JIBE Takes Helping Veterans to a Whole New Level
The United States Military is a land unto itself. It’s a place where the language is a sub-dialect of English focused on the specific tasks and realities of military life. It’s hard to overestimate the difference between being inside and being a civilian.
At about $1 Trillion in annual budget outlays, the first layer of Defense spending is over 4% of the economy. When you add the local impact of those dollars, it’s easy to argue that Defense has a 10% footprint. The size of the budget swings significantly depending on whether the military is actively engaged in conflict operations.
It involves a lot of people. Roughly 1.5 million people are active military, 500 thousand civilians support them, another 900 thousand are in ‘reserve’ forces. That’s nearly 3 Million before you count the various shapes and kinds of Defense contractors, vendors, suppliers and family members. (Wikipedia)
The unique tasks and orientations of the military make it a relatively closed ecosystem. But when it shrinks and swells, it has significant consequence for the worlds around it. Military veterans have extraordinary levels of experience. Responsibility, which is won slowly in civilian life is big and rapidly acquired. Being responsible for the lives and safety of your peers on an always on basis matures active duty personnel quickly.
Because it is a highly technical environment, veterans are comfortable with the complexities of decision making in a high stress, high data, high ambiguity environment.
Under ‘normal circumstances’, about 250 thousand people leave the active duty military each year. As the various global conflicts conclude that number will grow for the next several years. The predictable problems associated with translating military experience into civilian language significantly slows the rate at which veterans make the transition.
The unemployment rate for vets is bad and getting worse. "Fair or not, eight years in the Army is viewed by some employers as eight years without private-sector skills and experience," says Business Week. "The skills issue is particularly troubling. Hiring is strongest in jobs that require specialized education, and weakest for blue collar jobs……Even military jobs that are in the right ballpark for growth industries — say, software or electronics technician — may involve specialization that doesn’t readily apply to Silicon Valley’s Web 2.0 or software-services jobs."
The Recruiting industry’s response ranges from the simple to the downright astonishing.
Jobvite recently released "Apps for Heroes", a toolset that allows employers to post jobs directly to the Veterans Job Bank. This simple job cross-posting function makes it easier for employers who want to to reach out to veterans. Jobvite also allows employers to attach a Button to job posting that makes it easy for veterans to attach their military experience to a job application. There is some controversy associated with the approach. Veterans military experience packages include a lot of non-relevant data including health information.
Meanwhile, JIBE, the New York social Recruiting startup, has taken the game to a whole new level.
JIBE’s job matching tool for vets translates veterans skills into the language of employers. Veterans enter the military terms for their experience, JIBE translates. It leaves non-relevant, private information in the hands of the vet. On JIBE, a Veteran can find any job, regardless of whether it’s been specifically targeted to them. JIBE automatically matches their skills from their Blue Button to jobs on the site. They don’t need to rely on the company to select it as specifically targeted to them. JIBE also has marked jobs as Veteran Friendly if the company has committed to the President that they are hiring vets.
Although the JIBE tool can be used to cross post to the Veterans Job Bank, JIBE also annotates any jobs from employers who have committed to being veteran friendly. In addition, JIBE also streamlines the tax credit application process by giving employers the information they need in the job application.
It’s amazing to see parts of the industry moving to make life easier for veterans. There appears to be an innovation race that comes down to who can deliver the best actual help to veterans. We score the competition as a win in round one for JIBE.
But, like the problem itself, things are not going to stand still as we tackle the problem of reintegrating our veterans.
John Sumser is the Principal Analyst and CEO of HRExaminer. John is an industry analyst who focuses on the intersection of people and technology in the HR Universe. John is the also principal of Two Color Hat where he routinely advises Human Resources, Recruiting Departments and Talent Management teams with product analysis, market segmentation, positioning, strategy and branding guidance.