EX MILITARY ENGINEERS – TRANSFERABLE SKILLS
The Recruitment Equation
The recruitment equation does not always favour the employer. Skills, experience, location, availability, salary expectations and qualifications contribute to the equation in question.
As an employer, we all hope that once the equation is calculated we end up with the correct answer; ‘The Ideal Candidate’.
Business factors and sometimes poor planning contribute to additional pressures in our aim, but these are easier to minimise prior to the calculation in question.
No Ideal Candidate
But what happens when your recruitment process has been exhausted and the ideal candidate has not been found? Do we repeat the process again, do we look at other resources or do we look at what variables reside within the equation.
One of these variables is the skills area, more specifically ‘transferable skills’. These relate to skills that have been gained by the candidate during their working career, skills that take time to develop and cannot be learned over a brief period of time.
A person who is about to leave the Armed Forces (Royal Navy, British Army or Royal Air Force) is a good example of a candidate who possesses strong transferable skills but, to the concern of a potential employer, may lack specific equipment/product knowledge and/or commercial experience.
Quite often this results in little or no consideration of the candidate in question.
For example, we recently supported an ex-British Army Avionics Technician (Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers), who had a proven background working within a rotary aircraft environment. We helped him secure a Field Service Engineer role working within the industrial printing sector.
On initial introduction, the employer questioned his suitability as there was no obvious link to the printing industry. But on closer inspection, the transferable skills were extremely strong.
The candidate had a demonstrable background in electronic engineering coupled with relevant recognised qualifications, they also had a clear history of being receptive to additional training, their curriculum vitae (CV) detailed an ability to work in different geographical locations some of which were obviously challenging, and they also had a traceable work history showing loyalty over several years to one employer: the British Army.
The candidate’s military background also illustrated effective communication skills, the ability to manage their own diary and the confidence to use their initiative when required.
On further consideration the employer invited the candidate to an interview which resulted in a successful placement.
There is also added value in bringing the ex-military engineering candidate with strong transferable skills into your business.
If they have not worked in your industry sector before they will arrive with few preconceptions and be open to learning new skills and work processes.
They will also have few if no poor work practices gained from previous employment, gained from working with a direct competitor. This enables you to train them in your way of thinking and operating. There is an argument that your new employee may also show you more loyalty having acknowledged your investment.
These transferable skills are not always detailed on a candidate’s CV and require some further investigation. A structured well planned face-to-face interview will include you probing for these transferable skills along with asking the candidate to justify their suitability. A strong candidate will be prepared for this event knowing that they are not the ideal candidate for the role.
So, in conclusion, do not be too hasty with your recruitment calculation as this may result in an incorrect answer.
Factor in transferable skills and this may lead to the all-important correct answer to the equation; ‘The Ideal Candidate’.
If you are struggling to recruit engineers and would like to explore the ideal ‘ex-military’ profile specific to your business, please get in touch.