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BY Brock Dudley

The Bar is High: November 2023 Conference Follow-Up

We have now concluded our last Career Conference of 2023 and just two days post-conference, we are already busy working with our candidates and client companies to conduct follow-up interviews! One takeaway… the bar is high.

The follow-up process consists of a mix of virtual and in-person interviews with companies where there was mutual interest in moving forward in the interview process. For the next two to three weeks, the candidates will be involved in the follow-up interview process where they will conduct site visits and learn more about companies. On average, the entire process takes 18 working days for candidates to conduct their initial and follow-up interviews and will result in earning offers, and ultimately launching their new careers.

So what were the statistics?

The candidates conducted a total of 398 interviews in two days, with an average of 9.95 interviews per candidate! The pursuit rate for this Career Conference was 63.3%. The “pursuit rate” is defined as the number of interviews in which the candidate achieved success divided by the total number of interviews. “Achieving success” in an interview at the Career Conference simply means the candidates got over the “bar” set by our client companies, and the companies expressed interest in moving forward with the candidate.

Where is “The Bar”?

The bar is high! As my colleague Joel previously stated in April, candidates are playing a different “sport” in 2023 when it comes to interviews and their career search compared to 2021 and 2022 following the pandemic. This economy is best described as “mixed”. Unemployment is relatively low, but interest rates are still high. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, we are sitting at 3.9%. That is only a .1% increase since last month and suggests that the end of the Federal Reserve’s raising of interest rates may be here. We will know more in December.

Companies haven’t been taking out as many loans or spending as much. This decrease in spending has affected many industries and forced companies to tighten when it comes to hiring. It doesn’t mean companies aren’t hiring, it just means they are screening harder when it comes to hiring new employees!

While they are screening harder, I want to reiterate that what we are seeing is low unemployment! People have jobs and companies are STILL HIRING! In fact, many companies are having record years. My main point is that things are competitive, and one must be prepared to interview competitively. Again, the bar is high.

So what does “competitive” mean?

For Junior Military Officers, it is important to understand that while unemployment is low, there are a lot of experienced candidates on the market who have industry experience. As someone who just went through the transition so recently, I want to be very transparent about what I am seeing. I was sitting in a company out brief last week, and I was listening to a Senior Manager who has 25+ years of experience in their industry tell Joel how the candidates performed. He said to Joel:

“I love every single one of these candidates. I had great conversations with them; they have been extremely successful in the military. It’s hard because while I want their leadership, I need them to hit the ground running. I need to see that they can deliver value from the beginning. I am also comparing them to people with industry experience.”

Let’s talk about this…

If we take a step back and reverse engineer this, can you imagine a Warship’s Commanding Officer who has 25+ years of experience considering hiring a civilian who has no military experience driving his or her warship or running day-to-day operations over a JMO who has experience doing that? It’s an interesting question to ask yourself. While I said it, let’s reverse it back to Corporate America considering hiring a Junior Military Officer and discuss why it is different.

As you can see in the statistics above, companies value the JMO leadership advantage and are continuing to come to Cameron-Brooks to build their leadership bench and invest in their company’s future leaders. You have a unique advantage compared to most because you have experience in leading projects, people, programs, solving complex problems and managing equipment and companies value that.

Let’s tie it all together!

I talked about the economy. I talked about how competitive it is right now and I gave some insight to what a Hiring Manager said. So, what is my point in all of this? My point is threefold:

  1. If you are considering making a transition to Business, Corporate America values you. The numbers don’t lie. Despite this mixed economy, JMO’s saw on average 9.95 interviews over a two-day period with A-Tier, industry leading companies that value the JMO and are set up for you to grow into future leaders of the company.
  2.  You can never start too early. You must be able to communicate your accomplishments and experiences to a Hiring Manager succinctly. The more you read, you more you learn about industry recognized practices and grow in your business knowledge, the more prepared you will be.
  3.  It is competitive. You need to be prepared. You need to have the mindset that it is the bottom of the 9th in the world series and if I get a hit, we are World Champions.  You can’t walk up to the plate and be worried about the scuffs on your shoes. The same applies here with regards to location vs. opportunity. The more focused you are on making a successful transition, getting into a company that values you, the better off you’ll be when it comes to location and opportunities.

There are plenty of opportunities out there for JMO’s wanting to transition to the business world. Each of the hiring groups at this Career Conference attended with open positions they are looking to fill with top JMO talent. We saw 2 openings for every candidate which means more opportunities for candidates.We are off to a fantastic start in helping our JMO-to-business candidates with their career transition and pivot from successful military leaders to successful business leaders.

Stay Tuned!

On December 5th, my colleague Pete Van Epps will conduct a post-November 2023 Career Conference webcast that will include several Cameron-Brooks alumni who attended the November Conference and have successfully launched post-military careers.  Our alumni will share their experiences in the Cameron-Brooks program all the way through their Career Conference and the follow-up process.

Interested in exploring your options with Cameron-Brooks?  Curious about how to make a successful transition? If you are a JMO considering making a transition to Corporate America and would like to be part of a future Cameron-Brooks Career Conference, reach out to us for a personal consultation with one of our Transition Coaches. You can never start too early! If you are even remotely considering making a transition, Why wait? Start now! Give our most recent podcast on starting early a listen here.

Brock Dudley

Principal, Transition Coach


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