Finding the Secret Sauce: Recruitment Through Education


Finding the Secret Sauce: Recruitment Through Education


Anyone who has ever started a new business venture understands the importance of being not only flexible, but also willing to make changes to your basic business plan as you struggle to find the “Secret Sauce” to make your business successful. Sometimes the planning of the business is so thorough, accurate and well-funded that not achieving your goals is practically impossible. Other times, as is the case for Veterans in Parking & Transportation (ViP&T), there is a confluence of unforeseen issues that dictates the need for a “change of course” to accomplish a successful outcome. 


In the beginning, inaccurate assumptions were made by the board and combined with a lack of market research, contributed to our challenges at the company’s inception. The primary reason for writing this article is to raise awareness of the rationale for our “course correction.” 


This explanation is important because, as a 501(c)3 Not-For-Profit, we depend entirely upon sponsorships from our industry partners for our mission budget. Additionally, this could be construed as a request for help and advice from my industry peers. I have been 25+ years in Parking to know that there are hundreds of talented folks in our midst, and I am asking for help.


Let’s review the issues that have necessitated the “course correction” that is the focus here. We believed that by getting veterans interested in the technologies and opportunities in our industries, we could “harvest” resumes and steer them directly to our sponsors. To our surprise and consternation, the Human Resources and Talent Acquisition Specialists insisted that regardless of the vetting we may have done, they want all interested applicants to go through the mundane process of applying online. Not only did this serve to discourage many of our vets, it also made it impossible to track our recruiting results as our referrals were thrown into the general pool of applicants with no awareness that the vet had been recruited through our efforts.


Regarding the lack of market research, that relates to the third-party job listing and application services that a majority of our sponsors utilize. Once a vet sees an attractive listing on our site, all we can do is link to the third-party site for the application process. This does not allow our sponsors to see how many applicants come to them from our recruiting efforts, hence no ability to track our performance! Without having a solid measure of the effectiveness of our educational and recruiting efforts, how do you justify the renewal of a sponsorship each year?


Another lesson learned was the inability of board members to perform the required tasks of designing and conducting webinars, working trade shows and job fairs on behalf of ViP&T, soliciting and selling sponsorships, calling on Transition Assistance Program and Family Services Offices (FSO) at military bases, and scrubbing expired and posting new job listings to our site. 


I don’t blame the well-intentioned souls who volunteered for our Board of Directors; they all have full time jobs and families that they are committed to. Since we started ViP&T with zero dollars and no solid funding sources, we have struggled with minimal resources to hire anyone and hence, all the aforementioned duties fell to the board members.


What has gone right and what we intend to do moving forward: We have achieved significant name recognition in the Parking and Transportation industries, a big step in the growth of an organization, especially a Not-For-Profit! We have had significant support in the form of marketing, encouragement and trade show considerations from the folks at Parking Today/Parking Industry Exhibition and the IPMI. 


We have a number of valued sponsors from the industry, listed on our website at and we will continue soliciting more to help us accomplish our mission. We need to find a way to prove our effectiveness to our sponsors, despite having the “deck stacked against us” as described above. 


We have been told by some sponsors that they are seeing an uptick in the number of vets applying for positions. Part of our course correction proved successful when we were awarded a “Community Ties Giving Program Workforce Development” grant from the Union Pacific Foundation for our new focus program: Military Recruitment Through Education. 


We often speak about the need to educate Military Vets and Military Members close to separation about the opportunities our sponsors can offer for career development. Conducting webinars certainly can help achieve the education goals and the best way to coordinate them is by working on a consistent basis with the TAP and FSO offices at Military bases around the country, as part of our course correction. 


As an experienced public speaker, I know that it is more impactful to hold a person’s attention and deliver information to them when speaking in person. Recruitment Through Education involves conducting in person seminars in proximity to major military bases in conjunction with our key sponsors and with those sponsors in attendance to discuss their specific hiring needs and recruit on-site. 


One additional ingredient rounds out this “Secret Sauce” and that is the value of Recruitment Through Education with spouses and adult children in the military family. If you have never served in the military, you can understand that the families of military members are an integral part of the Armed Forces, as well as work force multiplier for our industry. We at ViP&T appreciate your support over the past few years and are asking you to help us get cooking with our “not so Secret Sauce!” 


Douglas Cram has been involved in multiple facets of the Parking and Transportation industry for 25+ years and as a Founding Member of Veterans in Parking & Transportation, serves as the President of the Board of Directors. He is also a founding partner and co-owner of The Housing Company and President of cramZ marketing services. He can be reached by phone at (770) 331-5864 and email at:

Article contributed by:
Douglas Cram, Veterans in Parking & Transportation
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