shift in military culture was fantastically captured by a hero of mine, former Marine Commandant Gen. Charles Krulak,  in a 1999 essay in Marines Magazine called "The Strategic Corporal: Leadership in the Three Block War." In it, Krulak describes the need for an enlisted corporal to conduct and oversee counterinsurgency operations, humanitarian operations, and conventional military operations simultaneously in an urban environment in an area as small as three city blocks.

If we're going to find success for this new generation of American veterans returning home after a decade of war, we need to understand that their skills and experiences they have are unlike anything we've seen before.

Everyone who joined the military and served in Iraq and Afghanistan volunteered to be there. And many, like me, did so not out of a lack of career options, but in the interest of service and ambition. I enlisted in the Marine Corps and quickly became a noncomissioned officer because I wanted to lead. To hear from anyone, let alone a prominent company, that I don't have leadership experience is offensive and wrongheaded.

Every once in a while, we run across a photo in The Times-Picayune archives that's so striking that it begs a simple question: "What in the name of Momus Alexander Morgus is going on in this New Orleans photograph?" When we do, we've decided, we're going to share it — and to attempt to answer that question.

Read More Show Less
Members of the Syrian Democratic Forces control the monitor of their drone at their advanced position, during the fighting with Islamic State's fighters in Nazlat Shahada, a district of Raqqa. (Reuters/Zohra Bensemra)

MUSCAT (Reuters) - The United States should keep arming and aiding the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) following the planned U.S. withdrawal from Syria, provided the group keeps up the pressure on Islamic State, a senior U.S. general told Reuters on Friday.

Read More Show Less

President Donald Trump claims the $6.1 billion from the Defense Department's budget that he will now spend on his border wall was not going to be used for anything "important."

Trump announced on Friday that he was declaring a national emergency, allowing him to tap into military funding to help pay for barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Read More Show Less

Long before Tony Stark took a load of shrapnel to the chest in a distant war zone, science fiction legend Robert Heinlein gave America the most visceral description of powered armor for the warfighter of the future. Forget the spines of extra-lethal weaponry, the heads-up display, and even the augmented strength of an Iron Man suit — the real genius, Heinlein wrote in Starship Troopers, "is that you don't have to control the suit; you just wear it, like your clothes, like skin."

"Any sort of ship you have to learn to pilot; it takes a long time, a new full set of reflexes, a different and artificial way of thinking," explains Johnny Rico. "Spaceships are for acrobats who are also mathematicians. But a suit, you just wear."

First introduced in 2013, U.S. Special Operations Command's Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) purported to offer this capability as America's first stab at militarized powered armor. And while SOCOM initially promised a veritable Iron Man-style tactical armor by 2018, a Navy spokesman told Task & Purpose the much-hyped exoskeleton will likely never get off the launch pad.

"The prototype itself is not currently suitable for operation in a close combat environment," SOCOM spokesman Navy Lt. Phillip Chitty told Task & Purpose, adding that JATF-TALOS has no plans for an external demonstration this year. "There is still no intent to field the TALOS Mk 5 combat suit prototype."

Read More Show Less

D-Day veteran James McCue died a hero. About 500 strangers made sure of it.

"It's beautiful," Army Sgt. Pete Rooney said of the crowd that gathered in the cold and stood on the snow Thursday during McCue's burial. "I wish it happened for every veteran's funeral."

Read More Show Less