Today’s interview is an absolute goldmine of career advice for transitioning military Veterans. George has spent his entire post-military career in recruiting and has some of the best answers about career transition I’ve had on the show. We talk about the two biggest mistakes Veterans make in their transition to a civilian career. We talk about how to break down your job in the military. We talk about the black hole in recruiting, where your resume will never bet seen. We talk about the toughest question you will get in an interview and how to prepare. We talk about what to do after your interview, how to respond to a job offer, how to acclimate to a new job after your military service and more. George and I will be doing a follow-up interview, so if you have questions for George, please submit them on the BeyondTheUniform.io website here.
George Randle is the Senior Director, Global Talent Acquisition at Forcepoint, the human-centric cybersecurity company that understands behavior and adapts security response and enforcement to risk. He started out in the Army, where he enslisted in 1984, and was commissioned via ROTC. He served in the Army for 21 years, with over 11 years on Active Duty. Since his military service, he has worked in the recruiting space at companies including BearingPoint, BoozAllen Hamilton, HP, and Millennium Management.
Forcepoint - Forcepoint is the human-centric cybersecurity company that understands behavior and adapts security response and enforcement to risk. The Forcepoint Human Point platform delivers Risk-Adaptive Protection to continuously ensure trusted use of critical data and systems. Based in Austin, Texas, Forcepoint protects data and identities for thousands of enterprise and government customers in more than 150 countries.
StoryBox- People trust each other more than advertising. StoryBox provides the tools and supports businesses need to take the best things customers say about them, and use them to drive more sales and referrals. StoryBox offers a 10% discount to companies employing veterans of the US Armed Forces.
From Army Green to Corporate Gray: A Career Transition Guide for Army - good examples of resumes - https://www.amazon.com/Army-Green-Corporate-Gray-Transition/dp/1570230692
PCS to Corporate america - #1 resume and interview book he knows of - https://www.amazon.com/PCS-Corporate-America-Military-Interviewing/dp/0940672855
Glassdoor - a good reference point for salaries and setting expectations around how much you can earn
GI Jobs - Top 100 military friendly companies. https://www.gijobs.com/
Transcript & Time Stamps:
Joining us today from Austin, Texas is George Randle. George Randle is the Senior Director, Global Talent Acquisition at Forcepoint, the human-centric cybersecurity company that understands behavior and adapts security response and enforcement to risk. He started out in the Army, where he enlisted in 1984, and was commissioned via ROTC. He served in the Army for 21 years, with over 11 years on Active Duty. Since his military service, he has worked in the recruiting space at companies including BearingPoint, BoozAllen Hamilton, HP, and Millennium Management.
Do you see any common mistakes made by veterans?
I got into recruiting because my transition out of the military and getting into a company I wanted to work for wasn’t easy.
One common mistake I see is starting your search too late. The ability to get connected and find other military members that have transitioned into a role or industry you’re interested in is really important. Build a LinkedIn profile and start reaching out to people.
Second, most veterans have read a Commander’s Intent which outlines what success for a particular mission will look like. This idea can be helpful during your job search. It doesn’t matter whether it’s an E-3 or an O-7, writing down what success will look like for you as a civilian can be extremely helpful in clarifying exactly what you want.
For some veterans, the best next step might be school. It might be going to a technical school to build a skillset to get you where you want to go. When you leave the military, nobody is going to give you a set of orders with your next job. You have that control so you really need to be intentional about what you want to do. If you approach the job search in this way, it becomes about 75% easier.
Do you have any advice for veterans that are trying to figure out what they want to do after they get out?
One thing I did when making my transition was I sat down and wrote down all of my positions and responsibilities in the military. I then looked for any commonalities. I thought about what of these jobs I liked and which ones I hadn’t liked. That allowed me to start narrowing the focus. Then I went and got a Fortune 500 list. I started looking at these marquee companies and then looking at different jobs that were available at each of these companies. That gave me an idea of different roles and job functions that are out there.
I do want to share something that will pop some people’s bubble. You’ll never get your ideal job out of the military. There is too much that you don’t know. Your first job is a foundational piece that you will then build off of.
I like that because it takes some of the pressure off finding your ideal job right away.
The job search process can be overwhelming. I’m a prime example of not getting your ideal job right away. I started out in management consulting and then moved over to human resources. I wanted to be more involved in selecting leaders and building talent within a company. And it’s been a career I’ve really enjoyed. But I never thought I would be doing this now when I was in the military.
