(Part 3) Veterans continue to be in high demand for careers in tech and cybersecurity, but why are there barriers between veteran talent and these great jobs? The employment and staffing landscape is more complex than ever -- luckily, we're here to help sort through it all.
We welcomed cybersecurity and tech staffing expert Ben Pechacek from Identify Security to the show to discuss how to bridge the gap.
Questions? Comments? Continue the discussion by requesting access to our exclusive WVF Facebook Group.
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Intro & Outro Themes:
Barry Dallas - I’m Gone (https://uppbeat.io/t/barry-dallas/im-gone)
Noise Cake - Light It Up (https://uppbeat.io/t/noise-cake/light-it-up)
Today on Wisconsin veterans forward the third and final part of our dialogue with Ben Peche from identified security. We're talking about connecting veteran talent with careers in tech and in particular in cyber securities, given a lot of great insights. Well, you already know that, cuz you've already listened to part one and two. My hope you have, if you haven't , you gotta , you gotta go back. Just go back two episodes. We'll wait for you. We'll be right here. We won't start without you. All right . You good? Let's do it. You are listening to Wisconsin veterans forward. Wisconsin's premier audio resource for veterans, military families, veteran and owned and veteran friendly businesses. Wisconsin veterans forward is brought to you by the Wisconsin veterans chamber of firstname.lastname@example.org .Speaker 2:
And there's nothing wrong with a college degree. I got a lot of 'em . I , I , I applaud anyone that goes into higher education, but college degrees are not worth what they once were depending on the industry. If you wanna be a medical doctor yet you better have a medical. Yeah .Speaker 1:
You wanna be a dentist. You wanna be an engineer. You're you're gonna need to go to college.Speaker 2:
Exactly. You're you're gonna need to do that. But even my engineers that, that I have deployed in the field right now. Um, many of them do not have college degrees. Many of them are self-taught. Many of them are certified through different bodies and have been doing this for fifth , but they don't have a formal college education. So I think a lot of times veterans, when they get off active duty, they get too hung up on getting that college education. What's wrong with learning a trade or what's wrong with learning a professional certification. There's nothing wrong with that. My father was an electrician for 40 years, just retired a year ago. He earned trade . That was something no one could take away from him when he got laid off , uh, from ale Smith way back in the day when ale Smith was a big monstrosity in , in Milwaukee. Yeah , he got laid off. You know what he did. He fired up his Resty van. He did side jobs and that's how we paid the bills. And, and my sister and I went to private school for our entire grade school life. And my sister went through high school all four years at private go island went two years cause I got kicked out, but that's another story. But , um, he was able to always be a commodity. My it people, my cybersecurity people. Um, I've got some of them right now that a full-time job doesn't work for them. They work contracts and they work four or five, you know, concurrent projects at one time. And a lot of them , um , never saw the inside of a , of a university. A lot of 'em did. And it's more akin to being in the trades than it is to being , um, someone with a, with a professional degree in many cases, not all the time, but in many cases , um, at a minimum, having certain certifications, like the ones I mentioned are enough to get your foot in the door. Even if you have a job that says we require a four year degree apply. Anyway, they may look at you and go, well, he doesn't have a degree, but he's got security. Plus he's been doing this 12 years. Oh . And he did it. The military looks like, and he wrote a very easy to read and understand bio about what he did in the military. Then you know what? That's gonna open doors for you.Speaker 1:
Well, let's say you have all those things. Let's say you wrote a great resume. You have com T I a , you have certified ethical hacker. You have a bevy of certifications that, that prove your proficiency in this field. You wanna get a job in, so cybersecurity. Do I just go to indeed.com ? Are there, are there channels that are the best for me to find a job that pays appropriately?Speaker 2:
