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Our Duty to Hire Veterans

June 6, 2013 | Aaron Jones

I am not a veteran, but have several friends and family members who have served in the military. I feel grateful to those who serve in our armed forces and are willing to make the greatest sacrifices to protect our freedom. At Express Scripts, we consider it part of our mission to help veterans find successful civilian careers. I personally believe strongly in what Michelle Obama has called the challenge to companies to be ’Bold in Finding Ways to Hire Veterans.’

As part of our commitment to veterans, Express Scripts has implemented a national military talent attraction program to help connect more service members to jobs at Express Scripts.  The Talent Acquisition department reaches out nationwide through various recruitment channels, including military specific job fairs, strategic partnerships, and targeted advertising.

The unemployment rate for veterans continues to remain high, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Veterans who left the military post September 11, 2011 face an unemployment rate of 9.2 percent, higher than the national average.  With the economy still in recovery mode, many military heroes are struggling to find work, let alone a career.

This is unfortunate because so many veterans have great skill sets to offer the civilian workforce. They are often highly educated, have a very strong work ethic, are disciplined, have proven leadership, and thrive as team-players. However, one of the common issues I notice when attending military events such as job fairs or networking events is that veterans have trouble translating their military experience to a civilian role. Civilian recruiters can find it difficult to decipher what some of the acronyms and military terms mean for the job function for which they are interviewing candidates. If there is one suggestion I would make to veterans looking for civilian positions, it is to get help creating a resume. There are many tools available to veterans for this purpose, including the Show-Me Heroes program, an initiative led by Missouri Governor, Jay Nixon. Some veterans have never interviewed for a civilian job. There are many websites out there that can help to prepare, such as CareerRealism.com. They recently published an article, “How to Answer 7 of the Most Commonly Asked Interview Questions.”

One thing to keep in mind is that almost every recruiter will ask you behavior-based interview questions. At Express Scripts, for example, we look for our core values of integrity, mutual respect, collaboration, alignment, service and passion.  A simple Google search should give you plenty of examples that you can use to practice–and it is imperative that you practice! It will help you portray confidence.  There is no way to predict what can happen in an interview, but by following these suggestions you will feel less anxious and best present yourself to a civilian recruiter, just as you have done in the military.

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