A Former Military Driver-Recruiter’s Advice For Hiring Former Military.

1If you really want to hire military veterans:
Don’t just say it. Show it!

By far, the most-read article I’ve written since launching this blog in late 2010 is Truck Driver Recruiting: Look To The Military For Superior Candidates. So it was a genuine, and unexpected, pleasure when I opened a recent email from my friend Jim Reed.

A military veteran himself, Reed is one of the recruiting industry’s truly original thinkers—as evidenced by the business model he’s created for CDL-Link. And by the novel advice Jim offered me in his email (completely unsolicited) for recruiting military veterans:

Create military structure and camaraderie
“Here’s the main reason I had a difficult time initially adjusting to civilian life: I missed the military’s structure and rules. I missed the camaraderie. I missed the sense of duty. So if I owned a trucking company and truly wanted to hire former military, I would create units, platoons, squadrons, etc.”

Pay drivers based on rank and achievement
“In the military, the path to advancement (much like drivers earning increased pay and better runs) is clearly defined. For my former-military drivers, I would have squadron newsletters, quarterly meetings with rank presentations, and medals for achievement. I would have a purpose for the unit that’s clear and genuine.”

Define the mission for your military unit(s) by rank
“For starters, emphasize that every delivered load contributes to the global mission. Have higher ranking individuals train and mentor lower ranking members (NCO to E-4 or less). Then create team-wear (t-shirts or jackets) with rank, name, and unit logo.”

Display name and rank on trucks
“Look at nearly any former-military car: You’ll find a sticker or license plate-cover denoting the service and/or unit they belonged to. So why not place a former-military driver’s company rank and name right on the door of his or her truck. What a great recruiting tool at truck stops:

‘Hey, what’s with “Staff Sergeant” beside your name on the truck?’
‘Well, I’m with X platoon at XXX Trucking. And when I get 5,000 more accident-free miles, I’ll make Tech Sergeant and earn a bonus.’”

It’s got to be real
“Everyone can spot a phony. Military people are trained to believe in sense of duty, responsibility, and pride of work. The unit and mission hold troops accountable. They eat, breathe and live their missions. Provide that to former-military people, and you have a winner!”

Jim Reed: I salute you.

Photo credit: United States Marine Corps Official Page / Foter CC BY-NC

6 comments on “A Former Military Driver-Recruiter’s Advice For Hiring Former Military.

  1. I like this thought process. A new and different approach to the all-important team building piece of the puzzle. I like it a lot.

  2. Being retired military, one small point. “EX military” usually refers to someone forced out due to some form of misconduct, most prefer the term former military.

    • Thanks so much for your input, Robert. Changes made. I wonder if that’s a generational thing? I’m 52, and (I’m guessing) at least 15 years older than Jim; and now that you mention it, I remember thinking the term “ex-military” somehow felt a little, hmmm, harsh? when I was editing his comments. In any event, you can be certain that Jim is a proud former-military man himself!

  3. This is a very novel approach and might fit for a Division of a Company that is Militarily based. How do you integrate this approach with existing companies that have a mix of former military and non-military. The compensation might be extremely difficult to sustain when some of the employees desire to work harder and earn more while others desire to spend more time with their families and still provide stellar performance?. Would be a great approach for a start-up company. Let’s hear more and support those who have so generously protected us.

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