Yes. Um, and I actually, it was funny. I had a conversation with a military veteran yesterday , um, that has all the certifications , um, did it in the military and was even working in the profess civilian world for a while , doing it and said, you know, Ben, I have filled out over 700 job applications this year, already year to date. We're only in March. Um, and he says , and I've had 32 interviews out of those 700 job applications and zero offers. I said, really? I said, well, do you have anything in background that might come up? That would disqualify? He goes, no, not at all. I live a quiet life. Okay. Other than that, I think we have a problem telling your story. So he made the right decision by interfacing with me. Now I'm not a recruiter. I'm the director of security solutions for the company. But I do recruit when we have high priority assignments or , uh, I don't let any of my recruiters touch my military veterans, reason being my recruiters are civilians, nothing wrong with that. Right. But I'm better at parsing out military experience than they are. And every a hundred percent of the time when I've found a military veteran, I've placed military veterans and jobs. Um, other than one of them, I'll just say a hundred percent of the time. Screw the one. Um, the resumes were not good enough to tell their story . So I actually rewrote them. I did it on the nights or the weekends and rewrote the resumes. And after I rewrote them, well, then they started getting more interviews. Then they got offer letters. Then they got hiring. So it's, there's a lot of things that are said about recruiters. Some of them well deserved. Some of them exaggerations are not so true. Um, the advantage that I I have is not being a recruiter, but working with a recruiting team, I can tell you a lot of HR based recruiters , um, they're quick and dirty. They churn and burn. They use bots or software to read your resumes. It fits out keywords and it higher . And it , and it polls , uh , what it thinks are ideal candidates. Now, of course, that doesn't work if your resume sucks. Um , so that's where a lot of milk your veterans get caught. They , they interface with the wrong recruiters. I would challenge veterans to , uh, qualify or disqualify a recruiting firm. You're working with someone like us is ideally suited because we're so niche . We're so granular and we don't use bots. I've got four recruiters that manually read every resume, every LinkedIn profile. And I mean, we're doing Julian searches to pull pertinent keywords and things like that. You'reSpeaker 1:
Not, not , you're not using a, a standalone applicant tracking system, sort of software to weed things out.Speaker 2:
We do not use our applicant tracking software to read resumes for it .Speaker 1:
And that's the way to go and, and a way go. So what you're saying is, is a great way to make sure that you get paired with a position that, that gives you that is appropriate for your skills. And also compensates you appropriately is , is connecting with a staffing agency or a recruiter who you trust and whoSpeaker 2:
Suited for your industry. That's the most important part. Okay . A recruiting firm that it of suited for your industry. Because if I want a factory job, I will talk to almost any recruiter out there. Doesn't matter. I'm like, Hey, you have any work? Nope. Okay. I'll go to the next one. You have any work, but I want something that's niche something that's a little more specialized. I want a firm that either does a lot of what I do , uh , or what I'm doing. Um , someone that's connected to a like industry , um , and that's important. Uh, ZipRecruiter's fine. Indeed is fine. Indeed. Contrary to proper belief is more of an aggregator than anything else. Indeed is cool because it pulls job postings from other websites. Like for example, if you go to identify security.com and click on careers, you'll see the job openings that we have indeed has those same jobs listed. And we didn't post 'em indeed, indeed actually crawls websites, finds job postings and then links it on their page, which is brilliant. Yeah. A lot of people don't know that. Um, so you may find some diamonds on the roof there, but a lot of times on some of those job boards, what you're going to find is , um, people that have champagne taste and beer money , um , you might find some big companies on there, but big companies contr to popular leaf don't have the deepest pockets, right ? So if you're an it security professional coming off active duty, you're used to making what 60 grand a year, 70 grand, if you're in E six. Sure. And you know, say you have all those certifications that you talked about previously, and I need to step into a professional role. How do you keep from being put into another 70,000 year job instead of 130,000 year job, which is more close to the industry average? Well, that's engaging with the right recruiter that specializes in your industry or is uniquely qualified to understand your skills. So if you're a military by and you work in cybersecurity or wanna work in cybersecurity, you should reach out to someone like me. Uh , at my level, I may pass you off to one of my associates, but more than likely I'm gonna work with you personally, if you're a military veteran and that's an exception if you look at, and I won't mention other recruiting firms, but if you look at a lot of other recruiting firms, they're completely and utterly unprepared to , uh , assimilate military, right ? Um , kind