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Emily King

Emily King, a nationally recognized expert on the transition from military service to civilian employment, is founder of the consulting firm Military Transitions and author of the new book Field Tested: Recruiting, Managing & Retaining Veterans (AMACOM 2011).

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Interview Questions for Veterans

by Nov 10, 2011, 2:39 am ET

When interviewing a former service member, your goal is to understand the various roles, responsibilities, skills, and experience the candidate has accumulated over the course of his or her military career. To do this, you may need to look well beyond the most recent position, going back 10 years.

Cpl. Todd Green, left, and Pfc. Kevin Adams on the South China Sea

Unlike a civilian resume that often culminates in the highest level of responsibility to date, the military resume is often a collection of seemingly unrelated experiences and must, therefore, be considered together as a whole.

Below is a list of questions (reprinted from my new book) you can select from, to assist you in understanding the candidate’s background and convey your interest in the world from which they are coming.

General opening questions can build rapport and sense where the individual is in his or her transition from military service to civilian employment. Begin with “I know leaving the military can be a big transition . . .”

  • How is it going, separating from military service?
  • How has the adjustment been?
  • What has been the biggest surprise about the civilian workplace?
  • What opportunities are you looking forward to taking advantage of as a civilian employee?
  • What challenges do you foresee as a new civilian employee?

For each job over the past 10 years, ask: keep reading…