Help for Recruiters – What Do Veterans Want To Do?

Work Interest TablesPay Grades TableWhat Do Veterans Want To Do?  |

By Mike Francomb  |  senior vice president of marketing at RecruitMilitary and a former captain in the United States Army  |

Published in the September/October 2012 issue of print Search & Employ®  |

A study of the future work interests of job candidates who have military backgrounds can help employers, franchisors, and educational institutions formulate their veteran recruiting strategies. We can provide data on those interests because we ask candidates who register at our website,, to select their interests from a list of more than 100 industries and occupations.

The candidates include men and women who are transitioning from active duty to civilian life, veterans who already have civilian work experience, members of the National Guard and reserves, and military spouses and other family members. Not all candidates select an interest, but each candidate may select up to 10 interests.

The tables in this article show the numbers who selected the top 20 interests in each of three categories of pay grade. We compiled the figures on August 16, 2012, when there were 433,996 searchable candidates in the database. Of those, 229,840 were in grades E-1 through E-5, 70,105 in grades E-6 through E-8, and 9,879 in grades O-3 and O-3E.

The tables show that the candidates have a tremendous variety of work interests. So most employers can find candidates with the skill sets they need – in addition to the other desirable characteristics that men and women who have military backgrounds bring to the table, including leadership, initiative, self-discipline, diversity, and, for certain work, security clearances.

Franchisors can find candidates with interests that relate to their lines of business. For example, a hydraulic components franchisor would want to contact candidates who selected Automotive, Maintenance – Installation/Repair, and Sales. An appliance-repair franchisor would be interested in candidates who selected Electronics Technician instead of Automotive.

Similarly, educational institutions – even highly specialized schools – can find candidates with interests that match their course and program offerings. For example, institutions specializing in information technology would want to contact candidate who selected that interest and perhaps those who selected Electronics Technician and Telecommunications.

E-1’s through E-5’s

E-1’s through E-3’s are privates first class and below in the Army, seamen and below in the Navy, airmen 1st Class and below in the Air Force, and lance corporals and below in the Marine Corps. The designations for Coast Guard personnel are virtually the same as those for the Navy.

E-1’s through E-3’s often provide great development talent in the most junior roles in a company. Because they are the “doers” in the service, they work well in teams to accomplish daily missions using their hands-on skills. These may include roles like maintenance technician, network administrator, or driver.

E-4’s are corporals and specialists in the Army, petty officers third class in the Navy and Coast Guard, senior airmen in the Air Force, and corporals in the Marine Corps. These personnel often make great supervisors for small teams of three to eight individuals. Additionally, with a few more years of experience under their belt, they’ve developed a level of maturity that, when combined with their technical competence, makes them an excellent choice for field service or route sales type roles.

E-5’s are sergeants in the Army, petty officers second class in the Navy and Coast Guard, staff sergeants in the Air Force, and sergeants in the Marine Corps. These individuals bring a bit more practical and formal leadership training to the table as they’ve typically completed multiple enlistment periods in the service and attended leadership schools each of the services operates. These junior leaders perform well in small team (up to 10-20 members) leadership roles. Additionally, high-energy individuals at this level perform well in sales roles that require a high level of activity and persistence.

E-6’s through E-8’s

E-6’s are staff sergeants in the Army and Marine Corps, petty officers first class in the Navy and Coast Guard, and technical sergeants in the Air Force. Typically, these individuals have served between 10-15 years, and they will be in leadership roles with teams of 7 to 15.  They may also be key members on operational staffs with specialized individual skills. Over the years, we have seen these servicemembers have great impact in individual contributor technical roles and team leader or first line leadership roles.

E-7’s are sergeants first class in the Army, chief petty officers in the Navy and Coast Guard, master sergeants in the Air Force, and gunnery sergeants in the Marine Corps. These individuals are the quintessential small unit leaders with teams of 15-40 individuals, and they will have served between 12 and 20 years. These leaders have proven effective in production supervisor, site manager, and maintenance leadership roles across a variety of industries. Additionally, they are strong individual contributors in key positions such as sales roles.

E-8’s are first sergeants and master sergeants in the Army and Marine Corps, senior chief petty Officers in the Navy and Coast Guard, and Senior Master Sergeants in the Air Force. These individuals have a great depth of experience and typically have served 20+ years in the service. Among the enlisted ranks, these individuals have often served at a more strategic level, but yet maintained an excellence at driving tactical results.

They will have leadership of organizations ranging from hundreds to thousands of servicemembers.  Because of their diverse and deep experience, these candidates are well suited for key leader roles, consultative specialty roles, and other positions where strategic thinking and hands-on leadership will drive results.

O-3’s and O-3E’s

O-3’s are captains in the Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps, and lieutenants in the Navy and Coast Guard. O-3E’s are personnel of those ranks who have previously served for more than four years as enlisted personnel and/or warrant officers (servicemembers who rank higher than enlisted personnel, but lower than officers).

Why did we select O-3’s and O-3E’s for this article? Because they are the largest classification of junior military officers (JMO’s) in our database, and because former JMO’s are especially valuable candidates for certain civilian positions.

JMO’s include second lieutenants, first lieutenants, and captains in the Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps; and Ensigns, Lieutenants Junior Grade, and Lieutenants in the Navy and Coast Guard. Former JMO’s have served from 3 to 10 years in tactical leadership roles. Those candidates find civilian homes as operations supervisors, territory managers, process engineers, and other mid-level leaders.

RecruitMilitary recognized the value of former JMO’s early in the company’s existence. We began in 1998 as a firm that placed former JMO’s with companies throughout Corporate America on a contingency basis.



About the Author

This article was written by Jay Myers