of a fun thing. Uh, if you wanna entertain yourself , uh, alert your, or set your LinkedIn profile, your ZipRecruiter profile and your indeed profile to say you're open for work and look at the recruiting emails that come through, actually read them. Don't just , don't destroy them. Sure. When I got recruited for this company, I was good to ignore the email that I got, but I read all recruiter emails. Sure. And this one sounded cool. And here I am. So I still get the occasional job opportunity. Like I got one, a few weeks ago that , uh, was a medical device delivery driver, again, nothing wrong with it. But I was like, how did I come up on a search for this? Sure. So I actually took the interview with a guy he's a recruiter working for a , a medium sized , pretty well known recruiting firm. Okay. And , uh, I, I totally baited him and I wasted his time, but he thanked me for it afterward. He said, yeah, Ronald talk about his job. I think you'd be a great fit. It's a really super great company. They pay really well. I'm like, oh yeah, that sounds really interesting. Um, I have a , a couple of questions. I mean really one question. And he goes, yeah , yeah , yeah . What do you got? And I said, which of my five college degrees do you think most pertain to this particular job of driving medical devices around and he stuttered and stammered and couldn't find his thoughts. And he's like , uh , I'm like, just tell me, you didn't read my resume. And you went off of what your software said. He's like, yeah, kindaSpeaker 1:
They , and they keyword search for veterans cuz it was a labor wage position.Speaker 2:
Exactly. And that's exactly what he told me. And I said, how long you've been recruiting? He's like six years. I'm like, okay, let me tell you something. I work in, don't use your software until artificial intelligence and machine learning. Get to a point where I can understand feeling and interpret context, you know , never, ever work at finding good candidates and lies yourSpeaker 1:
Keyword out of there. Come on .Speaker 2:
Yeah , exactly. Yeah. Just, just, you know, find me as a whole person. Like when I search for people, I don't search for military veterans . I find a ton of 'em , but I don't search for it. I search for the skills, demonstrable skills. Yeah . And experiences that are pertinent to the job. Now, when I find a military veteran, I put 'em in my own separate recruiting bucket and I reach out to them differently just because I'm a veteran one to connect with other veterans. Um, but those churn and burn recruiting firms, I don't do that. And, and they just submit 10 people to an employer here, pick one. Okay. And they move on to the next one. They don't really care about you. They don't care. We're more like sports agents than recruiters. Like if you're a sports agent and you got an athlete telling you, Hey, I wanna play for the green Packers. Well guess what? I will get you an audition with the green bay Packers. But in our conversation, if you me, Hey, I really don't like the cold, but I wanna play for green bay. I'm gonna say, we need to look at Tampa bay instead, cuz they're a lot warmer. Right . But I'll never tell someone that they can't take a job or they shouldn't take a job or they should take a job you're in the driver's seat of your career. And our clients know that we're very protective of our talent as well. And that's another reason what makes us stand out because our clients know that we're gonna give someone to them. That is well qualified for the position is a quality individual and has been properly vetted because they know how protective we are of our talent. Cause it's not enough for us to just shove you into a role that you can survive in. I could take a military veteran and put 'em in all million different roles and you know what? They're gonna survive in it. Absolutely. Yeah . You know, especially if there's no toilets around, but if you have think of it this way, it should be the motivation of the employer, a recruiter, the employee to not just survive in a role, but to thrive in a role because let's get granular for a second. If you , if I put someone into a role and they truly thrive in that role, guess what they're gonna be happier, which means they're more productive, more efficient. They're gonna stay at that company longer as long as they're happy. Really. And I look better to my client, which is a selfish goal of mine because I gave 'em a quality person. That's gonna be there forever. Nobody likes the revolving door of employment. Nobody likes when someone stays for a year and a half and then moves on to the next thing . And that'sSpeaker 1:
