There is no shortage of military and veteran hiring events as they advertise across this nation to attract and retain top military talent for their organizations. Service members and veterans are heavily persuaded to attend these events to have the opportunity to network and ask questions. While this may sound like a great notion,  it may be falling rather flat as it pertains to the valuable insight and benefits that job seekers receive while attending these events. It’s also confusing when the information at the hiring event can be found online at the organization’s website. It’s easy to question the point of attending that event.

From the organization’s perspective, employers feel attending the events allows job seekers to ask questions about the organization and network with other job candidates. If in the rare opportunity, there is an onsite hiring manager available to speak to the candidate, then that could be beneficial. I want to emphasize the word “rare” as having onsite interviews or having direct access to hiring managers is not standard practice at most of these events, in my experience. It’s easy to wonder why “the sought-after military talent” isn’t directly pursued at events like these. Most of these events feel like they are hyper-focused on marketing and advertising and conveying a message that organizations want to hire military talent and less so on the actual hiring of them.

I brought this topic up several months ago as I addressed a veteran group on LinkedIn asking what their success was with attending these events as job seekers. As suspected, most candidates did not find any viable benefit from attending and did not have an opportunity to talk or interview with a hiring manager. Many veterans felt that the information at the event was not much different than what could be found online and with a simple Google search. The consensus from the veteran job seeker’s perspective was that they were referred to go online and search for jobs of interest on the organization’s website and apply. There did not seem to be any additional credible tips or advice that would justify attending in-person hiring events like this. It’s made it hard to really feel enthusiastic about attending more hiring events like this in the future.

I believe that these hiring events could be really beneficial for the job seekers. It’d be so helpful to actually have at least one hiring manager from each organization attend these events. Being that these events are not typically back to back and year round, it doesn’t feel like a big ask. If the intention is to truly hire veteran talent, then this should become the golden standard at military hiring events.

It would also be helpful to see veteran employment statistics so job seekers understand what the term “Veteran Friendly Employer” actually means. Having data back up terms helps make the connection. Lastly, if the final word of advice is to go home and apply online then please consider setting up a job applicant booth where the candidate can apply onsite coupled with a business card of the hiring manager to follow up with. This will at least give the job seeker a bit more of a personal touch rather than sending them back home with a bag full of merchandise and thanking them for their service on the way out.

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Carin Richelle Sendra is a Post 9/11 USAF Veteran that served both in active duty as well as D.O.D security contracting OCONUS. She has spent time in both the private and public sector working within the Human Capital space assisting organizations to train and develop their teams. She has spent time as a lecturer for academic and professional development. Carin has spent several years supporting the military and veteran community while offering her unique perspective that many veterans encounter post-service. She has a Master's degree in Management studies from The University of Redlands and a certificate from Cornell University on The Psychology of Leadership.