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  • Writer's pictureMatt Wood

This One Time, Back At ...

For the Gen X folks, the title of this article is something you have more than likely heard a few times, and it ends with "band camp." For anyone who's served in the Army over the last 20+ years, you have also heard something similar that ends with "Bragg," which refers to the home of airborne and special operations, Fort Bragg, NC.

I know the other branches have sayings similar to the "back at Bragg" line as well. Essentially, what it means when someone says this is that, much like the line from the movie American Pie, they are trying to convey an experience of some sort. It's a way something was done, something that they saw happen, or a methodology of doing something, although I would caution readers that this article has nothing to do with musical instruments.

By now I'm sure you're asking what this has to do with hiring from the military community.

I will give you an answer, but first I want to talk a bit more about the military. When someone in the military decides they want to become part of their service's special operations forces, they do not just say "I want to do this," and they are now part of that organization. To become an Army Green Beret or Army Ranger, a Navy SEAL, an Air Force Pararescueman, or a Marine Raider, individuals have to go through an assessment and selection process. This is followed by advanced training or schooling to prepare them for their new role and job, along with other assessments to determine their suitability and continued training and assessments throughout the duration of their career. They are vetted and assessed constantly throughout the selection process.

In the special operations community, they have a list of the five SOF (Special Operations Forces) Truths that pertain to how this community selects and builds their organizations, and it can be applied to businesses looking for top talent, especially ones that say they want to hire from the military community. Those five truths are as follows:

  1. Humans are more important than hardware.

  2. Quality is better than quantity.

  3. Special Operations Forces cannot be mass-produced.

  4. Competent Special Operations Forces cannot be created after emergencies occur.

  5. Most special operations require non-SOF support.

Today, we are going to explore only one of these truths. We will start at the top, and cover the rest in subsequent articles.

The number one truth should be pretty easy to translate over into business, humans are always going to be more important than hardware. Human capital is your most valuable and important resource. It goes without saying that without people, your company isn't going to go anywhere. People are what give your company its competitive advantage, and hiring the right talent will help get you that edge. To quote a former senior military leader, "Technology is just an enhancer. We win with people, end of story."

The same is true when it comes to business. You can have all of the best tech in the world, and it can give you an advantage over your competition for a while, but eventually your competitors are going to either acquire the same technology or capabilities and you can end up on even ground. It doesn't matter how good your systems or products are, without the best people in your company, reliance on those systems or products to stay at the top will cause that advantage to slip away. Human capital, your people, are the foundation upon which to build your true advantage in the marketplace.

What are your company's largest revenue generators?

If you listed an item, a system, or some piece of technology, I hate to break it to you, but those are not your largest revenue generators. Your talent acquisition and talent management programs are your largest revenue generators. These two areas impact every other revenue-generating function within your company. If you are neglecting your company's programs to acquire and manage top talent, what you are really doing is neglecting your largest asset and potentially stunting your company's growth.

Now that we have this out of the way, let's go back to the "back at Bragg" statement. In realizing that human capital is your largest revenue generator, how are you approaching your hiring processes in your company? Are you looking solely at whatever comes in to your applicant tracking system or a piece of paper or two without doing any further inquiries?

I have talked before about how building a solid military hiring program is not going to be cheap. It is going to take a significant investment in time and money, but the return on this investment is going to absolutely be worth it, both tangibly and intangibly. Sure, you could skimp on talent acquisition to get seats filled quickly, but hiring the wrong people can end up costing you more money than being intentional in how you approach talent acquisition.

While former military professionals and military spouses may not have the specific line of business experience to walk in and immediately start running for you, they do have experiences and skillsets that are going to be very valuable to your company over time. Unfortunately, since most companies are focused on recruiting rather than talent acquisition, these members from the military community get passed over due to this perceived lack of business acumen. By providing adequate training to your recruiters and hiring managers on how to recognize potential top talent from the military talent stream, you are going to see your list of candidates greatly increase, and your company will reap the benefits of effectively hiring these individuals.

This is where Suiting Green comes in. I will help your company understand how to be more intentional and effective when it involves building a solid military hiring initiative. If your company is okay with potentially bleeding thousands of dollars due to bad/poor hires and turnover, I can tell you right now, having Suiting Green work with you would be a waste of both of our time. However, if you truly want to build a company that will have a solid competitive advantage in your marketplace, and stop the cycle of bad hires and turnover waste, then we need to talk.

Let's make your company proactive when it comes to hiring and create an investment in your company's future via your human capital. We do that by thinking, and acting, strategically, and hiring smarter.

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