BTU #76 - Liz McLean: Air Force to Recruiter and Senior Director at

“Veterans rush into their first job. They worry so much about the changes that they don't pause and really think about what the next step is. Now, not everyone has the luxury of preparing for six months. Sometimes they are medically discharged or there are other extraneous circumstances that make their transition come upon them much quicker. But there are so many times that I see veterans rush into a role without looking at the broad picture first."– Liz McLean

Liz McLean is the Senior Program Director of Veteran Employment at, as well as the Owner & President of Liz McLean Veteran Solutions. She started out at the Air Force Academy where she served for five years as a Logistics Readiness Officer. Since 2010 she has worked as a recruiter for civilians and veterans, with multiple companies including positions at Booz Allen Hamilton and Hewlett-Packard where she worked to refine veteran programs. Liz holds a bachelors in behavioral science and a Masters of Science in Industrial Organizational Psychology, where she focused on the people versus the product for program efficiency. Her passions are fueled by ultra-running and up to the ironman distance triathlon

The top three reasons to listen to today's are:

  • #1 Transition Advice - Liz has worked as a recruiter for top companies including Booz Allen Hamilton and Hewlett-Packard. Each of us only make a transition from the military once, but Liz has worked with hundreds of veterans in their transition. Her advice on this is really worthwhile.
  • #2 Recruiting - a career path that not a lot of veterans consider is being a recruiter. Liz talks about what it's like, and how you can succeed in this career path.
  • #3 Starting a company - Liz chose to start her own recruiting company rather than join an established company. She's got some great advice for vets thinking of starting their own organization.

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Selected Links

Show Notes

  • 1:43 - Liz's background in the Air Force until today
  • 2:30 - Liz's decision to leave the Air Force and how she approached this decision
  • 3:50 - What Liz learned in her first job search outside of the Air Force
  • 8:03 - How Liz thought about agreeing to 100% commission based salary, and why she wouldn't recommend that veterans consider a commission based salary for their first job
  • 12:07 - Liz's current role at and what her day-to-day life looks like
  • 14:58 - With so much experience recruiting, a few common mistakes that Liz sees veterans making in their first job search outside of the military
  • 18:30 - Resources that Liz would recommend to veterans to help in their civilian career
  • 20:48 - Liz's advice for veterans interested in starting their career as a recruiter, and an overview of the career of a recruiter
  • 24:26 - The most challenging part of Liz's job
  • 26:06 - How Liz started her own company, and why this was an important career decision for her as a recruiter
  • 28:08 - The Pros & Cons of starting your own company as a recruiter, vs. joining an established company as a recruiter
  • 31:33 - Liz's advice to any veteran interested in starting their own company
  • 33:00 - One of the biggest mistakes Liz made since leaving the Air Force and what she learned from it
  • 34:54 - What habits Liz tried to maintain from the Air Force, and habits she needed to break to be successful in her civilian career
  • 39:15 - What surprised Liz the most about her transition from the Air Force to civilian life
  • 41:24 - Liz's final words of wisdom