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Transitioning Veterans into the Oil and Gas Industry

Military veterans have skills and experiences that translate directly to the oil and gas industry.  Skills honed during military service, such as leadership and working to accomplish a mission make veterans an asset in the corporate civilian world, and the success of these workers has received corporate attention since the mid-1990s.  Today, about 10% of new hires are ex-military, and military officers are three times as likely to serve as CEOs compared to other Americans.

In order to recruit these valuable employees, oil and gas companies are advised to do the following:

  • Develop a strategic hiring plan
  • Focus and prepare current company decision-makers
  • Design and implement an aggressive and thorough hiring process

Step 1: Developing a Veteran Hiring Plan

Companies that successfully transition veterans into their workplace develop a detailed veteran hiring plan before they even begin interviewing candidates.  This plan should include identification of specific positions that would benefit from a military skillset.  In the oil and gas industry, former military officers tend to do well in project management, engineering, supply chain management, and maintenance.  Additionally, field service positions make use of a veteran’s ability to lead teams, multi-task, focus on safety, increase revenue, and achieve company goals.

In addition to outlining job positions that would be ideal for a military veteran, the hiring plan should include a leadership development program, training programs, and on-the-job training methods.

Step 2: Preparing the Organization

Once the hiring plan is developed, other members of the organization must be prepared to help the hiring program succeed.  Hiring managers should be included in the hiring plan and trained to match veterans’ skills with a specific position.  Additionally, current employees with military experience should be included in the hiring plan to help managers understand how to best apply a veteran’s qualifications to an oil and gas company.

Step 3: The Hiring Process

Once the hiring plan is in place and company personnel are on board with the program, it’s time to actively recruit military veterans and select the right candidate.  Companies should plan for the entire process – from first interview to job offer – to take no more than two weeks.

Candidates with a military background often share similar qualities that make them good oil and gas industry employees.  Veterans are often good leaders who are loyal and enjoy working as a team, and possess good “soft” skills, such as listening to others and customer service.  However, not all military personnel will share the same skillset, so a screening system is needed as part of the hiring process.  Ideally, a current employee with past military experience will be part of the interview team and can help the hiring manager and human resources manager match the candidate’s military skills to a job position.

Veterans are often fast learners and driven to succeed at their jobs.  Most veterans will want to know about advancement opportunities within the company, so employers should articulate future career possibilities.

Transition Programs

Working with transition programs can help oil and gas companies recruit veterans.  Most military branches have offered transition programs for many years, but the success of ex-military personnel in the civilian workplace has generated new transition programs outside of military bases.  For example, new higher education programs, such as the Master’s in Leadership and Management at Robert Gordon University can help veterans make the most of their military experience.  Additionally, a program specific to the energy industry, called Troops to Energy Jobs, trains veterans specifically for jobs in the civilian energy industry.

A veteran hiring program can help oil and gas companies recruit talented new workers.  Developing a detailed hiring plan, training company personnel, and learning to match military skills with job positions will help successfully transition veterans into a company.

Clover specializes in placing professionals in the oil and gas industry. If you are an Operator seeking to augment Project Teams, contact Jeff.W@clovergs.com

If you are an experienced professional looking for opportunities in the Upstream Industry (Alaska, Eagle Ford Shale Play, Bakken Formation, Deepwater Gulf of Mexico), send your resume in complete confidence to Chris.S@clovergs.com 

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