Hire a hero

July 31, 2007
"The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of a mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one." -- Wilhelm Stekel. I recently had the good fortune to talk for a while with Dan Caulfield, executive ...

"The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of a mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one." -- Wilhelm Stekel.

I recently had the good fortune to talk for a while with Dan Caulfield, executive director of "HireAHero.org," an online military community, if you will, that combines the attributes of "My Space" and "Craigs List" all in one package. Former soldiers, sailors, airmen, reservists, and National Guardsmen (male and female) post personal profiles on this site describing who they are, their military work experience, and what kinds of jobs they are interested in. Folks in the corporate and civilian world also get to post personal profiles, to offer jobs directly or start a chain of personal connections that can hopefully lead to a job down the road.

Caulfield is extremely passionate about his site, not only because he's a former Marine officer, but because it's free to everyone -- there's no cost to join up. The site is funded by donations, corporate sponsorships, and government grants (with the National Guard being one of the biggest in the government column). "It's all about networking -- that's how most people eventually get the jobs they want," he told me. "We're just providing an electronic platform so they can make those networking connections on a bigger and faster scale, nationwide."

(If you are a corporation that would like to make a donation, get in touch with Dan directly at 760-803-7619.)

Caulfield says that just posting a resume alone on HireAHero's site leads to a job hire rate of 13.6% -- about 1 in 10 -- while filling out the personal profile and linking to six other people on the site increases that rate to 30%. Again, this is not about showing off funky haridos or sharing esoteric interests in music; this is a site devoted to lining up the skills of the 200,000-plus active duty soldiers that get honorably discharged every year with a job in the civilian world.

"The military takes you out of the social networks in the civilian world, so we're trying to offer a way for them to plug back into them," he explains. "Listen, the one thing all military service men and women have in common is that they will all have to get out at some point and they will need jobs when they do. This makes the process easier."

And not just for the soldiers, mind you -- trucking managers looking for drivers and mechanics could easily create a pipeline of candidates from this site into their organizations. Heck, the Army base at Ft. Hood, TX, has a maintenance garage that is literally 10 miles long, chock full of technicians that know diesel engines inside and out. The beauty is that this type of "online networking" is something all of the young 20-something aged ilitary service members are used to -- My Space and Facebook are part of their lives, so getting in touch with them via a similar platform makes a lot of sense.

About 300 ex-service men and women are signing up at HireAHero.org every day, along with 25 volunteers (typically moms and dads lookng to help their children and their freinds find the right jobs) and 25 folks from the corporate world, like recruiters. Like I said, it's free to join and who knows? Maybe you'll find the right job candidates you are looking for.

"It's a big win for companies because I can tell you without a doubt what their employment history has been, what job skills they have, etc.," says Caulfield. "These are not just kids off the street whose background and work history can be plagued with a lot of unknowns. All of our service members have been honorably discharged, so you know they passed the course, so to speak."

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