As one long-running ranking of veteran-friendly employers notes, "interest and participation in hiring military is at an all-time high." But while tons of companies, big and small, are keen to tap into the technical and operational skills of those who have served, finding these folks and understanding their qualifications through a hail of military jargon can prove tricky.

"Research from the Center for Talent Innovation finds that nearly 40 percent (38%) of veterans surveyed believe that senior leaders are not capable of seeing their full potential," reports Sylvia Ann Hewlett here on

What can be done about this mismatch between veterans' potential and their actual post-military business achievement? Startup Shift thinks it's found a solution that will benefit not only ex-service members but also employers. Founder (and veteran) Mike Slagh explained what the company's up to on their Medium blog.

When veterans sign up, we start by sending a weekly email with curated opportunities: education, re-training, internships at growing companies, and companies who want them on the team right now. Behind each email are organizations who have expressed interest in sharing specific opportunities with veteran jobseekers.

When veterans are ready to take the next step, they can "go live" on Shift to send a notification to every employer we work with. We work with 100 new veterans each month with exceptional backgrounds and add them to the direct access area on Shift.

Is Shift a good fit for your business?

I reached out to Slagh to get a few more details as to what sort of companies are using the new service. While one of the main categories is "larger companies who have made veteran hiring commitments but don't know where to start," Slagh told me via email, Shift is also opening up "new pathways into technology companies like Stripe, Flexport, and Airbnb where military backgrounds don't typically make it through the resume scanner."

And while "by default of my network it's almost all tech-focused companies," Slagh says, he "would love to continue onboarding other industries because the military is incredibly diverse in terms of ambitions and preferences."

Veterans obviously bring a huge range of skills with them into civilian life, but Slagh says typical jobs filled by Shift talent include project and program managers, operations gigs, and Chief of Staff type roles. "Vets who have supported admirals and generals can scale technology CEOs from day one," comments Slagh, who adds that veterans typically excel in jack-of-all-trades roles due to their experience getting things done in chaotic environments.

If you're interested, what will accessing the ex-military talent lined up by Shift cost you? "We're a SaaS business and charge for access to the service on a subscription basis and stay away from the typical post-military contingency and retained search recruiting models," Slagh says, offering this example: "if companies hire just one person per year from us they are far happier than paying the typical 30 percent recruiter commission on first year salary."

But the smallest business and earliest stage startups shouldn't get too excited. "If it's a small company we typically look for seed or venture financing to ensure a bit of runway and stability," Slagh notes.

Published on: Dec 20, 2016
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