Kaleb M. Pask
Associate Director – AT&T Talent Acquisition
Kaleb Pask leads talent acquisition efforts for AT&T (No. 4 on the DiversityInc 2016 Top 50 Companies for Diversity list), with specific focus on nine diversity segments, including a strong focus on military recruiting.
Q: Why is your company focused on recruiting veterans? Describe your veterans recruitment/outreach initiatives.
A: We’ve integrated veteran recruitment into our business practices for years. We hire veterans because it’s good for our business. The self-discipline, teamwork and skills gained through military service allow for a successful transition to a career with AT&T, where many of those same values are part of our everyday culture.
We focus on recruiting veterans into career paths by matching their military experience, soft skills and career motivations with jobs with long-term growth opportunities. Veterans exemplify leadership and problem-solving skills. They have a real focus on the “mission,” no matter what it is, and doing what it takes to complete the task. That’s a big reason why over 18 percent of our Leadership Development Program hires in 2015 were veterans.
We’ve enhanced our military recruiting programs in the past few years by increasing outreach to showcase our career opportunities to the veteran community. We advertise all of our external career opportunities (around 1,500-2,000 at any given time) on more than 50 career sites that reach military veterans, including the VA’s eBenefits career site, Military.com, Hirepurpose, Hire our Heroes, and many more. Our recruiters access databases to identify veteran resumes, and we attend veteran career fairs and network on a national and grassroots level with veteran service organizations to promote specific career opportunities.
We conduct “Make AT&T Your Next Duty Station” hiring events on military installations across the country to attract pipeline active duty service members into our technician roles up to six months prior to their EAS (end of active duty service).
In 2013, we embarked on a goal of hiring 10,000 veterans over the ensuing five years. We later updated that goal, and are now focused on hiring 20,000 veterans by 2020.
Since the beginning of 2013, we’ve hired more than 12,000 veterans. We understand that the job search and application process can be challenging transitioning veterans who may be conducting their first civilian job search. We’ve created online tools and resources, and added checkpoints to optimize success for veterans through our recruiting process.
- A veteran-focused career site, att.jobs/military
- A Military Skills Translator Tool that enables veterans to use their Military Occupation Specialty to identify civilian jobs at AT&T that may be a good fit for them: http://att-veterans.jobs
- A career page for military spouses highlighting our military spouse employees and jobs that are portable and/or virtual: http://att.jobs/doing-great-things/atts-women/military-spouses
- We established a process for veterans to join our Veteran Talent Network, where they can participate in online video chat sessions or connect directly with an AT&T veteran to receive job search advice through AT&T’s Careers for Veterans program: http://veterans.att.jobs
- We continuously educate AT&T recruiters and hiring managers on the value that veterans can bring to our business, and our Military Talent Attraction team translates military terms for recruiters and hiring managers and helps veteran match their experience with our hiring needs.
Q: Are veterans recruited for leadership positions, if so, have you had success in this area? Describe please.
A: Veterans are recruited at all levels of the business, including our Leadership Development Program. In 2015, 18 percent of our leadership development program hires, a 3-year graduate level rotational program to develop the future leaders of our business, were veterans. We also hired hundreds of veterans into management positions last year including titles of Executive Vice President, Director, and Senior Manager.
Q: Once veterans are hired, do you have programs in place to retain and develop them? Please describe in detail.
A: Our Veteran Employee Resource Group has been in place for 30 years and has over 10,000 members. This group creates an instant community for veterans joining the company and engages them in outreach, philanthropy and volunteer opportunities.
We offer peace of mind for our military employees who are called to serve our country by providing them differential pay and other benefits for their families while they are deployed. We also guarantee a job when they return that is at the same level or above the job they left for deployment.
We also develop relationships with local Employer Support of the Guard and the Reserves (ESGR) to provide community support for our veterans being called into service and for the many employees who have family members currently serving. In 2014, AT&T received the Pro Patria award and Freedom Award from the Texas ESGR as a result of nominations from several AT&T employees who are members of the Guard and Reserve components.
We provide training and excellent educational benefits for all of our employees, including veterans. We’re really focused on creating a culture of continuous learning.
We’ve long placed a priority on providing the training and development needed for our employees to work and compete in this rapidly changing industry as they progress through their careers. We’re recognized as being among the best in the country at doing that.
In 2015, we invested $250 million in training employees, and provided about 23 million hours of training. In addition, we invested about $30 million last year in tuition aid for our employees, and we make tuition discounts available to our employees from many prominent academic institutions
We’re also working with external partners – like Udacity, Coursera, and numerous universities – to help create additional training opportunities leading to degrees or certifications in specialized fields. An example is Nanodegrees — self-paced, fast-track-technical credentials in areas like mobile development and data analytics, with more programs to come.
Q: What challenge(s) has the company faced in recruiting or retaining veterans and how has it overcome those challenges?
A: As our talent acquisition managers and hiring managers change, we must constantly train our teams on how to read past the jargon often seen on resumes of recently transitioned veterans. By having veterans on our team, and through veteran-developed training, we are able to annually train our teams on what they might encounter with a veteran candidate, how to understand and probe a veteran resume and what to ask to uncover underlying skills. Related to retaining veterans, our 2015 hires report shows that veterans stay with the organization at a rate very similar to non-veterans.
Q: Do you have a veterans resource group? If yes, can you describe how it has helped the company address or meet business objectives?
A: As mentioned above, the Veteran Employee Resource Group has been a key piece of our veteran strategy. Through the resource group, we are able to connect veterans to other veterans organically. During the onboarding & self-ID process for new employees, we highlight the Veteran ERG to showcase the opportunity and encourage participation with the group.
The ERG brings together veterans within the organization, hosts mentoring efforts, volunteer events and provides additional tools for self-development, including veteran-focused meet and greet events, career coaching and networking.