A New York City-based staffing firm is doing more than just "observing" this Veteran's Day; they are challenging every American business to interview at least one veteran for every role within their organization.
Harley Lippman is founder and CEO of the tech staffing firm Genesis10, and he wants to help make interviewing a military veteran a priority through their Hire A Veteran Challenge.
He said the attention we pay to unemployed - and underemployed - veterans this time of year is fine, but feels employers can go a step further and pledge to give former members of the military a better chance at a good job that matches the veteran's skills and experience.
“Too often the opportunities out there are for things like a security guard,” Lippman told the New York Daily News. “Veterans are more than that. Our goal is to get them away from being pigeonholed and stereotyped. We want to show companies they can be just as good or better than other workers.”
Hire A Veteran Challenge
Genesis10 recently kicked off their Hire A Veteran Challenge, hoping to recruit, train and mentor former military members in the ways of corporate culture.
Nick Swaggert is the Director of Veterans Recruitment for Genesis10, and a former Marine Corps captain who served two tours in Iraq. He said the goal is to transition these men and women “from deployment to employment,” and estimates he’s helped hire or place more than 100 veterans over the past several months.
“In the military, you are part of something bigger than yourself with a group of people who understand you," Swaggert told Neal St. Anthony of the Minneapolis StarTribune in this article. "When you leave, that support structure isn’t there. Many, myself included, need coaching and training to be part of the civilian workforce.”
Genesis10 runs a sort of “reverse boot camp” that trains veterans for a life of cubicles, meetings and a less well defined org chart and chain of command.
Swaggert says veterans make great hires once they learn that difference between military and corporate life.
The Last Patrol
That struggle is on display in the The Last Patrol, war correspondent Sebastian Junger’s third and final chapter in a trilogy of films about war and its devastating effects on soldiers.
I happened to catch it last night on HBO, and without being preachy, it really does help to frame some of the issues soldiers have when rotating back to the world.
The film follows Junger, combat veterans Brendan O’Byrne, who appeared in Junger’s documentary Restrepo, and Dave Roels, as well as Spanish photographer Guillermo Cervera, as they walk a 300-mile journey along America's rail lines from Washington D.C. to Pennsylvania.
The four men, all veterans of war, and all suffering from their own various forms of post traumatic stress disorder, discuss the impact of war on their lives, and “why combat is so incredibly hard to give up.”
Their journey is meant to mirror the long patrols the men were accustomed to when fighting in - or covering - the war in Afghanistan. To further recreate the difficulty, and the camaraderie that comes with combat, the men slept outside in the elements, carried their own food and lived off the land.
It's worth seeing to help understand why such things as self-sufficiency and getting to the bottom line fast are valued attributes in the military, and why many veterans struggle with work environments where their "missions" and roles are often more ambiguous or complex.
Hiring veterans can be challenging for sure. But it's worth considering, on this Veteran's Day, and beyond, whether you are using the best processes for hiring veterans.
Employers can not only honor their sacrifices by hiring veterans, but it can also be good for business as veterans come with enhanced skills, experience, teamwork, and leadership qualities.
Staffing firm CEO Harley Lippman's advice when hiring a vet is to "bet on the person, like investors (do) in startups."