Why You Should Include Veterans in Your Recruiting Strategy – Ross Dickman, COO of Hire Heroes U.S.A

This upcoming Veteran’s Day, November 11, we want to celebrate, honor, and also highlight an organization that is helping America’s heroes daily. Hire Heroes U.S.A. is a non-profit organization that helps thousands of veterans and their spouses find employment.

We’re pleased to welcome Chief Operating Officer of Hire Heroes U.S.A., Ross Dickman, to discuss the importance and benefit of recruiting veterans and their spouses today.

Transcription:

Jim Fitzpatrick:
So thanks Ross so much for joining us on the show today.

Ross Dickman:
Thanks so much, Jim. It’s a true honor and privilege to be here with you today to talk about veterans and including them in your workforce.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Sure. As something you know a little something about, tell us about your service.

Ross Dickman:
Yeah. I’m happy to. So I grew up an army family. My dad and grandfather both served, and my sister and brother are actually served in the military as well. I was fortunate to be inspired by that teamwork and that passion and that desire to serve, and I did 12 years as an army helicopter pilot flying the Apache Long Bow.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That is fantastic. Wow. Well again, thank you for your service. Men and women heroes like you guys, that allow us to do what we do each day in this country. So keeping us safe and free. So thank you for that. Talk to us about your organization, Hire Heroes USA. What was the motivation behind putting it together? And then tell us about some of the work that you’ve done.

Ross Dickman:
Yeah. Thanks so much, Jim. Well, Hire Heroes USA, we’re an employment services charity focused on veterans and military spouses. And we were founded about 16 years ago when our chairman and founder, Mr. John Bardis on a tour of Walter Reed Medical Center, as he’s meeting soldiers that were injured and service members of all branches, he’s having conversations with them. And one conversation in particular that really stuck with him was with a young man who’s presenting fear was finding a job after service. And as he’s talking to someone, that he was really inspired with their skills and abilities and realizing, finding them opportunities to use those skills after service is really lacking. And that was the nexus for what we do since then, we’ve placed over 60,000 veterans and military spouses into wonderful careers and inspired to get the next 60,000 hired.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Well, we’re going to try to help you do just that. So talk to us, what skills do you learn in the service, that you use in your leadership today? What can people that are listening to us have this discussion, what can they count on in terms of the type of leadership skills that these men and women leave the service with?

Ross Dickman:
Yeah. Well, wonderful question, Jim. Discipline and accountability are kind of probably front of mind when you think of the military service. Teamwork should be up there as well. It’s a team based environment, very mission and values focused as well. So you’re getting someone in that’s inspired by the direction and purpose of the organization and adheres to the strong cultural values. Some of the other things you should think about too, is problem solving and decision making. I like to talk about too, they have an owner’s mindset and they exercise creativity, because in the military you have a plan you’ll go out and the plan will change when first contact happens and they have to think as an owner would think and creatively solve the presenting challenge, in a high stress situation. That’s what you’re bringing in, is someone who can manage those risks and problem solve when things are very stressful.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right. And companies, there’s every company out there I think is hiring right now. They’re trying to get the best candidates they can and through their recruitment efforts and such, but it’s tough out there. And then here you’ve got all of these incredible men and women that are leaving the armed forces each day and looking for employment, obviously that’s what you guys help them with. But man, you talk about a quality individual that companies are looking for, this to me, is the cream of the crop, right?

Ross Dickman:
Yeah, they come from all walks of life. And so as you’re trying to connect with your customers, as you’re trying to do quality service and you’re inspired by your own organization’s desires to kind of make an impact in the market. We believe veterans are a great opportunity to enhance your workforce. They can come from your community, they can bring diverse skill sets and they’ve gone through challenging experiences. But what you’re getting in with a veteran is someone who is fully committed, capable, and they have exercised a capability to lead in an environment that was very, very challenging. And so it’s a great opportunity to bring someone in, who’s going to take your organization to the next level.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Sure. Speaking of challenges, what challenges do most veterans face when looking for employment beyond service?

Ross Dickman:
Yeah, that’s a wonderful question, Jim. And first and foremost, it comes down to kind of skills translation more often than not. As we said, I flew helicopters in the army, but I’m not flying helicopters now. What I learned flying a helicopter, the aspects of decision making, even managing a profit and loss statement, the army didn’t teach me exactly a P&L, but they taught me the skills in terms of how I thought about that, the decisions that I had to make. That’s the skills translation aspect of it, that can be presented in some ways. When you look at a veteran resume that hasn’t gotten help at Hire Heroes USA, you might see that it’s very strategically focused on what they did, if they were an infantryman, let’s say. What we’re trying to help them do is take what they did in the service, which was very specific and tie it to the business need that it correlates to. That’s probably the most presenting challenge that they see.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Right. Yeah. Why do you think it’s important for business owners to hire veterans and their families?

