Swords to Plowshares Partners with CORT for Veteran Employment

November 17, 2016

Last week, Swords to Plowshares hosted a Strategic Hiring Event for veterans with CORT furniture. The one-day event provided on-site employer interviews for a pool of qualified veteran candidates and same day tentative hiring decisions. Housed under Swords’ Employment & Training Special Projects division, Strategic Hiring Events are a unique partnership between employers and our Employment & Training Program.

Swords’ Strategic Hiring Events allow staff and employers to maximize their hiring partnership to create an effective hiring event for veterans and employers. These events can be undertaken by a diverse range of companies, but the same model is always followed. An employer with at least five open positions will share information about their openings with Swords staff, and we meet to discuss the minimum and desired position requirements. We complete recruitment and outreach, pre-screen qualified applicants, and prepare selected candidates for the hiring event. The employer completes interviews of selected candidates in a single day, and, when possible, makes hiring decisions among those interviewed. This model proves a useful time investment for the employer, and allows us to streamline employment services to help veterans secure meaningful employment.

Strategic Hiring Events are organized and implemented through the Special Projects division, a new division our Employment & Training program. Special Projects is dedicated to high-quality, effective outreach and recruitment, and veteran employment preparation. Sarah Wong, Special Projects Workforce Development Manager, says, “Our Special Projects team is excited to continue the great work that Swords’ Employment & Training Program has produced in more concentrated and unique ways.  These Strategic Hiring Events offer a unique opportunity for both veterans and employers to connect all at one time for an actual job opportunity.”

For this event, CORT worked with us to develop the position description and qualification requirements for Warehouse Associates and Delivery Drivers. The Special Projects Team recruited eligible veterans and pre-screened applicants, selecting the best qualified employment-ready candidates among the large pool of veteran applicants. Selected veterans practiced mock interviews with our staff, to be as prepared as possible for a successful hiring experience.

Thursday, November 10th the selected candidates came together at CORT offices to complete the interviews. The hiring managers from CORT were able to complete all of the interviews over the course of the day and make hiring decisions. Roger Bonte, Assistant District General Manager at CORT, said, “The Strategic Hiring Event format is great! I’d do it again. “

Jacob, one of the applicants, agreed, “It was a great experience. [The Strategic Hiring Event] is pretty comfortable.” Another applicant, Harold Covington, felt the same. “I was surprised. The people are very friendly and it is easy to feel accepted.”

Roger, a veteran himself, feels strongly that veterans are a good hiring choice for employers. “Veterans put a foot forward that others don’t.” He likes the Strategic Hiring format, in part, because of Swords to Plowshares’ commitment to veterans and to getting things done. Roger and the Special Projects Team were in constant contact over the whole process. “Working with the Special Projects Team was fun,” he says. “It’s noteworthy how easy it is to work with them.”

Sarah Wong felt that the event was beneficial for everyone. “Both the veterans we assisted and CORT were wonderful and gracious during this Strategic Hiring Event.  We are lucky to have CORT as a partner and ally, and we greatly look forward to working with them into the future.”

While veteran employers like Roger already know the intricacies and benefits of hiring veterans, anyone can be quickly brought up to speed. Veterans are highly skilled, highly dedicated, and detail-oriented employees. Recruiting for a veteran staff may seem challenging to new employers, but Swords to Plowshares’ Special Projects Team and our mainstream Employment & Training services are experts. Staff can provide you with recruitment assistance and support to successfully hire a qualified and eager work-ready veteran workforce.

If your company is interested in partnering with Swords to Plowshares’ Employment & Training Program, please contact us at employment-event@stp-sf.org.

Sarah Edwards is the Employment Program Relations Coordinator for Swords to Plowshares. She develops online content and manages social media for the Employment and Training department and contributes employment-related content to the Swords to Plowshares blog. Sarah received her bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley and served in the Peace Corps in Cameroon from 2013 to 2015.