Military Transition Interview Tips

Your First Non-Military Interview Can be Scary

When making the transition from military life to civilian life, one of the first things anybody faces is finding that all important real-world job. This can be an overwhelming task especially if you've put in 20 established a day-to-day communication scheme that is distinctly military. Although the protocol you subscribe to during your military career worked well for you, the same techniques will have no place in civilian life. Therefore you should follow the following tips when approaching that very important first job interview of your new civilian life.

Know What Makes up the Interview

You are going to have to understand that 90 percent of the new process is the person questioning you also assessing your personality and just how well you will fit in with the company. Your own personal hygiene, the manner in which you dress, and even to type of briefcase or purse you carry weighs heavily on making a positive first impression. You may believe that you're speaking ability and your body language does not weigh as heavily as the skills you will bring to the job but you are sorely incorrect if you hold onto this thought.

You Must Be Sold

Once you get past the "book cover" segment of the interview, you'll have to show that your motivation for wanting this job benefits the company and not just you. Additionally, you'll need to have an in-depth understanding of what technical abilities the company is looking for while interviewing you. Don't be surprised if you are asked to take some sort of skills test. Your interview process only provides a limited amount of time for you to prove to the interviewer that an investment hiring you as been well spent. Make sure that you have available any and all personal references as well as your education record - both private and military.

Call People by Name

Although you military protocol required you to use a lot of "sirs and ma'ams," the civilian world considers these types of citations too formal. A good idea is to follow the lead your interviewer gives you, for example, if this person says "Hi, my name is Tim," then by all means call this person Tim. If the interviewer greets you telling you her name is Mrs. Smith, then obviously call her Mrs. Smith.

Get Rid of Military Jargon

An area of great concern for many people separated from the military after a long career is how to get over the use of military jargon. The perfect example for this is reference to time. When you are confirming your appointment time, the company representative will more than likely tell you that it will be 2 p.m. and not 1400 hours. Just like you have to do when preparing your military to civilian conversion resume, If called upon to explain your military duties, refrain from using acronyms and other military-based descriptions. Translate these into language civilians understand so if you explain your job state what it was like "I was the logistics commander responsible for planning all equipment transportation," instead of saying you were LogCom, SoCom, Fort Billings.

Try to arrange for the interview at a time past discharge where you can grow your hair out a little and are not still feeling the immediate separation shock.


Gail Esparan