Too . It's very expensive. I mean, we're not cheap. We are not cheap at all. So to keep going to me over and over again, to keep hiring people, well, they're not gonna keep coming to me if I get people for them that only stay there for six months. But if I get two, three people that stay there for six months, I will have that conversation with the employer and say, why are these people leaving? What are you paying? Okay . You're below the industry standard that may have something to do with it. Yeah . So maybe if you can increase your budget, we can get people to stay longer. Or what's your culture look like? You know? And I'll get feedback from the people that leave those places. And we compile a lot of data. Like I know things that are , um, much more granular compared to like the common like Glassdoor and things like that as far as companies. And I can imagine like that . So when I have like the , the military veteran , I talked to yesterday, when I was talking to him, like , what are your salary requirements? Cause , well , I I'm used to making 70. I , I need to make 70. I'm like you have X, Y, and Z. I'm like, you're the minimum I would bill you out as a hundred, $10,000 a year. Like that's the minimum. But because your time as , and he was yeah . Using EEX yeah , because your time as an E six , you can be a manager. I could recommend you for a senior position. That's 130,000 a year. Right. I said , you're undervaluing yourself by about half. He's like, honestly, I had no clue. I Googled some jobs and I looked at their average salaries and I just figure, you know, I'm new to the civilian. I said , don't be timid. Now is not the time to be timid. Now is the time to be confident, not narcissistic, not , not too proud. Confidence , exude confidence. The way that you did when you were in the military, you know, just cuz that uniform doesn't come off or just cuz the uniform comes off does not mean it goes away. It's still a part of your soul. You need to bear that with you with pride and integrity live, you know, on our case , I would, I'm biased and say live the army values every day and be confident in yourself, tell our story properly and you will succeed.Speaker 1:
It's good advice, man. And man , I went by so quick. It's hard to believe that we're up against our time here.Speaker 2:
Sorry . I talked a lot.Speaker 1:
It's it's great advice though. Uh, not, not only for the , uh, employment seekers, but also the employers. Um, and I've got uh, identify security scrolling across the bottom here. Identify security.com for both tech staffing and cybersecurity needs. And you can reach out to Ben. I'll put his , uh, LinkedIn in our show notes , uh, to make sure that you're able to reach out to him. If you have any questions or if you're in the area and you need his assistance , uh, with getting your tech career , uh, uh , off on the, off on the right foot here. Uh, Ben , uh , sure. To appreciate your time today. My man.Speaker 2:
No problem. I just wanna say, if you are a veteran, you wanna be an it cybersecurity. Um, reach out to me, email me, message me on LinkedIn, whatever I am very busy right now because in case you guys haven't known the whole, world's kinda like on fire right now in the cybersecurity world. Oh sure . So I may take me some time to get back to you. Give me a day or two to respond to you and I will get back to you. Um, I may not be able to rewrite resumes for every person that's on there, but I'll do my best I can to help whoever I can in the military world.Speaker 1:
Good stuff, Ben, sure. To appreciate your time, ask you to hang on the line for just a minute man. Good stuff. If you want a career in tech, it cybersecurity. Any of those things. Ben is definitely a guy to talk to identify securities, definitely a team to talk to. Uh , but there are resources out there, you know, and a lot of the times he mentioned a couple times the veteran doesn't know what they don't know. They have no idea. They're not getting trained the right way on how to find the, the substantive employment with the appropriate pay scale. Uh, they , they're not taught that in their transition, in their taps classes or , or otherwise, and they need, they need to know it . So sometimes you need someone in your corner and those staffing firms, aren't charging you to get you a job. They're getting the money from the corporation, you know? So it , and it behooves them to make sure that you get a good paying gig that you are long tenured in. It, it , it helps everybody. So there's, there's no like ulterior motive or anything. You know, those staffing firms really are a great asset, especially in that industry for veterans who are looking to transition. So make sure to head up Ben or somebody like him in your area. Uh, and if you have any questions , uh, obviously, you know, we cast a wide net here. Uh , uh , any questions about the wide variety of things that we chat about on the show, feel free to reach out or , uh , take a look at our website. Why not? W I veterans chamber.org and yeah, appreciate you tuning in . We'll see you next week. Thank you for listening to Wisconsin veterans forward brought to you by the Wisconsin veterans chamber of commerce. Please visit email@example.com . Don't forget to subscribe to this podcast, leave a rating and review in whatever platform you're listening through.