Our Blog

BY Joel Junker

Corporate America Wants Problem Solvers

After a very busy and rainy four days in Charlotte, NC, all of the candidates, companies and Cameron-Brooks team have returned home safely from the November Career Conference. We have a very busy 18 working days to come as we begin to coordinate all of the follow-up interviews. 47 candidates , 14 spouses/support team members, and over 30 companies were in attendance. Additionally, 31 Cameron-Brooks alumni attended the Conference returning to hire on behalf of their companies. The candidates averaged 12.5 interviews and  close to 590 interviews were conducted at the Conference on Monday and Tuesday! As a group, the pursuit rate was over 61%, with the pursuit rate defined as the number of interviews in which the candidates achieved success divided by the total number of their interviews.   Achieving success in an interview at the Career Conference simply means the companies expressed interest in moving forward in the interview process with the candidate.

Companies attend a Cameron-Brooks Career Conference seeking to hire top performing JMOs who can step into a position and demonstrate the ability to make an impact by solving critical problems. These problems eventually turn into projects as a solution is identified and a timeline is established. So, it is not a surprise that we receive feedback from the companies in our out brief sessions with them that they really want to hear about the candidate’s problem solving methodology; the steps they took, examples of times they’ve had to solve complex projects and manage complex projects.  This is especially true for the analytical and engineering project management roles and manufacturing team leadership positions. When a recruiter asks about a problem, he or she is asking about a process that was not working properly or achieving the desired results, a project that went awry, or some type of equipment that was not working properly. They are not usually referring to a behavioral problem. In other words, companies want to hear about problem that directly impacted the outcome of a mission, training event, combat readiness, etc.

The mistake most candidates make is that they jump right into how they solved the problem but never explain their analysis of how they got to the root cause of the problem. The companies wants to see how you determine the root cause of a problem, evaluate different courses of action, understand your thought process for selecting the solution, and then how you implemented it. To prepare for these interviews it is important to be educated and up to date on various problem solving methodologies such as DMAIC, Kepner-Tragoe, The 5 Ys (asking “Why?” five times), etc. Look for ways to apply these problem solving methodologies while you are still serving in the military so you will have good examples of how you have applied them to solve a critical problem in your unit/organization. Be able to discuss how your solutions then turned into projects and how you planned and executed those projects to get results. Remember, people bring problems to leaders and Corporate America likes leaders!

If you are considering a transition from the military to Corporate America, it is never too early to start preparing. From now until the end of 2015, Cameron-Brooks recruiters will be traveling to Colorado Springs, CO; Fayetteville, NC; Norfolk, VA; San Diego, CA; Jacksonville, FL; Manhattan, KS; Jacksonville, NC; Killeen, TX; Tacoma, WA; and El Paso, TX.  If you cannot make one of these visits, we also offer live and recorded Webcasts on, “Considering a Business Career?  What You Should Know,” and we can conduct phone and Skype Video personal sessions. Take control of your career, set a goal, develop a plan of action, prepare, and when you do you will reduce the variability in your results and reach your goals.

Congratulations to all of the November Career Conference candidates for a great conference and we look forward to a very productive and important next few weeks!

Rob Davis