A Vision for Veterans

The Toyota Veterans Association hosts mock interviews to help vets land private-sector jobs

February 06, 2018
Fly Away -- Throughout his 22-year Air Force career, Dale Bailey acquired multiple skills useful in a corporate environment. 

Over the course of his 22-year Air Force career, Lieutenant Colonel Dale Bailey developed a variety of usable skills.
 
He not only piloted planes, he trained other pilots. He escorted congressmen around Travis Air Force Base in California. He served as a leader, a team member and a mentor.
 
Combine that with his bachelor’s degree in computer science and his master’s in human resource development, and Bailey is exactly the kind of person many employers are looking to hire.
 
But still, his job search continues.
 
So, when Bailey heard that Allies in Service – the Roger Staubach-led nonprofit that looks to place service people into private sector jobs – and the Toyota Veterans Association (TVA) were hosting mock interview sessions for service members last week in Plano, he jumped at the chance.
 
“That Toyota was partnering with Allies in Service made it a no-brainer,” said the Carrollton, Texas resident. “When I showed up and found out each participant would be doing two mock interviews and then getting feedback, that sounded like a chance to get great experience.”
 
Overall, the 20 veterans who participated – along with 40 team members from various levels – found the sessions to be wildly helpful.
 
“It gives us the opportunity to tell our story,” one veteran said, addressing the group at the final wrap up session. “First, you present the bones of your story, and then the follow up questions allow you to put a little bit of meat on those bones. And with the feedback, you get a well-rounded interview process that I thought was very enlightening, very educational and I want to thank everyone for sponsoring this.”

Keyed by TVA head Michael Smith and Talent Acquisition Senior Manager Gina Smethurst, The event could become a regular thing for TVA. The Business Partnering Group would like to host mock interviews for up to 40 vets every six months.
 
Saying Thanks -- At the event's reflection session, vets like Trophenia Kineard (above, standing) discussed what they learned in their mock interviews. 

And they got off to a good start last week, as Bailey can attest.
 
“I was very honored to have my first interviewer be (Toyota Financial Services CEO) Mike Groff,” Bailey said. “His feedback after the interview was invaluable. He suggested that I work in my own personality, my character, my outlook on work and life. I really took that to heart and managed to incorporate it into my second interview.”
 
Groff was eager to help coach veterans through the interview process. His son currently serves in the Air Force, following in the footsteps of Groff’s father.  
 
“The questions were intended to get at who they are,” Groff said. “People present resumes, which show lots of functional experience. But during interviews, you’re really trying to sell yourself as a person. So I asked questions that were intended to get them to talk about themselves, their attributes and their styles.”
 
In the end, Bailey learned the importance of translation.
 
“In the military, responsibility comes early and you get a lot of different kinds of experience,” he said. “But sometimes, veterans often have difficulty translating that into what a corporate setting will understand. It’s communicating that in a way that a hiring manager will understand and connect to the corporate mission. Events like this help us translate our experience into private sector terms.”
 
By Dan Nied
 
Editor’s Note: If you’d like more information on the Toyota Veterans Association, or if you would like to help them at their next event, please contact Michael Smith at michael.smith@toyota.com

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