HAMPTON, Va. — A former Army Green Beret is leading the way for companies looking to hire heroes by helping organize a career fair on Sunday to meet with troops and direct them to apply on the company's website just like everyone else, sources confirmed.
"The companies that come here are very serious," said Liam Brownstone, while ignoring a soldier's resume and handing back a pamphlet with the company's web address. "They've put millions into their websites and digital human resource processing software to find the best veterans available. They don't want human input.”
Brownstone, a former Green Beret and Virginia Military Institute graduate, said his Roanoke-based recruiting agency is looking to open new offices and hire academy grads online.
The job fair to target veterans on Sunday was a success, organizers said. The event attracted about 1,200 attendees and allowed more than 13 businesses to give out their recruiting portal's internet address. It's the sixth year the event has been held in Hampton, and first with double-digit companies in attendance.
"It just keeps getting better,” said Hampton County Department of Veterans Affairs Deputy Director Tyrion Lanistan. “These veterans get to meet hiring officials face to face. They get great advice, and then they get to go home and apply online."
"It's as quick and easy as filing for unemployment now!" he added.
The event's planners took a much broader approach this year. Not only were veterans recruited to show up for the job fair, but they were invited to a digital workshop before the main event to critique their resumes and hone their online job applying skills. But not everyone is walking away confident.
“I just got told to apply online to the same exact $9 an hour job I had before I joined the Army, only they added ‘leader’ to the title,” said Johnny Jones, a former infantryman from Bemidji, Minn.
Solandra Jefferson, a former Air Force aircraft fuels technician from Camden, New Jersey gave a more telling experience. “I saw a former colonel stroll up and get the recruiter’s attention like he walked over on water. He got a business card, solid hand shake, and a big smile. All I got was a flyer explaining how to apply on the company’s website.”
One person who said he continues to be one of the most popular recruiters at these events was Staff Sgt. Bernard Bucks, an Army National Guard Recruiter.
“I can’t figure out why all of these veterans hover around me when all of these big companies and their recruiters are here," Bucks said. "But hey, my recruiting numbers are some of the best in the Army, so I ain’t complaining.”
There is another Veterans Career fair planned for Hampton in November.