A military-experienced candidate’s MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) will give your hiring team a generic description of their career field. It will not tell you how it translates to your specific technology or application. Transferable skills are how we in the military recruiting industry make the fit. Here are five steps regarding to how to assess this:

1). Identify your key technologies. There are several military career fields that work in areas such as electronics “little wire”, electrical “big wire”, mechanical or electro-mechanical skill trades. The more you can “open the specifications”, the more transferable military career fields you can consider.

2). Talk technology. Ohms law is universal and electricity works the same in all applications. Avoid speaking to top military technicians with industry specific language. Find common ground on the technology and work from there.

3). Don’t assess on just a test. Most top military technicians will be four or more years removed from technical school. And while some will excel on an examination with little or no study time, most will not be prepared. It is better to talk through schematics, wiring diagrams or a piece of gear. This will give a better understanding of their technical expertise.

4). Understand their community. In the Navy, serving on a carrier is much different than serving on a submarine. The carrier has a much larger crew and everyone specializes on a specific part of the ship. On a submarine, there is limited crew so everyone is more of a generalist, knowing how to work on multiple pieces of gear.

5). Don’t lock into one branch / rate / rank / specialty. Often a company will have success with one particular military career field and then will pigeon hole themselves into thinking that this is the only community with the technical expertise they need. And while sometimes this is the case, the vast majority of jobs have plenty of other technical career fields that are a fit as well.

There are many amazing men and women exiting the service with world class technical training. They have been battle tested in some of the most difficult conditions imaginable. And they will do amazing things for your company.

Bobby Whitehouse


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