Volunteer Spotlight: Tim

Volunteer Spotlight: Tim

For Hire Heroes USA volunteer Tim Bridges, every conversation with a service member, veteran or military spouse is an opportunity for an authentic and meaningful connection.  Since starting as a volunteer more than four years ago, Tim has devoted 128 hours to Hire Heroes USA and worked with clients at every phase of their career journey. Read on to learn more about his commitment to serving the military community and empowering them to secure the career of their dreams. 

How did you learn about Hire Heroes USA and what made you want to volunteer?

Tim Bridges, Hire Heroes USA Volunteer

“I was speaking to a group in 2017 as I was close to retiring and mentioned my desire to volunteer. A former F-18 pilot who worked at Boeing commercial airplane services was in the audience, had utilized HHUSA himself and suggested I consider it. I’ve always admired those who serve this country’s military.”

What has been the most rewarding part of being a volunteer with Hire Heroes USA? What keeps you involved with our organization?

“The most rewarding part of volunteering is when a client tells me they’ve gained an insight or perspective they had not considered, and it has eased their mind or helped them pursue a career.  What keeps me involved is the amazing and interesting work I learn veterans do for the US. [I’m] able to speak with such disciplined, motivated and varied individuals such as a nuclear power plant technician who supported the US efforts to help Japan’s Fukushima incident, a 1-star Brigadier General, a Coast Guard communications person, and a non-US individual who helped the US overseas and joined the military and became a US citizen.”

How do you apply your own professional experience to your interactions with clients?

“In the case of clients seeking employment, I use my experience on interview panels, as a manager, and as an individual contributor serving (successfully and unsuccessfully) senior managers, to shape the best of what a veteran has to offer into what might resonate with decision-makers for the job the veteran is seeking. Perhaps more importantly, I try to add an honest and forthright perspective on their personal situation as it relates to transitioning from a structured life in the military to a less structured life in private industry. The goal is to help a client accept and deal with potential differences in job expectations.”

If you had to pick just one piece of advice, what’s the most important thing you share with the clients you work with?

“I very much tailor advice to the client’s situation, desires, and personality traits, so each engagement is very different.  But a core tenet to all engagements is to be true to yourself in order to find the right fit for a career.  Also, focus on transitioning to civilian employment first, even an imperfect job [can be] a step to finding the “perfect” job.”

Is there one particular client interaction that sticks with you?

“There was a client in the San Diego area who had a bit too much enthusiasm, confidence and directness, and was not getting follow-on interviews, despite clear knowledge of the subject matter.  I really resonated with the client’s style, but I observed that some interviewers may perceive the energy in unintended ways when comparing to other candidates.  I suggested dialing it back a bit and letting the interview panel lead the dialog a bit more. Just soften the edges, but keep the enthusiasm, confidence, and direct answers, and let the interviewer draw it out of you a bit more, rather show it all at once. The very next job interview, [the client] landed the job and phoned me to say my suggestion was the reason. I’ll always remember this interaction.”

How would you encourage others to support veterans and military spouses in finding professional success?

“I would suggest seeking to understand that veterans chose a different path than others and often do so early in life. That path is quite structured, perhaps lower in monetary compensation and one of great service and sacrifice for our country.  Transitioning from that path to an unstructured civilian profession with unfamiliar expectations can be a challenge, especially when doing so at an age that may be older than others entering a profession.  So, I think it’s worthwhile for those of us who started building a civilian career earlier, in a free country, to help veterans succeed similarly. If we do this well, others considering a military service path will see it and be more likely to serve in this necessary capacity for our country, keeping us strong.”

What else would you like to share about your volunteer experience with Hire Heroes USA?

“I like Hire Heroes USA’s focus on the veterans, personal engagement in the process and trust in the volunteer / client one-on-one connections.  Hire Heroes allows the interactions to be real, organic and meaningful so lasting benefits arise from the interaction. There is very little bureaucracy!”

If you would like to make a difference in the lives of veterans and military spouses, please click here to learn more about volunteering with Hire Heroes USA.

