Recruiting from the Military: Wal-Mart Offers Management Opportunities to Former Members of the Armed Forces
Holmes, Tamara E., Black Enterprise
MICHELLE TERRY ENJOYS A CHALLENGE. IT'S WHAT LED her to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point. After graduating in 2003, Terry served in the U.S. Army as a member of the 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, and by the age of 21, she was responsible for the training and welfare of 80 soldiers. As a maintenance platoon leader, she managed equipment worth more than $10 million, and at one point she managed a warehouse that supported more than 3,500 troops.
So when Terry decided in 2008 to leave the military, she wondered if she'd be able to find a civilian job that would optimize the leadership skills she'd honed in the Army. "I was looking for a company that had values similar to the military, that offered upward mobility and would value my potential and try to develop it," Terry says. As timing would have it, in June 2008 Wal-Mart Stores Inc. had begun an innovative recruitment program designed to bring more young people into store management--those with proven leadership skills who were interested in learning the retail business. The military would offer an excellent talent pool, executives thought. "The nation has made a huge investment in the growth and development of military leaders," says Gary Profit, senior director of military recruiting for Wal-Mart. "They have a record of performance under pressure."
So Wal-Mart launched its program to recruit junior military officers, or JMOs, scouring job fairs and connecting with military-focused headhunters and military associations to find talent. Terry is one of 250 military leaders to date who have been trained by Wal-Mart to work in store operations management as shift managers, store managers, and market managers.
JMOs are first introduced to Wal-Mart's culture by visiting the home office in Bentonville, Arkansas, for about four weeks of training. …