Editor’s Note: A version of this material originally appeared in the MOAA Military Spouse Employment Guide, a free resource for all military spouses. Click here to download the guide.
Even if an employer is “military-friendly,” the interviewer might be unfamiliar with uniformed service lifestyle. Military spouses often are asked specific questions. Anticipate the questions the interviewer will have, and then take the time to plan a response to them.
‘When Will You Move Next?’
Employers are interested in seeing a return on their investments. A potential employer will invest resources, training, and time in you for your new role. They might be concerned whether you will be in the position long enough to contribute to the bottom line.
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There are a number of ways to answer their questions and address their concerns so it becomes a nonissue or no longer part of their decision-making process. You can even flip your response into a competitive advantage.
Consider this when planning your responses:
- Emphasize strengths you bring to the table that make you a worthwhile investment.
- According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median number of years workers had been with their current employer was just over four years.
- Create a plan to produce results within the first 60, 90, or 180 days of employment to demonstrate your interest and commitment to contributing to their return-on-investment. Back up your plan with evidence of performance and results in other work situations.
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‘Are You a Military Spouse?’
From the Military Spouse Employment Survey results released in 2014, nearly 47% of female respondents with active duty spouses indicated a potential employer has asked them if they are/were a military spouse. More than 40% of all respondents said they would not inform a prospective employer of their military spouse status. When asked, “Why not?” the highest percentage of responses was, “I think it would make an employer less likely to hire me.”
This question might be asked through indirect questions like, “What brings you to the area?” Many employers make it a priority to hire military spouses, while others are reluctant. Thus, their interest in the answer to this question might help or hurt your candidacy.
NOTE: It might not take an interview question to determine you are military spouse. A military address or a string of successive jobs in various states might signal your status, and these indicators might be included within your LinkedIn profile.
Consider the following when planning your responses: If the employer is military-spouse friendly, use their understanding of and appreciation for military spouses to your advantage. Some ways to gauge their level of friendliness:
- Does the employer have a military spouse- or veteran-hiring program?
- Did they commit to hiring military spouses through initiatives like DoD’s Military Spouse Employment Partnership or the Chamber of Commerce Hiring Our Heroes initiative?
- Do other military spouses work for that employer?
- Tackle the employer’s underlying concerns like longevity and reliability.
- There is not a single perfect response that works for everyone, but it is important to be honest.
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