In recruiting, the #1 way to get a job is employee referrals. The reason I mention this is because you can use this to your advantage by finding veterans on LinkedIn at companies that you are interested in working for. Veterans love to help other veterans. People are afraid to reach out to a stranger but veterans love to connect to other veterans.
Once a veteran finds a position they are interested in applying for, what should they do next?
The first thing people need to understand is that there are a lot of requirements on job postings. So the first thing we’re looking at is if your resume matches about 80% of the job description.
There is a black hole in recruiting systems. There are many times when you send out your resume and you never hear back when you are actually a great fit. If I post a job for a Security Manager on a Monday morning. By Wednesday afternoon, I will have about 75 resumes. The recruiter is then going to start going down the list and find about 3-4 people that he can put in front of a hiring manager. So if you happen to have applied on Wednesday or Thursday for something posted on Monday, it might be that the recruiter just didn’t get far enough down in the list. So I would advise you to try to submit your application as soon after the job posting as possible. If it’s been seven or more days since the job was posted, I wouldn’t waste your time. If you know someone at the company, you should submit your resume to that person as well as to the online application.
When you said that a person needs to meet the requirements for a job posting, what do you mean by that?
The recruiter needs to get the idea from your resume that you will be able to perform the basics of this job without supervision. You have to meet the absolute basics of the description. It’s good to use key words in your resume as well.
How can veterans translate what they did in the military?
If you’re applying to a company that has veteran recruiters, I don’t think you need to civilian-ize your resume quite as much. I would try to remove as many acronyms as you can. Also make sure you include numbers where you can - the number of people you lead and the value of the equipment you maintained.
The best tip I give to people is that you can use bullets of accomplishments from your military performance reviews. One big mistake I see on resumes is a list of responsibilities but no achievements.
If you were an honor graduate at a particular class, you should put that on your resume. Things like that will stand out.
Also never go over two pages - ever. There are two kinds of resumes - a chronological resume and a functional resume. The book PCS to Corporate America has some great examples.
What advice do you have regarding preparing for an interview?
I would start preparing for your interview as soon as you begin your job search. The number one thing people have trouble doing is understanding what makes you great and bringing that forward in the interview. Take inventory of yourself and know what your strengths are. Practice expressing these values succinctly. When people haven't practiced, an interview can go wrong.
In the back of the PCS to Corporate America book, there are a list of questions in the back of the book. There are great to practice with. You would be amazed at how often I see people come into interviews unprepared.
I was working with a group of senior officers and realized that many of them had trouble articulating their leadership style. So taking time to think about how you lead and how you manage can be very valuable.
As a recruiter, I’m trying to do one thing and one thing only in an interview. That’s try to find reasons to hire you. Most people are worried about what not to say. But with the speed of business today, I’m hoping that the first few people give me every reason to give them the job. So as you go into an interview, you’re trying to give them reasons to say “yes” to you. If you can do that, you’re ahead of 99% of the population. Hiring managers have a full time job. So they’re on a timeline to deliver something. So when they take times to interview, they are looking for reasons to say yes to you.
How should a candidate follow up after the interview?
I think a short and sweet email is best. Include a short anecdote or reference to the interview. This will convey your interest in the position.
What steps should someone take once they have received an offer?
At that point, you want to think about your market value. There are three numbers you should have in your head well in advance. The bottom number - the absolute lowest you can accept. The second number is the middle number that you would be happy with. The third number is the high number. Generally companies will give you a fair offer and then move a little north on occasion.
How can someone get a sense for a reasonable salary for a particular salary?
Glassdoor can be very helpful. Connecting with people on LinkedIn and asking for advice can also be helpful. Most of the time a recruiter will ask what your salary expectations are and it’s ok to discuss what the target compensation for the position is.
When someone has accepted an offer and started the position, how can veterans best acclimate to the civilian workforce?
It’s not just that you’re not in the military but it’s also that you now have a “normal” job. So build the rest of your life. Join sports teams, spend time with your family, and get involved in the community.
At the job ask questions, be humble, and be curious. Don’t try to push too hard. Most people will be willing to help you.
Is there anything else you’d share with listeners?
One interesting side note. A lot of people come out of the military and what to go to a certain location. I would tell people to think about living anywhere in the United States if you can find a role that is great for you. That way you’ll get the necessary experience early on and then will be able to drive your location preferences later on.