Delta has long been committed to hiring veterans and reservists — one of the reasons why the company was just selected as a top workplace for veterans by Indeed.com. In an interview with Delta News Hub, Jennifer Carpenter, Vice President — Global Talent Acquisition, and Kurt Robinson, Manager — Quality Control, Receiving Inspection and President — Veterans Business Resource Group, share why military recruitment is not simply a strategy, but a key strength of the Delta culture.
Hub: From a talent acquisition perspective, why is it so important to Delta to hire veterans?
Jennifer: One of Delta's core values is servant leadership – a belief and behavior rooted in caring for our customers, our community and each other. The men and women who make up our armed forces are the embodiment of servant leadership, selflessly committed to putting a broader community ahead of their own agenda. It is smart business and our civic duty to provide pathways to post-military careers to these individuals.
What kind of skills do veterans bring to Delta? How do they differentiate from other candidates seeking employment with Delta?
Jennifer: Veterans have exceptional training and are coveted for both their technical abilities and their emotional intelligence. In today's hyper-connected world, soft skills are in decline; veterans are highly equipped at processing change and problem solving, making them incredibly successful in Delta's complex workplace.
Kurt: A veteran also understands how to work on a team to accomplish a single goal. They understand it's not about them — it's about what they can do to support the mission. This is a great asset when hiring new employees to join the Delta team.
What is Delta's recruitment strategy for veterans?
Jennifer: Our commitment extends beyond hiring, with more than 10,000 veterans currently employed at Delta, including a U.S. Air Force veteran serving as the Director of Talent Acquisition.
We take a multi-pronged approach to attracting and recruiting veterans, including community outreach and strategic partnerships. Delta was also an early adopter of the Veterans Job Mission and has been heavily involved in the coalition and its goal to hire one million veterans. However, our greatest focus is partnering with our Veterans Business Resource Group [veterans employee group] and recognizing the value of veterans during our hiring process.
Tell us about the Veterans Business Resource Group.
How does Delta support veterans in the recruitment process?
Jennifer: One of the ways is by placing an emphasis on any application they submit. When a veteran self-discloses their status, our systems are developed to flag and prioritize their application. Through our community partnerships, we also provide resume workshops and job search advice for transitioning men and women. Once hired, the thriving Veterans Business Resource Group allows vets to connect with each other, Delta leaders, and provide valuable insights to business to drive not only our recruitment strategies, but Delta forward.
Kurt, how have you been able to thrive at Delta after leaving the service?
Kurt: Our company offers many opportunities for growth. I started as a mechanic working in the Boeing 727 overhaul bays 29 years ago, followed by a move into Inspection as a Preflight Inspector, ultimately into management. I've had the opportunity to manage all Quality Control departments, as well as being one of the airworthiness administrators for the ODAR/ODA program. In the military, we treated each other with respect and looked out for each other like family. From my first conversation with my foreman, I realized Delta had the same culture. This made it very easy to fit in and looking back, it was something Delta people just did — treat everybody like family. Today we define this as the "Delta culture," and it's part of the reason our company is successful.
What would you say to service members considering a civil career at Delta?
Kurt: If you want to be part of a winning organization who treats their employees as a family, this is a place for you. We have high expectations and just like the military, we are all working together to complete a mission. When your time comes to leave the military, no matter how long you've served, the decision is not made easily. If you come to Delta, you'll see the same pride in our company that you had serving in the military. Our great success comes from our people: every airline flies the same aircraft, but at Delta, we continue to climb above thanks to our employees.
First photo: Jennifer Carpenter
Second photo: Kurt Robinson, in uniform