“Help ME help YOU”: the now-famous words of cinematic sports agent Jerry Maguire in the classic film of the same name summarize what recruiter Chris Rieben wants to tell veterans seeking new careers.
With more than 15 years in the recruiting field, and ten years spent as a Marine Corps Sergeant, Rieben is in his third year as the Talent Acquisition & Military Program Lead for Air Liquide America. The company offers industrial gases and related services to a variety of customers including those in large industry, industrial manufacturing, electronics and healthcare marketplaces.
Rieben’s hiring strategy has been successful, as more than 10% of Air Liquide’s hires now come from the military. Air Liquide is also part of the Joining Forces Initiative through the Department of Energy.
Helping Air Liquide reach its hiring goals is RecruitMilitary. “We knew we needed another partner to work with, and after doing some research we found that RecruitMilitary provided the best overall value with a great ROI.” Air Liquide now attends the company’s veteran career fairs; posts jobs on the RecruitMilitary website; uses its database to search for job candidates; and advertises in the company’s print magazine, Search & Employ®.
According to Rieben, the veteran talent pool is the right fit. “Veterans have excellent trained skills and they’ve shown dedication to their country. Their loyalty to their employers is second to none, and those values are in line with ours at Air Liquide,” he said.
He went on to point out that once a veteran reports to work at Air Liquide, he or she will not be alone. Air Liquide has developed a Veteran Employee Resource Network and has begun a Military Champion Program. Air Liquide is also committed to helping its employees rise through the ranks. Those placed in technical roles have career ladders with an extensive on-the-job training group. Employees who have gone through the program find that it pairs well with their military experience.
When he speaks with veterans at career fairs, Rieben wants to hear their unique story. “It’s great to have an idea of what you want to do, but tell me about what you’ve done, and why you joined the military in the first place,” he urged. “For example, someone in the administrative or clerical field who may not have seen any action in combat was still drawn to the military and willing to serve their country. That’s a powerful story,” he said. “The worst thing someone can do is come up to my table and ask, ‘What do you have for me?’” he said.
He appreciates those who do some homework ahead of time. “Don’t feel like you have to be an expert on the company; just be somewhat prepared. A good starting point is to describe what you’re good at and what you enjoy doing,” he said.
Rieben encourages veterans to ask questions of the recruiters as well. “Find out what are some challenges for their department, translate what you’ve done, and what you can bring to the table or how you can help a company to perform better. People value that,” he said.