Being a Reservist shows that you are dedicated and action-orientated, and your military training will bring enormous
benefits to your employer. Discussing your Reservist commitments in an interview not only gives you the opportunity to talk about your transferable skills, but it also gives you the chance to put your employer’s mind at rest right from the start.
You will have to decide whether it will be to your advantage to discuss this but here are some reasons why you might want or need to:
being open from the start about your Reservist commitments is likely to reduce any objections later on when it comes to
asking for time off for training or mobilisation; some organisations have a section in their employment contract that prevents their employees taking on an additional job, including Reservist duties, without permission;
even if there is no rule such as this, a new employer may lose trust in you if you have failed to disclose something they regard as important;
time spent on mobilised service may be perceived as a gap in your career history.
Preparing for your interview
Before you apply for any job, you need to do your research and find out what kind of skills and experience the employer is looking for. As well as thinking about examples of how you have successfully demonstrated them from your civilian career, think about examples from your Reservist experience too. They’ll not only show that you’re a very capable and rounded individual, they will also make you stand out from the other candidates.
Reservists develop a whole range of desirable skills and qualities that every employer wants in their employee regardless of the role. Reservists often underestimate the importance of such skills when applying for a job. See examples of the types of skills you offer as a Reservist and the
benefits to your employer. Keep it positive and simple
When describing what you do, try to avoid military jargon as much as you can. Reassure whoever is interviewing you that there is lots of advice and support available to employers of Reservists. You could suggest that they visit this website and that
Regional SaBRE Campaign Directors are on hand to offer help or advice. Handling concerns
The most common concerns from an employer are likely to be that your Reservist duties will take you away from your job and that they might incur additional costs. It’s always worth impressing on an employer that:
the majority of your Reservist training takes place in the evenings and weekends so shouldn’t conflict with work;
you are normally given your training schedule months in advance so that any training which is due to take place in work time can be booked well ahead – either as annual leave or as extra time off, if this is something the employer provides;
they are not legally obliged to give you extra
time off for training – although many do because they value the skills and experience your training develops; if you’re mobilised they have the
right to appeal if they think it would cause serious harm to their business or organisation; if you’re mobilised they won’t have to pay you while you’re away or provide benefits such as a company car or pension. The Ministry of Defence will provide them with
financial assistance for any costs incurred. They may also be able to claim for the cost of retraining you if necessary on your return.