Posted on Apr 10, 2014
1LT(P) Infantry Officer
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For those transitioning to the civilian side, I always recommend that you push "Hire Character. Train Skill."

Please share your other interviewing tips here.
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LTC Chad Storlie
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A lot of former military get hung up when the interviewer asks a bad or awkward question. For example, "how many people in your unit were killed" or "How many war crimes did you see?" Below are some examples how to respond. They key point is to sell your value and not answer the question directly.

The biggest point for military veterans when poised with an awkward question is to not answer it directly. A military veteran has to constantly promote and demonstrate with examples how they can create greater value for the organization, the organization's customers, and help improve fellow employees. For example:

INTERVIEWER: Well, I heard that the roads were dangerous! What's it like to shoot machine guns when you probably hit innocent people? Did that bother you?

MILITARY VETERAN RESPONSE: The situations were almost always dangerous, but we developed several standard procedures to help minimize the danger. One of my responsibilities was to make sure each resupply convoy was fully utilized. One of the ways we did this was to make sure we developed a standard process for military organizations we were supplying to order and forecast supplies in this way were were able to ensure each vehicle on the convoy carried a maximum load of essential supplies. In this way, even if a unit had not already asked for an item, we anticipated their needs so we could help reduce the need for a follow up resupply convoy. The results of this ordering and forecasting process were a reduction in the total number of convoy's by 15% but an increase in the tons shipped by 10%. Even in a dangerous environment, we hauled more tons to our "customers" and exposed fewer military personnel to danger. My experience in inventory management, forecasting, and on-line ordering systems will be invaluable to this position. The danger that I was exposed to will provide a great leadership base as I develop and train new employees so they can be the best they can be in front of customers.

The key response for veterans is to: (1) use the STAR format: Situation, Task, Actions, and Results; (2) create a story that demonstrates the value you will bring to the company, (3) show how your military skills translate and apply to the company and industry that you will work, and (4) how military leadership creates a foundation for successful corporate leadership.

Veterans will lose any discussion where they directly answer a "dumb" question: For example,

Interviwer Question1: How Many people did you kill?

Vet Response 1: I did not kill anyone.

Interviewer Question 2: Didn't kill anyone? Were you a failure? Why were you there then?

The proper veteran response is to ALWAYS sell your value with easy to understand, simple, and solid examples that demonstrate how you will create value for the firm
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CW3 Dylan E. Raymond, PHR
CW3 Dylan E. Raymond, PHR
7 y
Are these real questions I cannot see an HR rep asking these irrelevant question.
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LTC Chad Storlie
LTC Chad Storlie
7 y
Dylan, these questions and content were developed based on real world interview feedback for a Military Times Edge article that appeared in the July/August 2014 issue on pages 20-22. Hope that helps!

Chad
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CW3 Dylan E. Raymond, PHR
CW3 Dylan E. Raymond, PHR
7 y
Colette lastly I would add just be yourself, be confident. I can usually tell when answers are memorized and not natural. Lastly an interview is a two way street you are interviewing them and the company as well.....I think that put the company on notice as well
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SGT Ben Keen
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There are several things transitioning service members can do to help out when interviewing for jobs; these are some that I practiced.

1 - Remove the jargon.  We have our own way of speaking in the military.  From 24 hour time to radio terms like "WILCO"; we speak differently than the rest of the world.  And while we can understand each other the general civilian work force doesn't.  I'm not saying "dumb it down" or anything, but put what you are saying into terms that any civilian can understand.

2 - Don't list your awards, list what you did to earn them.  While we should be proud of the awards we received while serving, the general civilian work force doesn't understand the difference between an Army Achievement Medal and an Army Commendation Medal (or other service related medals).  What they do understand is what you did to earn that medal.  Did you earn a medal because you took it upon yourself to learn how to update MEDPROS for your unit while deployed resulting in the updating of medical records for your unit?  Than list that.  Did you earn a medal by figuring out a way to save money by developing a better process to do something?  List that too.  Copying and pasting Block 13 of your DD214 doesn't work on a resume.  

3 - Research the copy you applying for.  Find out what they do.  Look at the achievements they list on their website.  Find out if they have any Veteran Friendly programs within the company.  Sites like LinkedIn and Glassdoor all offer some great information that can be help in your job search.

4 - Dress for success.  I've talked with several Veterans who were out looking for a job who didn't own a suit.  Go get one.  Is your money a little tight?  That's okay; there is no harm going to your local Goodwill or something like that to find a suit.  There are also some programs in some communities where Veterans can go and get a free suit that someone has donated.  Either way, get a suit.

5 - Write a resume to work for you.  Your resume should do most of the work for you.  The time you spend on your resume should pay off in a document that shows employers why you are the best person for the job.  Why should they hire you?  Just look at the resume.  Keep it current and keep it posted.  Have copies ready when you go into the interview in case someone on the interview panel doesn't have one.  

6 - Network, network, and network.  Give connected in your community.  Sites like RallyPoint is a great start.  Things like this thread could be beneficial and without having RallyPoint in your network you would have missed out. Other sites like LinkedIn and yes even Facebook can be great places to find possible employers so get off the couch and get to networking and when you think you are done, network some more.  
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SFC Contract Administrator
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Well put
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LTC Chad Storlie
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Two Books on Amazon :

Authored Articles:

(1) Article about me in Georgetown Alumni Magazine - http://alumni.georgetown.edu/career/career_81.html
(5) Podcast on Translating Special Operations Skills to Business - https://soundcloud.com/#ournorthwestern/01-14-careertracks-chadstorlie
(6) Podcast on Book Combat Leader to Corporate Leader - https://soundcloud.com/#ournorthwestern/career-tracks-chad-storlie
(8) Oxford Leadership Journal - Managing & Leading in the Midst of Uncertainty - http://www.oxfordleadership.com/journal/vol2_issue1/storlie.pdf
(9) American Legion Magazine - Business Lessons of the Tuskegee Airmen - http://www.legion.org/careers/215804/tuskegee-airmen%E2%80%99s-business-lessons
(13) Denver Post - What Military Leaders Can Learn from Business Leaders - http://www.americanhomecomings.com/news/2014/02/06/military-leaders-learn-thing-two-business-leaders-column/

Featured Articles:

(2) NY Post - Operation Employment - http://nypost.com/2011/05/23/operation-employment/
(7) Atlanta Journal Constitution - Career Development for Veterans - http://www.ajc.com/news/business/career-development-for-military-veterans/nQsyL/
(9) SHRM Employing Military Personnel and Recruiting Veterans - http://hr.ucr.edu/supervisor/military_program_report_fnl.pdf
(10) SHRM - Translating Talent from Military to Civilian Jobs - http://www.shrm.org/about/news/Pages/MilitaryToCivilianJobs.aspx
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SFC Contract Administrator
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Appreciate the information Sir
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SFC Ceo, Hmfic And Chief Floor Sweeper
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Great suggestions. You wouldn't happen to know any of the authors would you?
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