- The Essential Military-to-Civilian Transition Resource

Ask the Recruiter

by Mike Arsenault - Director of Candidate Services

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military documents for job interviews

Let Mike know your questions for future articles by emailing them to marsenault (at) This month’s Q&A is below:

Q: In my last interview, I was asked two questions that I found difficult to answer: 1) “How will your military experience assist in this new job?” and 2) “Why have you decided to leave the military after 10 years?”

A: Good questions. Answering this first question the right way, you can really nail your interview.

Right now, the current sentiment and appreciation for veterans within the business community is very positive. We see a number of pro-military initiatives as part of today’s hiring climate (The 100,000 Jobs Initiative, the US Chamber of Commerce’s “Hiring Our Heroes” program, Joining Forces, etc.). However, companies still need to see the ‘bottom line’ value that you, specifically, will bring to the company.

You can do this by explaining how your military experience reinforced the positive stereotypes associated with wearing the uniform: Strong work-ethic, reliability, flexibility, mission first/people always – all powerful traits when properly communicated to an employer.

Concerning the question as to why you decided to leave the military, you can go a number of safe directions with this question. However, under no circumstances should you commit the interviewing sin of ‘going negative.’ The sure fire way of sinking an interview is to bad-mouth an old boss or speak ill of a former employer – this includes Uncle Sam.

If you served honorably for ten years and decided that the best thing for you and your family is for that next chapter to be in the civilian world – that is not to your detriment. We all know there are natural ‘decision points’ during your time in service right before or after assignments, school, etc. which prompt us to evaluate whether or not to stay in or transition out. The multiple ‘crossroads’ during a typical military career are there by design – our military couldn’t handle every soldier, sailor, airman, or marine serving for 20 years.

So, ‘I’ve accomplished everything I’ve wanted to accomplish while serving’ or ‘I’ve always wanted to serve my country and will always be proud of my time in uniform, but I’m ready to seek out new challenges’ are perfectly acceptable answers.


Mike Arsenault is Director of Candidate Services at Military Recruiter Bradley-Morris, Inc. He can be reached at (800) 330-4950 ext. 2105 or by email at marsenault (at)

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