Creating the Team
Lockheed Martin cemented its dedication to hiring veterans like Thomas with the introduction of its Military Relations team in 2005. The four team members, all veterans, attend hundreds of job fairs across the country, where they meet thousands of veterans and their spouses and children every year.
Prevatte was the company’s first and only recruiter dedicated to hiring veterans. After 30 years in the U.S. Air Force, Prevatte joined Lockheed Martin as a recruiter in South Carolina in 1999. A few years later, he was the corporation’s new military recruiter for Technology Services and traveled across the country and the world, logging 400,000 miles a year.
While Prevatte crisscrossed the globe, Teri Matzkin, a talent acquisition manager, analyzed in 2004 the hire rate of skilled non-exempt job candidates encountered at job fairs. She quickly realized that recruiters and hiring managers were missing out on other key talent. She found that hiring managers were often searching for employees based on ZIP code or area code near a specific work location. But military personnel, she explains, are based all over the country and may be willing to move for a job.
“We were leaving a lot of people untouched even though they had clearances, advanced education and leadership experiences,” she says. “We needed to make a concentrated effort to make these people more visible to our recruiters and hiring managers.”
So Prevatte and two others were tasked specifically as military relations managers. A dedicated website followed in 2006. A fourth manager joined the team in 2010, dividing the country into four areas: metropolitan Washington, D.C., Eastern Region, Central Region and Western Region.
The team highlights for hiring managers high priority candidates, such as people who either have skills that the company is seeking at a particular time or who have a needed skill that is hard to find.
All candidates, military or non-military, go through the same application process on Lockheed Martin’s careers website, Matzkin says.
In 2007, the military relations team expanded its outreach with regular online discussions with current and prospective employees. In 2011, the team added monthly two-hour virtual chats specifically for wounded warriors.
“They’re important because our veterans, stationed or deployed anywhere, can talk person to person with any four of us. Once they realize that we’ve been where they are and understand firsthand what they’re facing, the dialogue really opens up,” Prevatte says.
Dozens of servicemen and women join these chats. Prevatte and Matzkin are not aware of another company offering this opportunity.