Why Companies Hire the Cameron-Brooks JMO Despite the Current Financial Crisis

The unemployment rate hit 8.9% last week.  This means that Cameron-Brooks’ client companies are getting a lot of resumes and applications for every open position they have.  In fact one client told me yesterday, “We have more resumes and applications than we can shake a stick at.”  Yet, this same client attended the April 2009 Conference to fill one of their openings with a Cameron-Brooks JMO.  The company wanting to interview a JMO ahead of industry experience is impressive.  What is more impressive is that, after interviewing several C-B candidates at the Career Conference and later for follow-up interviews,  ended up making employment offers to 3 candidates!  That’s not the only example.  Another Cameron-Brooks client had a key sales opening in Chicago for which 10 internal personnel and over 10 more outside applicants had applied, yet they also wanted to consider 3 Cameron-Brooks JMOs.  In the end the offer went to a Cameron-Brooks JMO.  Both of these companies are on the FORTUNE Magazine “Best Companies to Work For” list, so they are well known and probably have their pick of who they want to hire in today’s market.

The question is, with so many candidates on the market, why is a company considering a Cameron-Brooks JMO with no business experience and for whom the company pays a hiring fee?

Here is what our clients tell us.

In the words of Jim Collins’ book Good to Great, our clients want to “Get the Right People on the Bus.”  JMOs in general bring high performance with leadership potential that the company will grow and develop for the future.  To be sure, clients can fill most current openings internally or with an external applicant but where will the person they hire be 5 or 10 years from now?  What is that person’s upside?  Whereas a JMO is choosing to leave the military to pursue a business career, most other people on the market have been let go from their company for a variety of reasons.

Our clients do not want just any JMO, they want a consistent top performer who is well prepared for a new career.  Companies have a choice where to recruit a JMO.  They can troll Monster.com or various job boards, use other JMO recruiting firms, or partner with Cameron-Brooks.  The number one mistake made by JMOs  who conduct their own career search is a lack of  preparation.  Even those who use a JMO headhunter or recruiting firm make the same preparation mistake because they are advised to wait 2-3 months before their transition to start preparing.  This lack of preparation shows in the interviews where the company sees raw talent but won’t commit the time or money to invest in training the person.  After all they have people in the market with industry experience who are applying and who would not have to be trained.   A JMO can overcome this lack of preparation in a “candidate” friendly market of the past but  it is becoming increasingly more difficult in today’s market and I expect it to stay this way for awhile.

At Cameron-Brooks we thoroughly vet our candidates.  We ask for a complete 4 page application, evaluations and a transcript, and then conduct a 30-45 minute Personal Marketability Assessment before we make a decision on the next step.  In almost all cases we have met a candidate face to face 2-4 times and had more than a dozen phone conversations before the candidate attends a Career Conference.  The face to face interaction is key to relationship building and understanding the candidate’s unique background and career goals.  Next, all of our candidates complete our Development and Preparation Program (DPP).  DPP serves many purposes.  First, it prepares the Cameron-Brooks JMO for a new career.  Our clients expect the candidate to come in and immediately contribute – not for the candidate to expect training – that’s the value of  DPP.  Second, DPP requires a commitment to excellence and hard work.  If JMOs do not want to work hard towards the success of their transition, why would they work hard in a career for one of our clients?  Committing to successfully completing DPP ensures the Cameron-Brooks JMO is committed to business.  One of our clients spent one-third of a 90 minute interview with an April candidate covering commitment and loyalty.  The candidate  handled it easily because she knew what she wanted, she demonstrated proof of commitment and loyalty.  Finally, DPP and focused preparation allows the JMO to apply and practice business principles in their military career before their transition.  This increases their military performance and allows them to apply business practices before their business career.

So if you were a client company, who would you a choose?  JMO #1 who brings leadership and talent but has done limited preparation and not put forth the effort to start his/her new career ready to contribute immediately?  Or JMO #2 who has prepared for an average of 12 months, read approximately 10 business books, worked through self analysis exercises, further developed the leadership skills and applied business principles in his/her military career,  been a consistent top performer, committed to a business career, and who has been thoroughly vetted by the oldest, most experienced JMO recruiting firm in the industry.  I know who our clients are choosing.

If you are a JMO and you get advice to prepare 2-3 months before your transition, not ask for any preparation nor take time to really get to know you  (deeper than just asking your location preference) – question it.  I am not saying it’s the wrong or right choice for you, just question it, do your research.

Joel Junker