“There’s a lot to be said about the military and word of mouth because people talk to one another, they stay in touch, they become good friends and they rely on their friends’ opinions, oftentimes when they’ve already made the transition.”
Matt Luther, National Military Recruiting Director, Cintas
Entering the recruiting world was a strange journey according to the Cintas National Military Recruiting Director, Matt Luther. His role after the military gave him insight into what he was truly passionate about, helping other serviceman transition into the civilian workforce. Since he accepted the position in 2010, Matt has been helping expand the military recruitment program and increase their recruitment outreach through the use of DirectEmployers service offerings.
When asked about free time, like many other members, Matt Luther claims he doesn’t have much between his children’s baseball and soccer games. “I’d really like to tinker around with a ’67 Corvette, so Honey if you’re reading this, that’s what I’d like for my next birthday,” he said jokingly during our chat. But his sense of humor is met with endearing pride and duty when it comes to his roles as both Military Recruiting Director for the Cintas Corporation and Chief Warrant Officer 4 in the Ohio National Guard.
During our conference last fall, Matt took some time aside to discuss how his military experience has impacted his perspective on recruiting, the extremely successful military recruiting efforts at Cintas, and how he benefits from the DirectEmployers membership.
Nancy: Could you share how you got to the position you’re in and how your military experience has parlayed into your perspective on recruiting?
Matt: It has been kind of a strange journey getting into the recruiting world. I was in the Army for 9 years as a helicopter pilot. I left in 2001 and was recruited by a military recruiting firm to a supervisory role at Target Corporation. After a few different roles at different logistics companies, I soon realized I wasn’t a big fan of logistics management.
As I was coming out of the service I had quite a few sales companies that wanted me to come work for them. Typically people getting out of the military don’t think that’s a role they would pursue. They often don’t feel comfortable with it because they haven’t done it before so they don’t know how it’s going to work or have concern about living on a commissions check. In any case, I was trying to find a new role in 2006 after mine was eliminated. I went to work for Recruit Military as an account executive in Cincinnati and worked with local, regional and nationwide businesses to help them structure and find ways to recruit military veterans into their job opportunities.
I learned a lot in that role about recruiting and about all of the different methodologies, or lack of methodologies, that companies had for bringing veterans onboard and to work for them. Also, I learned that coming from an Army background, you’d be surprised how little somebody in the Army may know about what somebody does in the Air Force, or Navy or the Marine Corps. So I learned a lot about what other service members do in a lot of the different occupational specialties throughout the military. I also discovered a passion for helping veterans and became involved in some volunteer organizations outside of work as well.
In 2009, I went to Iraq with my Ohio National Guard Unit and when I came back, there was an opportunity to work for Cintas. After a few months in the interview process, I was offered the position and started in May of 2010, filling the shoes of Sally Hart, who built the military program at Cintas. We’ve had this military recruiting program for 20 years.
Nancy: What does Cintas do well with the military recruiting program that other companies might learn from?
Matt: I think one thing about Cintas, as I mentioned, is that they’ve had a military recruiting program for 20 years. It’s never been the “flavor of the week” at Cintas. It’s part of our company’s core culture. Dick Farmer, who founded Cintas and is our Chairman Emeritus was a Marine Corps Officer back in the 50’s. As we faced growth problems back in the 90’s, we didn’t know where to get the bench strength for our future general managers. Dick knew we could find this strength from the Marine Corps, as it was part of his background. Eventually Dick realized that it wasn’t just his affinity for veterans and service members that made this beneficial, but that it was also good business sense. These are people who are going to be able to come in, hit the ground running, and are able to learn the ropes very quickly. Otherwise, we could have forestalled our growth plan without this bench to draw from – so that’s how this program started.
Over the past 20 years we’ve expanded to all the other services as well as both officer and enlisted ranks. All of this is a big part of the reason we have such a good funnel of Veterans reaching out to Cintas. We’ve put our name out there, advertised, have a web presence, and a military recruiting webpage. All those different things make people think about Cintas when they’re getting out of the service. And, there’s a lot to be said about the military and word of mouth because people talk to one another, they stay in touch, they become good friends and they rely on their friends’ opinions, oftentimes when they’ve already made the transition.
Nancy: From a military recruiting perspective, what are some of the DirectEmployers member benefits that you find attractive?
Matt: You never know where a military person is going to go look when they’re getting out of the service. We do a lot of advertising to the military in print to let them know about opportunities with Cintas, but at the same time, we just don’t know where they’re going to go look. People in the military are so diverse and they come from so many different backgrounds. DirectEmployers is great for that because of the fact that our jobs get distributed too so many places around the web.
The other thing I think is really important, and again this is something that has a lot of meaning to me, is that oftentimes we talk about the people who are getting out of the military now, but there are many people who got out of the military some time ago. And of course with unemployment the way it is, many of our military veterans are unemployed. Not only those who are transitioning, but those who have been out for some period of time as well. The DirectEmployers Association’s relationship with NASWA is very valuable in order for us to be able to reach that population.
There are of course DVOPs and LVERs who help get them in touch with employers and resources, but when they’re going to the state workforce agencies, they’re finding our opportunities and getting back in touch with us. So that to us is a very valuable relationship. It’s great to know that our positions are getting distributed out there and that we are reaching so many more places than if we just had a relationship with a job board. Or just posting jobs through our applicant tracking system, and reaching out through social media and hoping that was good enough. So the DirectEmployers relationship is very important in order to be able to “shotgun” our jobs to so many boards on a regular basis in a very well thought out manner.
A special thank you to Matt for sharing his story. Matt also participated in the Social Jobs Partnership by sharing helpful advice on how service men and women can highlight their experience in the military. Check out the video of him at: http://vimeo.com/36450718.