Top Jobs & Training Programs for April 2022

Top Jobs & Training Programs for April 2022

Every month, Hire Heroes USA selects several job openings from our job board to highlight. These job openings are posted by partnered employers who are looking to hire veteran and military spouse talent.

View jobs from our featured employer this month, ITT Inc. Also, be sure to check out several of our training partners by downloading the document below.

Click here to download the newsletter.


Bringing Your Best for Interview Success

Bringing Your Best for Interview Success

Whether it’s a phone, video or in-person interview, it’s all about leaving the interviewer with a positive impression. It’s about being memorable! How can you achieve this? We’ve outlined the key steps you can take to ensure success in your next interview. 

Research, Research, Research

1) Research the company. Learn about the organization’s mission and vision, read the latest news about the organization and be familiar with the individuals interviewing you. You should also feel comfortable explaining how your experience relates to the role. Still feeling unsure ahead of the big day? Here’s a quick video to build your interview preparation checklist. 

2) Practice with common interview questions. You won’t know exactly what the interviewer will be asking, but you can prepare answers to common questions like, “What interests you about working here?” and “Tell me about yourself.” Interviewers want to know if you can do the job, so prepare some specific examples that highlight your skills in action. Reviewing the job description will help you identify the qualities that are key to the position. Check out this video on answering interview questions to help you figure out how to frame those questions with your experience. 

Preparing for the Big Day

1) Plan your day in advance. For on-site interviews, check out the route ahead of time and factor in extra time for traffic to ensure you’re arriving with adequate time. For phone and  video interviews, find a quiet, distraction-free room with strong internet connectivity. This can be any room in your house, but make sure spouse, children, pets, and/or roommates cannot distract you here. Be sure to test your tech in advance to ensure it is working properly. 

2) Dress the part no matter your interview format. If you’re unsure about what to wear, research the company culture. A good rule of thumb is to be dressed one level above what the company norm is. If business casual without jackets is the norm, it would be appropriate to include a blazer or tie for your interview. Be groomed and dressed as if you are interviewing in person even if it’s over phone or video. No, the interviewer probably won’t see that you’re in your pajamas pants — but dressing the part means you’re more likely to act the part in the interview. 

3) Be fully ready 10 minutes prior to your interview with the job description, your resume, and your post-interview questions available for a quick glance. 

During the Interview

1) Answer the phone professionally. “Hello, this is (your name),” is a good approach that lets the interviewer know that they have reached the right person. 

2) Smile. You may feel a bit awkward doing this at first, but it will make the tone of your voice more friendly, and friendly people make great coworkers. 

3) Be present in the interview – this is not the time for multitasking. If your interviewer can hear you moving around in the background, you will appear distracted, and you could be written off as uninterested in the position. If another call comes in during your interview, send it to voicemail.

4) Always ask questions at the end of the interview to show you are engaged and seeking to learn more about the organization and role. Be sure to ask what the next steps are and when you can expect to hear from them again. 

After the Interview

1) No matter how you feel it went, send a quick email thanking the interviewer for their time. Let them know that you look forward to speaking with them again soon and re-iterate your interest for the position. You can download a ‘thank you’ note template here to get you started!

2) If you have not heard from your interviewer in a week, it is okay to follow up. Give them a call. If you do not reach them, leave a voicemail and a secondary follow up message (email or text). 

3) If they call and let you know they are not moving forward with you, remain professional and thank the interviewer again for their time. Ask if they have any feedback for how you can better sell yourself next time, and consider their advice in your next interview. 

Interviewing is a learned skill, and one you can always improve! Take a look at this Interview Success Guide for a deeper dive into the topics we shared above. Hire Heroes USA provides one-on-one mentoring services focused on a variety of topics including interviewing. If you are interested in setting up a Mock Interview with one of our professional mentors, sign up here!

At the end of the day, people hire people they want to work with. Let your personality show through. Remember, it’s okay to be a little nervous, it means you care about the outcome. Acknowledge the nerves then take a breath and power pose! Focus on enjoying the conversation, connecting with the interviewer and building a relationship. Good luck!

This blog was written in collaboration with the Client Services Blog Team, Kayla Hayden and Kyla Hensley. If you are interested in receiving free career support with Hire Heroes USA, click here to learn more.