Ross Dickman:
First, I think it’s smart business. Veterans stay longer. They tend to perform better. You’re bringing in someone who is going to be committed to the values orientation of your organization. And they came from an environment where at times they were resource limited. So if you need someone who can think on their feet and exercise decision making at a time when, “Hey, we’ve got to drive new customers and solve this problem, and we can’t spend a lot of capital to do it,” that veteran’s a great fit. So, it’s smart business for one. And two, I think it’s good business. It’s good business because it’s a chance to connect and grow your community as well. So you can hire local veterans, veterans that are one, coming in and not just contribute to your organization, they can contribute the community and the schools, build a great sense of values there. And to me, that’s a double whammy. It’s a great win for any organization to do smart business and good business.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Sure. I spoke to one business owner in anticipation of today’s interview with you. And I said, “What do you think about hiring the veterans that are out there, that served our country?” And he’s got about a thousand employees. And he said, “When a veteran applies for a job with my company, they already have an advantage over all of the other candidates, in our eyes. That’s our culture. That’s what we believe in.” Have you found other companies that look at it the same way, that those men and women that have served our country have an advantage when they go in to look for work?

Ross Dickman:
Yeah. We work with a lot of organizations that recognize the cultural value that a veteran will bring and the skillset. And so they have really robot us veteran inclusion initiatives where they’re wanting to kind of leverage those skills and include them into the team. They want to help build that platform, so as a veteran comes in, they know right away, they’re part of that team. And I think that’s one of those advantages. We tell the clients that we serve, “Nobody’s going to hire you just because you are a veteran. They want to hire the best person for that job. But if you can use your veteran’s skills to be that best person on the job…” which we believe they can, that’s great for any business owner.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right. So for veterans that are listening to us that may not know of your organization, what should they do? Should they reach out to you to say, “Hey, I’m looking for work. And it sounds like you guys are able to help me.”

Ross Dickman:
Yeah, absolutely. Go to our website, www.hireheroesusa.org, or any of our social media pages at Hire Heroes USA, and click to register as a client. From there, we’ll ask you some questions, understand your background, your skills from the military, we’ll validate your service. And we’ll partner you with personalized specialists, one on one, who’s going to be your advocate every step of the way. They’re going to help you with all the skills you need, to help find that next great career opportunity.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That is fantastic. And then if you’re a business looking to hire a veteran or looking to hire somebody that happens to be a veteran and they like what they hear today, what should they do?

Ross Dickman:
Again, website is the first, best option. From there, click on where you’re an employer and you’re looking to hire. We have a host of ways that we can help partner with you to include veterans in your workforce, find the right applicants, that could be through job boards, sourcing, it could be through broader relationships that are helping both brands grow and reach new markets. If you can’t find a website, you could always look for me on LinkedIn at Ross Dickman, there’s only two of us in the US and the others a weatherman, so you got a 50/50 shot you’re finding the right guy.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s great branding right there. So, is there a message, Ross, that you’d like to leave our viewers with or our audience with today on this Veteran’s Day? I think it’s so important that people jump into this opportunity, but what message would you have for them?

Ross Dickman:
Yeah, thanks, Jim. I think that the veterans in our communities, they’re the heroes among us, that have done amazing service to our nation. And they want to be great contributors, not just in their community, but to your organizations. And when they’re given those opportunities to lead in business, your business is going to grow stronger, america grows stronger, the nation gets stronger. I think it’s an amazing way to not just help a family and help a community, but to grow your organization in a healthy and inclusive way.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yep. Absolutely. Well, Ross Dickman, Chief Operating Officer for Hire Heroes USA, and a 12 year army veteran himself. Thank you so much for joining us on this show. We’re more than happy to help you get the word out of the great work that you guys are doing at Hire Heroes USA. So I’d love to do a follow up with you to see how things are going and how there’s other ways that we might be able to help. So thanks so much for your visit today.

Ross Dickman:
Thank you so much for the opportunity.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
And happy Veteran’s Day. Thanks Ross.

Ross Dickman:
Happy Veteran’s… Thank you.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Okay. Take care.


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