Suppose that you are well settled in your 2ndlife in civil, and in such a position, where you can hire for your company - either as an Owner / Director / CEO / HR Head / Department Head or whatever...
Suppose also, that there's a position which can be filled equally well, by a person from civil or someone who is ex-Defence.
The Question is:
- Would you hire an ex-Defence person for the job? If so, Why?
- And if not, why not?
The aim of this article is not to offend, but to initiate a much-required discussion - to achieve the following:
To hear from the horse's mouth what you are seeking when you look to
hire an ex-Defence person.
To dispel or confirm certain notions:
(a) You very often hear one or the other of these views, from ex-Defence people hiring / those seeking to get hired:
- "Never seek a job in a company, where an ex-Service person is hiring. They tend to undervalue you.";
- "Some faujis overvalue themselves and therefore do not get hired"; or
- "Some faujis undervalue themselves, thereby dropping the market value of all ex-faujis!"
(b) Is there truth in these notions? Ultimately, what is important, is to know what people who hire, or those who are seek to get hired, think.
Here is my own humble opinion, in the context of hiring for any one of the following companies:
- Navyug Infosolutions Pvt. Ltd. - a Software Services company
- Arnima Ventures Ltd. - manufacture and turn key projects in Counter IED Trainings, LED and Solar.
In both companies, due to the tech nature of the work (software development, manufacturing,..), non-tech openings are less. That said, for such positions, wherever possible, we have hired ex-Defence people, and we continue hiring more. There are 3 primary things that we look for in the ex-Defence people we hire:
Spoken Reputation in the Defence Forces:
- The rank does not matter, nor does it matter at all, whether the person was approved for promotion or not.
- What matters is - what do his / her colleagues in Defence have to say about him
/ her - as a person and as a professional. The person must carry a good spoken reputation.
Willingness to Unlearn plus Learn:
- Is the person prepared to learn how to adapt core values and principles learnt in the Armed Forces to civil?: Principles and values do not change - how they are applied certainly does. And not all are prepared or comfortable to flex. And we are not talking about ethics here. It is quite easy to run an ethical business in civil. What matters, is to adjust to the other things - a self managed environment, no concern for timings, dress, etc. but extremely answerability for performance, which is much more easily quantified.
- Is he / she prepared to learn new skills, without harking often to the 'good ole days'? For example we have a GD ex-Defence JCO, now handling Company Accounts!
Can We Afford the Person?:
- Contrary to the notions mentioned above, we would never hire a defence person at less than what his / her civil counterpart. That is too short-term a measure to retain anyone of value!
- At the same time, we would be hesitant to hire someone at lower than his / her expectation, as per age and service. This means that the position must be weightly enough - which reduces the number of positions tenable.
- In short, the person and the salary must deserve one another, so that the person's colleagues are compelled to say, "We wish we had more people like him!"
What is Your Opinion? Please Share - you Could Help lots of Us.
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The first and second points are easy to address in a company where the hiring manager has connections in the armed forces, which helps him to do a background check of the veteran. In other companies, it is the fear of the unknown that probably prevents them from hiring veterans. Many have never interacted with veterans before, and have no way of getting a background check. And lets face it - the army doesn't really have a very good reputation when push comes to shove, and where the company has to invest money in a man. There's a need to change all that!
So I think there is business sense for agencies that want to act as a job portal for veterans in offering military background checks / assessments and differentiating veterans based on aptitude and capability as an add-on. All veterans are not the same! If the hiring company is satisfied with the background check / verification, it may just about be more open to hiring veterans.
Willingness to learn / unlearn cannot be judged in the course of an interview or by scrutinizing a resume (or both). Therefore the need to pick up formal skills like project management, ITIL etc, do a couple of MOOCs, or the best, complete a regular degree in management, displaying an active interest in effective transition from the military to the civvy street.
And lastly. when a company is convinced that they want you, they'll find a way to get you on board.
These are views based on my personal experiences, and may vary from others!
Here is a mail i had sent to my forum Forces Network:
Salary etc discussions keep popping up.
Having been on civvy street for a while i realise i have a whole lot to be
happy about. Travelling out of Delhi once in a while has also helped get an
idea of what life away from these stressful places is like.
Joys of small places that offer lower salaries notwithstanding we are often
struck by the glitz of the glass fronted offices of places like Gurgaon and
imagine that the guys working in there earn a bomb.
It may not necessarily be so. I realise that what makes a lot of guys
unhappy is the belief that the next guy is on a huge package. So will it
give you some solace if you hear what some others are earning?
I for one am earning enough for that one peg in the evening and occasional
coffee with Simi at CCD.
Here is my back of the envelope guesstimate of what officers leaving the
army(not counting AF and Navy deliberately coz they have many options coz
of tech qualifications) after 50 years, getting full pension are earning
out there on civvy street. Figures in thousand per month and percentages.
0 - 50K 20%
51 - 70K 30%
71 - 100K 20%
101- 150K 10%
151- 200K 10%
200- 300K 05%
Cheers,,, and your comments are welcome
Time for a coffee