US Veterans Day honors those who have served in the military, and HP sees the day as a perfect time to call attention to hiring veterans. As part of its award-winning ‘Reinvent Mindsets’ campaign, a new short film, ‘Ask Me About’, is designed to honor and inspire the veteran community to pursue careers at HP, while working to identify and reduce unconscious bias in veteran hiring.
The film is a series of responses by veterans who have been through the interview process and found that some job interviewers had preconceptions about them because of their time in the military. Other vets felt their interviewer misunderstood what their military role entailed while serving. ‘Ask Me About’ features testimonials and insights from real veterans, spanning a diverse range of age, race and gender.
The veterans first tell the camera what their jobs in the military were, then they say what interviewers should not ask, like how many people they killed, about PTSD, what the craziest thing they have seen, or about their mental health. They instead plead to be asked about the people they have led, how their time spent studying human behavior can help in the jobs they are seeking, about camaraderie, perseverance, teamwork and connecting with people from every walk of life.
Two HP veteran employees are also featured in the film: Jason Fraser, global head of VR training, and Beth Woloszyn-Redman, research analyst.
Lesley Slaton Brown, HP’s chief diversity officer, said of a 2016 Barclays study the company used in its efforts: “When you think about the data – one quarter (of veterans) had preconceptions about them. When you look at the data – one sixth have been asked inappropriate questions. 76% want to hire more veterans. We want to expose what’s happening…We like to help nurture the process for veteran hiring.”
HP has been hiring veterans for years and currently employs veterans in 40 US states spanning all business units and functions. The top five job functions filled with veteran candidates are services, engineering, engineering services, sales, and supply chain and operations.
HP also launched the Veterans Hiring Invitational, a recruiting program that brings veteran candidates from local universities for an introduction to HP via panel discussions, tours and conversations with hiring managers. HP also works with local veteran organizations such as Hire Heroes to assist with resumes, translating military work into corporate skills, and sourcing candidates.
“We’re helping them translate what they did in active military into ‘what are your interests?’ said Slaton Brown. “That’s the type of conversation you need to have. You need to listen. We listened as we developed this film.”
She added that the veteran leaders who work at HP help them hire veterans. Also, HP works with the Department of Defense, which helps bring more veterans into the company.
“We use our veterans to attract more veterans,” she said.
Slaton Brown stated that she loves that veterans bring leadership skills to HP. “We hire for our growth for tomorrow. We hire people that have the ability to do the job today but can flex the muscle for growth,” adding that veterans have the ability to work as a team and are able to lift that team up when needed.
HP worked with agency Badger & Winters on the ‘Ask Me About’ campaign, and Slaton Brown said that the agency pushed the company to be bold and intentional with the film. “We want to be authentic to our brand. They pushed us. It was a good partnership. We have to get comfortable being uncomfortable,” she said.
‘Ask Me About’ follows five other powerful films from HP in the Reinvent Mindsets campaign that all aim to identify key insights in hiring diverse talent that help to address unconscious bias, including those for the African-American community, one targeting women, another the LGBTQ community, and most recently one targeting the Latino community.