Hospitals usually have a goal of hiring true leaders with an understanding of mission, vision, and a don’t-quit attitude. They also want candidates with the skills and experience that the position demands. As a recruiter and a proud member of a long-serving military family, I often work with those who have served our country in the past and are seeking a permanent civilian opportunity. The challenge is that hiring managers often don’t recognize the skillset and titles that are directly translatable to civilian hospitals and healthcare organizations.
Military resumes are misunderstood
Frequently, military candidates will not even get a callback. There’s often a misunderstanding that military bases don’t have a ‘real’ hospital. There’s also a common misinterpretation of how the different military job titles translate to your typical hospital staff titles. As a result, their skills and experience are often discounted, overlooked, or simply not recognized as valid on a resume. The other challenge is that with base transfers, it sometimes looks on the resume that the candidate is a ‘job hopper.’,
The reality is that these candidates, who have been serving our country, receive the same training and get the same experience in a military hospital as they would in a civilian facility and their multiple assignments are simply transfers within the same ‘company.’ The military is subject to inspections, compliance, quality outcomes, and even possible HIPPA violation fines, just like any other healthcare organization. The military professional goes where they are needed; they acquire the same skillset, they don’t have the luxury of quitting when their boss is a jerk, and often their workday may be located in a war zone.
The perfect example
Recently I was working with an ex-military candidate. When I asked if she knew anyone looking for a new role as a Hospital Staff Coordinator, she replied:
“I really do not have any experience in the medical field, so cannot provide the contacts you are requesting. I myself am on the job market. My resume reflects that I was employed in a position as an assistant to a retired military officer. We assisted National Guard and Reserve healthcare providers deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan. That said, my only actual medical experience is that of assisting Credentialing Coordinators at the military hospital with privileging of the healthcare providers prior to deployment. I became quite knowledgeable in this area.”
She has the necessary experience for the position and was able to speak at great length of her successes. Even the candidate was surprised that she was in fact highly qualified. The key to success in hiring ex-military professionals is to have a comprehensive understanding of the role. It’s also crucial to recognize the match between military terminology and how that experience translates into civilian life.