JMO Recruiting - Transitioning From The Military

If you are a Junior Military Officer and you are interested in JMO recruiting and transitioning from the military, the following article regarding handcuff firms will be a key reference point in your career search.

JMOs should avoid handcuff firms

Exclusivity and "Handcuff Firms"

If you have ever purchased a home, you most likely worked with a real estate agent. Your agent probably sat down with you (and your spouse if you are married) to discuss what type of house you are looking for: How many bedrooms, two-story or one-story, location, price range, etc. Then, once your agent has an understanding of your desires and has done their research, together you would visit and evaluate a multitude of different homes, as many as that agent can locate that are a match for your needs.

This scenario probably sounds familiar as it is a very common practice in the home buying process. The agent, who represents you, should guide you and act in your best interests. This means showing you every potential home that meets your specifications and is worthy of reviewing.

Now, what if you signed an agreement whereby you were only able to buy homes that were represented by the same agent? An agreement that precluded you visiting an “open house” event? An agreement that forbade you from posting questions for home sellers on the internet? An agreement that wouldn’t let you buy a house that one of your fellow officers referred to you?


JMO recruiting

(Photo - David July/

No home buyer would sign such an agreement. We wouldn’t and neither would you.

Yet many officers do something that can be even more damaging – they sign an agreement with an “exclusive” or "exclusionary" military placement firm, also known as a “handcuff” firm.

Just like in the home buying scenario above, an exclusionary agreement obligates you to find a “home” via the handcuff firm, but in this case the “home” is the place of work where you will begin your post-military career. It is hard to imagine a scenario whereby an exclusionary agreement would be in the best interest of the job seeker.


Explore Your Options

Especially in this day and age, no officer who wants to explore the true breadth of career fields, companies and locations that are available to them would sign an exclusionary agreement. There are too many avenues via which to pursue a “best fit” career.

(Photo - U.S. Army)

At minimum, you will want to use one or two no-cost, non-exclusionary military recruiting firms to maximize your number of potential interviews, and you will want to leverage your personal, military and alumni networks for hiring manager contacts. On top of that, some officer job seekers will also attend military and corporate job fairs. Other options include applying for jobs via resume boards on the internet and corporate career sites, as well as professionally networking on LinkedIn within industry career groups.

The point here is that if you want to be in full control of your career options and job search timeline, you won't sign an exclusionary agreement.


Myths and Reality

So why do some officers sign up with a handcuff firm?

The biggest myths that you will hear from handcuff firms are:

Myth 1: We represent only the best companies. You cannot get a job at Company ABC without signing an exclusionary agreement with us.

  • Reality: No military recruiting firm represents all the best jobs. If this were the case, all the other military recruiting firms would have gone out of business long ago.

The fact is that there are a myriad of great companies that hire military officers, and the top ones utilize more than one military recruiting firm.

JMOs should avoid handcuff firms

Myth 2: We represent only the best candidates.

  • Reality: Every military recruiting firm represents top tier candidates. And if you are the best of the best, you are going to stand out in any situation (so you would want as many opportunities to put your product (you) on display as possible, not just the events held by a handcuff / "exclusive" firm).

The “exclusive club sell” is a widely-known civilian sales technique – it appeals to the desire in all of us to be in the best school, the best fraternity, the best team, the best neighborhood, etc. And many officers are bushwhacked by it.

Myth 3: You can’t look for a job on your own when working with an exclusionary firm, even if their interview timing is not in your favor.

  • Reality: It is true that a handcuff firm will try to keep you so busy with training books, writing papers, etc., that you won’t have time to look for a job outside of them. However, you may in fact find an ideal opportunity outside of the handcuff firm that is your “dream job”, or more importantly, that is on an accelerated hiring schedule more to your liking.

In the military recruiting business, having both a good business reputation and a great track record with military officers is critical. A no-cost military recruiting firm that tried to prevent an officer from taking a job found outside of their firm would be playing with fire. The risk of this negative reputation being passed to fellow officers, classmates and / or a military newspaper would be enormous. As an officer searching for your next career, you owe it to yourself to review as many opportunities that match your preferred geography, career goals and desired timing as possible, and not be beholden to a handcuff firm’s typically more rigid program.


Introduction to Bradley-Morris, Inc. (BMI)

Avoid handcuff firms

(Photo - U.S. Air Force Central Public Affairs)

Now, with the scoop on “exclusivity” out of the way, here’s our introduction.

As you begin your job search, Bradley-Morris, Inc. (BMI) would like you to consider us as one of the resources you choose to assist you.

At BMI, we believe all military professionals considering a career change should have options. Since 1991, Bradley-Morris Inc. has successfully placed tens of thousands military professionals into their civilian careers – and we have done it without requiring exclusionary agreements. This is proof that from our large and diverse client base, we deliver high-quality opportunities to our candidates without forbidding them from investigating other avenues or resources. We know from experience that the more options you can take advantage of as a career seeker, the better for you.

Bradley-Morris provides:

  • The largest client base in our industry – which means more potential opportunities for you to consider.
  • A tailored hiring solution – we will put together a customized plan for you based on your experience and subjective preferences.
  • Preparation – we provide a professionally-written resume, in-depth interview coaching and comprehensive training to prepare you well in advance of your interviews.

JMO officers

(Photo - isafmedia)

In summary, when pursuing a career change, it’s not only important to know your options, but to have the ability to leverage all options available to you. At Bradley-Morris, we have been in your position before and even if you decide not to use BMI, be sure you do not handicap yourself by limiting your search with a handcuff firm.

Remember – this is your career search – don’t limit the “house” you can buy.

If you have questions about JMO recruiting and transitioning from the military, please feel free to contact us.



At no time did Bradley-Morris pressure me into any commitments or require me to sign a binding contract, unlike some of the other military transition companies that practice handcuffing their candidates. The meaning behind this was that I could continue to conduct job searches outside of what BMI had to offer me; I could cast my net wide in my job search without limitations. But ultimately I did not have to, because at my first Bradley-Morris ConferenceHire® event, BMI matched me with multiple Fortune 500 companies I would have never considered on my own and I was hired by my first choice of those companies.” – Bradley-Morris placed officer job seeker